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ERP Handbook + Worksheet

How to Innovate ERP

Innovate business processes with ERP.  Learn how to reduce costs, rapidly respond to customers, and manage growth. The kit also contains a worksheet with challenging questions to help you promote internal innovation to increase productivity, thus sales.

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Recognize the symptoms of an out-of-sync ERP and find ROI

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Dynamic ERP, Dynamic ROI

If your supply chain business were a static entity, the ERP you implemented in previous years would still work perfectly fine, meeting your needs as well as the day you went live with it. Your WMS would still suit your situation nicely, your EDI and ERP would continue giving you all the business integration and business intelligence a savvy business exec could want.

But your business isn't static, it's dynamic.

The economy rises and falls causing restructuring then repositioning; you add new products and delete others; you add clients who, in turn, add new requirements about how to deliver not just the goods but the data associated with them; new suppliers, new compliance standards, and an ever-changing marketplace all conspire. Soon, your ERP and the affiliated component applications, fall out of sync with the business they support.

A clear view of a fuzzy object

Recognizing the symptoms of an out-of-sync ERP is easy:

• Costs are rising and containment efforts aren't keeping up
• Your IT ROI is flat or shrinking
• Your customers are hinting (or demanding) you be more responsive to their needs
• Fragmented data pools are costing you time and money
• There are growth opportunities on the horizon but you can't see beyond the next bend in the road with the ERP you have now

The hard part is making the right decisions to realign your ERP with the business you're running today and the one you anticipate running next month and six or 60 months down the road.

Avoid common mistakes

The most common mistakes we see companies making while grappling with large-scale ERP issues are:

Mistake #1 Implementing manual solutions
Result Data becomes even more fragmented and less integrated, resulting in less effective decision making.

Mistake #2 Customizing
Result Customizing is not only costly, but it digs you even deeper into an IT hole, reducing the number of options available to you in the future.

Mistake #3 Doing nothing
Result You end up throwing other resources and money at the problem, all while falling further out-of-sync with your business.

The opportunity for reducing costs from rethinking your ERP system warrants further return on investment investigation now rather than putting your ERP project on hold.

Consider the possibilities of better inventory accuracy, expanded sales channels, dashboards displaying real-time data, integration for ease of use, being more responsive to demand, being able to direct your employee's time to more productive projects. The list goes on; see our Innovation Guide to learn more.


Ask the right questions, get the right answers

Sometimes, you need to upgrade. Sometimes you need to implement a new system. Sometimes, just a few simple tools will keep your operation running smoothly for years.

Developed from our 30-plus years of experience, our Business Computing Assessment asks pointed questions designed to help you maximize the business integration and business intelligence you realize from your ERP and WMS, integrating your data and your business, and achieving the best possible ROI for every dollar invested in your IT infrastructure today and in the future. Couple the assessment with an ROI calculation using your numbers to help you make the right decision now to realize the cost reduction possibilities from an optimized ERP system.

HowToInnovate HowToImplement Free Kits includes innovation guides, business computing assessment, attend a virtual seminar and get an ROI calculation bonus!

Wireless WMS for real time visibility

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Using EDI to teach your old ERP new tricks; increase ROI

I first saw it in my client's eyes. That look that says, ‘This-feels-like-it's-going-to-be-really-expensive-and-I-don't-want-to-do-it-but-I-have-to-do-it-and-it-will-be-worse-if-I-don't-do-it-so-what-should-I-do?' look.

It was accompanied by the words ‘upgrade,' and ‘customization, warehouse management system (WMS), and ERP,' and, as I'm hearing more and more, ‘RFID.'
The client, an Indiana-based logistics warehousing company with about 50 employees, was watching their business grow nicely. Executive management knew it was time for an ERP and a WMS and settled on VAI's S2K suite.

Their warehouse operations manager used the opportunity to point out the efficiencies they could gain by simultaneously incorporating handheld RF devices: Now, the valuable data and tools enabled by their ERP and WMS would permeate the organization by putting real-time information into everyone's hands, whether they're in the back office or working the front lines.

Keeping customization at bay: in the warehouse, in the ERP, in the WMS

In the initial ERP implementation we designed a custom WMS together, necessitating some base software customization to meet the organization's unique requirements.
But, five years later, when they were ready to upgrade to VAI's latest version (one that included an integrated WMS module), the drive was on to minimize the number of customizations required. So, we got creative.

We took their existing EDI data, built some simple, front-end and back-end tools, and using a holistic approach to enterprise computing-the same integrated approach they were using to run the rest of their business-put the pain of multiple, expensive, upgrade-induced ERP customizations behind them.
Rather than extensive modifications to track serial numbers to the bin level, we leveraged functionality referred to differently in the base package than the user nomenclature. The client can even track serialized inventory planned for specific customer orders prior to the item being received into inventory by creating a standalone cross-reference file populated by electronic data. 

When WMS spells real ROI

The results speak for themselves: By writing some new standalone programs that amounted to only three percent of the original base objects, their integrated ERP WMS went from 87 percent base unmodified to 99.5 percent unmodified base; going forward, retrofits should be just 10 percent of the modification requirements.
Sometimes customization is unavoidable, that's true. But when have you ever been better off customizing already-complex software versus taking what you already have-some great EDI data, for example-and teaching it a few new tricks?


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