(1) Undertake a detailed business process reviewReview all operating processes asking “why is this done this way?”, and if the answer is “because we’ve always done it this way” then be receptive to making operational improvements and process efficiencies. Every company should conduct a business process review annually to document what has changed and how technology can help streamline processes even further. For example, supplier invoices are approved for payment by branch managers, but only when they visit the finance department at head office once a month. This archaic procedure could be simply replaced by an efficient electronic invoice approval process; resulting in improved operating processes and savings in both time and money. It’s worth remembering that most enterprise resource planning software processes have been refined over time, through extensive customer feedback, which means they can act as a stable platform for initiating improvements.
(2) Introduce workflow and automationOver time, enterprise resource planning systems are supported by inefficient manual tasks, often spreadsheet based. Spreadsheets are error-prone and easy to accidentally corrupt or delete, so where possible remove these tasks and make them enterprise resource planning system based. An integrated enterprise resource planning system provides up to date information across the whole organisation; however, failing to set up proactive alerts can cause critical information to be overlooked, resulting in costly mistakes and reduced customer satisfaction levels. Workflow rules allow conditional warning alerts to be generated, or critical business processes to be initiated, resulting in improved levels compliance and staff responding proactively to prevent problems occurring, instead of reacting to a crisis. For example, purchase order approval rules can vary based upon the order value. Orders below £50 may not require approval, between £51 and £4,999 needs the budget holder’s approval and over £5,000 needs approval from a director. Another example might include when a service engineer records the use of a controlled substance on a job, it will automatically trigger the initiation of a statutory form to comply with the legal requirements. Continue on the next page for details on how to define a roadmap, as well as the efficiency that can come from your integration.
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