There’s no denying the pandemic crisis has changed how organizations do business, from reaching customers to working remotely. Another thing that has changed is the inspiration for digital transformation. Hard data isn’t yet available, but early numbers from an OpsRamp survey suggest digital transformation has rapidly moved to the top of the list for business priorities. COVID-19 has already showcased the value of IT and digital transformations. Organizations would be wise to use this time to accelerate the transition if they haven’t done so already.
Knowing where and how to start is often the biggest barrier to transformation but the ongoing pandemic may not give you the luxury of waiting. Fortunately, a well-implemented ERP solution will provide benefits that can support an organization’s overall digital transformation strategy. Having a roadmap and a checklist of what you need from your ERP will help guide you through each phase of digitalization and simplify the process during those all-important first steps.
Take a look at this complete practical guide on how you can actively implement various processes that will enable your organization to reap the benefits of your ERP and digital transformation:
1: Audit Where You Currently Stand on Your Digital Transformation Journey
The first step in your digitization journey is to have a clear understanding of your current environment. For example, many manufacturers and distributors still have some analog machines in their factories that work perfectly, but have limited or no capability to connect digitally. If that describes your organization, consider appointing an automation specialist to conduct an audit of technology, processes, customer interactions and partner interactions to identify gaps and bottlenecks.
2: Determine the Information You Really Need
Due to the high cost of generating the information and transferring it to your teams, it is imperative to know what information you really need to effectively run the plant. The best way to approach the digitalization of your shop floor is to evaluate the effectiveness of your processes.
This includes considering your value to cost ratio—the cost of gathering the information in a factory against the value of the information received. Selecting an ERP that offers a plug and play solution to digitalize your factory floor, such as an integrated MOM or MES solution to automate data collection, can reduce the associated complexity and costs. You will also need to consider whether your ERP has the right interface to connect to your middleware, as ERP software does not automatically connect to machinery.
3: Assess Your ERP for Key Features to Go Digital
There are a few key features that should be included in any ERP solution in order for it to help you through your digital transformation, including connected services—machine learning and AI, and even digital citizens (chatbots).
Connected services allow you to expand your supply chain outside of your business by integrating offerings like Amazon or Facebook Marketplace. By integrating the connectors, you reap the benefits of other organizations’ development since you don’t have to put the time, effort, and cost into developing them yourself. Instead, download a service, such as an Amazon connector, and integrate that into your ERP.
ERP machine learning and AI tools can help identify trends, get predictions, and identify anomalies. Machine learning can help the business create efficiencies.
There is also a huge opportunity presented by chatbots—or digital citizens—for customers and staff members. According to an Aspect Consumer Experience Index research report, 71 percent of consumers want the ability to solve most customer service issues on their own. A growing and preferred way to conduct those self-directed interactions is through chatbots and automated interaction such as SMS and messaging.
Self-service agents are available 24/7, they never go to bed, and they are always there answering questions. If you are looking for a digital citizen or chatbot, make sure it has the ability to self-teach and self-learn. In the first few days, your bot will begin learning the lingo your customers might use, or that you use in your organization. As the bot starts to learn, the service they provide will improve.
Industry 4.0 is underway, even if pushed forward by the COVID-19 crisis. The best place to start is to understand what you have, and how you currently use it. Decide what you want to achieve from digital transformation and then decide whether the value derived from the data will outweigh the cost to get it. Remember that the aim of 4.0 automation is to free up human resources so they can better focus on strategy and relationship building. Start your journey by reaching out to your ERP provider to see how they can help to guide you through the digital transformation process. Learn more by downloading this free eBook: The Complete “How-To” Guide to Your Digital Transformation With ERP for Manufacturers
Whether digital transformation is at the top of your list of things to add in 2020 from the beginning, or has been pushed to a higher priority, the right partner can help you find the pieces you need to promote your ERP and digital transformation quickly and on budget. PositiveVision can help. Let us help you find the right ERP today.