Every job shop wants to improve its business practices, increase productivity and streamline workflows. But if all those improvements don’t lead to greater numbers of customers—and more satisfied customers—what’s the real advantage?
A robust Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system can both improve internal business practices and help you earn new customers. Here’s how:
1. Faster Product Delivery
When your inventory data is accurate and easily accessible, orders get out the door more quickly. An ERP system facilitates real-time updates to maintain accurate inventory data. In an age in which consumers are accustomed to receiving next-day shipments at the click of a button, faster order fulfillment is critical.
2. More Accurate Orders
Accurately fulfilling orders requires cross-functional collaboration between sales, billing, production, inventory, packaging, and shipping. With ERP, data is shared among various departments, improving insights, and keeping everyone informed about an order’s status. The system can even schedule alerts and automatically trigger orders based on inventory. When orders are fulfilled accurately and on time, customer satisfaction is improved and expenses associated with errors are minimized.
3. Sales Can Give Answers On Demand
An ERP system allows users to access information on their mobile devices from anywhere.
So when your sales force is out in the field talking with customers or potential buyers, they can get immediate answers to questions about inventory, production schedules, order shipments and incoming supplies. They also can create quotes faster and more accurately by having access to quote history, improving their chances of getting RFQs turned around and approved. This type of responsiveness nurtures existing client relationships and makes a positive impression on prospective ones.
4. Improved Customer Service
When customer service reps have access to detailed client information like billing, order history, shipping, item fill rates, previous problems, and more all in a single portal, they can meet your customers' needs more quickly. An ERP system can be programmed so that a user sees the most relevant information on his or her customized dashboard first (e.g., customer-related data vs. the entire system’s daily data), making it easy to access the information they need. ERP software also integrates seamlessly with most CRM and sales systems to give a “big picture” view of a client relationship.
5. Lower Costs
ERP software reduces administrative and operations costs by minimizing errors, duplicate tasks, and excess inventory. Managing operations also helps prevent disruptions and downtime, and improves employee management and scheduling. A business can also prioritize its best customers and reward them with automated discounts. The resulting efficiencies from these streamlined processes can increase ROI.
When business processes are improved, both the organization and customers reap the rewards. Want to see how an ERP solution can help you retain and win more customers? Contact one of Wipfli’s experts to talk about ways to grow your business using ERP.