Most companies know that an ERP system will streamline business processes, optimize communication between departments and allow for comprehensive tracking of resources and data. While it’s true that ERP is an impressive tool for managing internal operations, one of the most compelling reasons for adopting ERP is its affect on customer relationships.
This is because a less discussed value-add of ERP is the ability for companies to shift the focus away from internal operations and back out to the customer. While the most obvious customer benefits are improved pricing, availability and on-time delivery, customers also appreciate the improved responsiveness and reliability (before and after the order) that can come from an outward, client-focused vendor.
Here are the key ERP benefits that directly benefit both companies and their clients.
When you’re operating at your leanest, customers benefit directly. The right ERP system will balance supply and demand, so that you’re no longer stocking pricey excess inventory. With better management of resources and real-time access to essential data, delays are minimized and this in turn reduces operation costs. You can pass this cost savings directly to clients through more competitive, and accurate, job bidding. A true win/win for all involved.
ERP is also about better engineering. Planning process parameters, specs and quality assurance benchmarks before the run means more productive offline time. With procedure set ahead, conforming to quality standards gets baked into the operation. If troubleshooting does happen, quick access to accurate information, means making the right decisions, right away.
Better Delivery & Tracking:
ERP is essential for accuracy. Accurately processing transactions, and flagging hiccups like shortages and unpredictable throughput or negative balances, helps reduce backorders, shortages and delays in shipping. If the clients want to know where orders stand, ERP has the information they need to follow up on project status.
Accurate Available Data:
Perhaps foremost in this formula for better CRM is the shared, accurate data available across the company from the administration to operation. Real time access to accurate data by all employees across all departments alleviates countless customer service headaches. Not chasing customer data around departments, means communication internally and externally is likely to be correct and timely.
Accurate data also leads to accurate decision making for strategic outbound and inbound marketing. Understanding the marketing, sales, order and retention trends through information, and not intuition, means better outreach to potential clients (some of which can be automated) and better retention of existing customers.
The best part is, with ERP, better customer service happens by design and not effort. Companies with ERP are working smarter, not harder, and the time saved can go right to the value adds for clients that deepen long term relationships, inspire referrals, and enhance the bottom line.
Mary Jo O'Neill