Surely you’ve gotten the memo: A hot business management topic these days is the emerging focus on “Big Data.”
Once upon a time, the ERP systems typically used by the distribution industry lacked the capacity to make sense out of the mountain of raw information they placed into databases related to customers, sales, supply chains, production, operations, MRO, HR, payroll, and inventory.
Now, however, software technology has advanced to a stage where distributors are able to analyze all that data hoping to discover trends.
The upshot revolves around the ability of a company to organize (and reorganize) big data such that it yields the kind of insights that help them become more agile, responsive, and aware of growth opportunities. More and more companies and industries are adopting ERP systems into their company model. Now more than ever, ERP systems add tremendous value due to the integration they can have with business processes.
Saving money and streamlining processes is a valuable asset that can be created with ERP systems, and who doesn’t want more money and an easier workload? ERP software systems, such as Sage 100 ERP, Sage 500 ERP, and Sage ERP X3, are all examples of software following this new trend.
Of course, doing so is easier said than done. Yes, distributors have ever-expanding datasets and reporting capacities offering tempting potential for deeper looks into customer behavior, operational trends, and areas calling out for more efficient business practices. The problem is, there’s a big gap between what distributors want to do and what they’re actually doing.
Here are some priorities that can help you bridge the gap:
Clean up your current data.
How many prices for the same product exist in your system? How many different records do you have for the same customer? How consistent and up to date is your product information?
Before companies can think about the promise of big data analysis, they need to take a hard look at how well they’re managing their data currently.
The fact is, your company may be in a state of data gridlock, with your IT budget doing little more than maintaining an ineffective system.
Gaining competitive advantage through analytical functionality begins with clean data.
Start with something doable.
Many companies are reluctant to make a serious investment in analytics because they don’t have confidence about getting a solid return.
So before you spend a penny, look at your business through some basic reports, balance sheets, and your P&L statement. It’s quite possible that they’ll reveal several areas in which incremental tactical changes in some business processes can make a measurable impact on your bottom line.
That can convince you that new investments are worthwhile.
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