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Infor, a global leader in business cloud software specialized by industry, today announced it is partnering with GTY Technology Holdings Inc., a leading provider of SaaS/cloud solutions for the public sector, to fuel digital transformation – helping government agencies significantly improve the way they engage stakeholders and manage their resources.

Through the partnership, GTY will provide Infor’s Birst Business Intelligence (BI) and Analytics solutions to its 1,500+ state and local government customers. The partnership also will enable Infor to deliver GTY’s public sector budgeting & transparency solutions and eCivis grants management solutions. More than 1,500 state, local and federal entities run Infor solutions today.

The Birst cloud analytics platform will help state and local governments achieve higher levels of compliance, security and transparency. The platform also will deliver self-service analytics to department users, enabling them to get automated insights from organizational data for improved decision-making.

GTY provides comprehensive public sector budgeting solutions, combining business process consulting and flexible software to produce breakthrough results. Through highly configurable software, government entities create a collaborative budget to support their strategic vision. More than $100 billion in budgets flow through GTY solutions.

eCivis is a market-leading SaaS grants management system, which enables government organizations to maximize grant revenues, track financial and program performance, prepare cost allocation budgets, and access free open data tools to make sense of government data.

“With Birst’s best-of-breed analytics capabilities, our public sector clients can make data-driven decisions that produce cost savings and better value,” said Stephen Rohleder, president, CEO and chairman of GTY. “These capabilities also will help enhance the constituent experience with transparency and engagement.”

Bill Sullivan, senior vice president and general manager, Infor Public Sector, said, “Through this partnership, our customers can take advantage of the depth of experience and functionality, in budgeting and grants management, which GTY brings to the public sector, along with Infor’s modern BI and enterprise resource planning (ERP) capabilities.”

The Birst cloud BI and analytics platform helps organizations understand and optimize processes in less time than traditional solutions. Built with patented automation and machine learning technologies, Birst connects teams and applications across the organization via a trusted network of analytics, delivering insights that help organizations make smarter decisions. This unique approach has helped organizations transform the way they operate, often in 90 days or less.

The post Infor Announces Partnership with GYT Technology to Fuel Digital Transformation in Public Sector appeared first on ERP News.

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When it comes to automation and artificial intelligence, the technician’s role is always questioned. Will the need for technicians decrease with technological advances? IFS answers the questions in this article.

In the world of automation this and artificial intelligence that the role of the field technician is often questioned. Will technology eliminate the need for technicians altogether?

I think not. But the role and responsibilities are undoubtedly changing and will continue to do so. The good news, for your technicians and for you, is that this world of automation and intelligence frees them up from manual, preventable tasks to do more value-added work.

The challenge is, this often isn’t a shift that comes naturally. In addition to the proliferation of technology, the entire field service ecosystem is changing. Customers have new and more sophisticated demands, companies are competing less on product and more on service, and data is now our most valuable resource.

With all these changes at play, it is time for you to consider the ways in which you need to upskill or reskill your technicians as their time is freed up in a way that will offer you a competitive advantage or impact your bottom line. As you incorporate tools like IoT, AI, and ML that reduce the drain of manual tasks on your workforce, consider these three areas in which it might make sense to upskill or reskill your talented technicians.

1: HONE THEIR PEOPLE SKILLS

As customer focus becomes prioritized every field service operation, one of the biggest challenges I hear tell of is the need for more soft skills. Technicians that are highly skilled and knowledgeable in repairing a certain product may not have historically needed to be all that people-friendly. Those times have changed.

Today, service is the frontline of your brand – it is the impression that will matter most in how you are viewed in the eyes of your customers. It is a, if not the major differentiator for organizations today. Therefore, you need to focus on improving the people skills for all your frontline workers.

These skills include communication, empathy, problem-solving, empowerment, engagement, and confidence – as well as a solid understanding of how to be respectful of someone’s time and property. Going beyond those basics (which, believe me, many need work too), you will want to consider how to equip your technicians with the skills and ability to be consultative, to suggestively sell/cross-sell and to become an expert at providing real-time insights.

2: HARNESS THEIR KNOWLEDGE TO TRAIN AND EDUCATE

When you find yourself successfully leveraging technology to the point you’ve reduced your demand for field visits, and you will, you’ll want to think about how you can re-deploy some of your most skilled technicians in an impactful way.

One avenue is to mold your technicians to be master trainers and educators. There are several applications for this – you could use expert technicians to train new field talent, you can enlist their customer-facing knowledge to educate product and sales teams, and you can even look to use skilled technicians to train and educate your customer base.

3: DEVELOP THEIR DATA ANALYTICS ABILITIES

Data is the foundation that the future of field service is being built on. Service organizations that are embracing Servitization and outcomes-based service are determining not only how data can be utilized internally to provide more predictive service, but how data can be used to create new offerings and revenue streams with customers.

If you are collecting data from assets, you are undoubtedly sitting on a wealth of insights that your customers would likely be willing to pay you for. The hard part is finding out exactly what those offerings are, how to deliver on them, and how to monetize and market them. This is where businesses are really evolving, and this evolution necessitates more masters of data. Depending on your industry and their skills, your technicians may be able to be leveraged in analyzing and creating intelligence from data or in aspects such as determining what insights your customers would be willing to pay for, how those insights could or should be delivered, how best to market and sell these new offerings.

The article was originally published on The Future of Field Service. Read the original article.

The post IFS: 3 Opportunities to Upskill Your Technicians for Today’s Field Service Landscape appeared first on ERP News.

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As technology evolves, business leaders aim to reduce costs. They also want to eliminate complexity and modernize with technology. Oracle Cloud Applications offers many advantages at this point.

Every business and every business leader today wants to modernize using technology, all while reducing costs and, above all, eliminating complexity.

From insurance to health care to education to luxury goods, companies across all industries are juggling competing demands from employees, consumers, and partners, and are being challenged to make better decisions across the board, more quickly than ever.

And they’re looking to large business cloud providers like Oracle to not only simplify IT and make it more accessible to stakeholders, but to provide continuous improvements, such as the inclusion of intuitive AI and machine learning tools.

“Technology is an incredible enabler that can help organizations… not just streamline processes, but also improve engagement and transform existing business processes and models,” says Rondy Ng, senior vice president of applications development at Oracle.

Monte Ciotto, associate vice chancellor of financial information systems at the University of Pittsburgh, which recently decided to implement Oracle ERP Cloud, noted the critical importance of technology in the university’s ability to achieve its mission. “To maximize value and impact, our technology must be a coordinated effort across business functions,” he said. “With Oracle ERP Cloud we’ll be able to manage finance, HR and student data on the same platform, creating a single source of truth that improves efficiency and organizational insights.”

These types of organizational insights are in large part driven by analytics, AI, and ML functions of the type being embedded within the larger Oracle ERP Cloud and Oracle HCM Cloud application suites.

Oracle’s strong position is underlined by a statement from IDC cited by Oracle CEO Mark Hurd during the most recent earnings report: “Per IDC’s latest annual market share results, Oracle gained the most market share globally out of all enterprise applications SaaS vendors three years running—in calendar year ‘16, ‘17 and ‘18.”*

Hurd noted a number of businesses that have recently chosen Oracle as its cloud provider, including Ferguson, a $21 billion wholesale plumbing equipment distributor, which is using Oracle ERP Cloud, along with EPM and supply chain.

Other recent converts to the Oracle Cloud Applications suite include Argo Insurance, Experian, Helmerich & Payne, Wright Medical, Emerson Electric, Rutgers University, Waste Management, and Tiffany.

If Oracle is succeeding so wildly in the enterprise cloud apps space, it’s only because it’s helping its customers succeed by making it easier for them to find answers and solutions to the mounting challenges that face them day to day.

“Education is evolving and the technology that drives our organization forward needs to reflect modern education best practices,” said Becky King, associate vice president of IT, Baylor University. “Shifting to Oracle Cloud Applications will help us introduce modern best practices that will make our organization more efficient and reach our goal of becoming a top-tier, Christian research institution. Moving core finance, planning and HR systems to one cloud-based platform will also improve business insight and enhance our ability to respond to changing dynamics in education.”

The post Oracle’s Success in Cloud Applications appeared first on ERP News.

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With each passing day, digital transformation is more vital for organizations. ERP, which is the first and most important step of digital transformation, plays the most important role throughout the process. In this article you can find out what you wonder about digital transformation and ERP.

Digital transformation is the order of the day to deal with a competitive and challenging business environment. Therefore, we witness that established as well as mid-sized companies invest significant amounts of money and time in implementing digital transformation strategies. Entrepreneurs also tend to keep the objectives of more efficient enterprise resource planning (ERP) and more productivity in mind while adopting digital transformation.

Simply put, the process efficiency or operational efficiency is the driving force behind integrating digital transformation in the workplace. Today, thanks to advancing technology, emerging concepts like ERP, big data, analytics, and IoT (Internet of Things) are included to reach the desired outcome of digital transformation. But how can ERP shape digital transformation?

Importance of digital transformation

As the term suggests, digital transformation is a process that leads business operations toward a digitalisation, thereby leveraging the disrupting technologies for increasing productivity and efficiency.

For example, the rise of cab-hailing startup Uber is largely attributed to digital transformation. The company has successfully integrated a mobile app in its system to bring automation and convenience in the user’s life.

Digital transformation aims to bring inclusive growth for the company. It helps companies to improve customer services and maintain compliance with the prevalent laws. As we live in the digital age, the ultimate goal of digital transformation seems to be to transform our daily lives by bringing more comfort and convenience.

ERP plays pivotal role

ERP has a major impact on digital transformation. It has the capability of bringing revolutionary changes in various processes of modern business.

As per the Panorama Consulting Solutions report, about 81 percent of companies are either in the process of implementing enterprise resource planning software or have completed integration. Globally, over 50,000 companies have integrated SAP Business One.

In today’s mobile-driven age, ERP can enable companies to offer the benefits of mobile apps and cloud-based solutions to employees and stakeholders. The implementation of the software can simplify key business functions like finance management, accounting, and inventory management.

Furthermore, ERP tools have extensions to connect with social media platforms for transforming the user’s social accounts.

Here are six major ways in which ERP can contribute to the digital transformation of your business.

ERP is here

Ever-changing requirements and growing competition in modern business have given rise to i-ERP or intelligent ERP. It aims to bridge the gap between the existing technology and business challenges. i-ERP is even more useful if integrated with other advanced tools like analytics and AI. It can analyse the user’s data to come up with a better outcome.

Effect of cloud-based ERP

Cloud integration is another benefit of ERP that gives it a capability of furthering digital transformation. From anywhere access to better utilisation of available resources, cloud-based software can work wonders in the organisation. It can also act as an extension of an existing ERP system; thereby accelerating the pace of transformation.

Competitive edge

Digital transformation has opened the doors for new opportunities for industries. The same is applicable to the ERP software as well. Vendors tend to develop customised solutions by integrating robust features and improved functionality these days. It can certainly give your business a competitive edge in the long run.

Improved integration

ERP software can perform various tasks through various features. In a way, it offers great scope for integration. Salesforce has integrated ERP functionalities into the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system. Such integration can expand the reach of various tools and transforms various business processes. As a result, your company can leverage the benefits of a thriving technology.

Extensions are available

As we mentioned earlier, integration of ERP systems with analytics tools, social platforms and cloud technology can simplify complex business tasks. This is possible through various extensions. It can widen the range of functionality of your existing system and unleash the potential of ERP to transform the business digitally.

Also, advancing technology can provide various extensions to be integrated for obtaining a desired outcome in the future. For example, your company may grow in scale and size or you want to diversify business in the future. Extensions can make your ERP software ready to handle such tasks with ease. It is fair to say that it ultimately transforms your company digitally.

Enhanced scalability

Last but not least. Scalability is one of the best characteristics of ERP software. Being scalable, ERP can handle various business tasks irrespective of the size of your organisation. What’s more, technological advancements can bring new features and tools to make the ERP system more scalable and robust. You can just upgrade the system to stay competitive with scalable ERP.

From the aspects of convenience and cost-effectiveness, periodic upgrades of the ERP software are way better than replacing existing ERP systems. You can readily integrate the latest features and improve performance by updating the ERP version. It also contributes to bringing automation and digitalisation in your business.

Conclusion

When we say ERP can serve various business objectives with ease, we should remember that the software development process is full of challenges. From Microsoft Dynamics to SAP Business One, all the available software has some limitations and bottlenecks.

Vendors need to overcome these difficulties while developing a user-friendly and enterprise-friendly system. Once this is done, we can certainly expect the digital transformation from ERP solutions.

When it comes to industrial IT solutions, ERP remains one of the most prevalent solutions to enhance productivity and increase efficiency of the workforce. The software can certainly help you implement a complete digital transformation in your company. You can unlock great potential with it and keep your business ready for future challenges by ensuring the maximum utilisation of available resources.

The post ERP and Digital Transformation appeared first on ERP News.

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This October, IFS will once again showcase its broad and powerful technology portfolio and vision for Enterprise Resource Planning, Enterprise Asset Management, and Field Service Management.

With that comes insight from thought leaders, IFS executives, and the best-in-class companies who are using IFS solutions to challenge the status quo. You may be wondering what’s in it for you, so here are five tangible takeaways that you’ll get from the IFS World Conference.

1. PEER CONNECTIONS

Even if you’re not an IFS customer yet, this is a great opportunity to network and to see how forward-thinking business are approaching service. If you are—Are you using FSM to its fullest? Share best practices with peers from a wide array of industries. This is a great opportunity to learn from companies that have seen growth, both from IFS, and their other service strategies.

2. THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

Learn from leaders and luminaries about the latest advancements in Digital Transformation, Outcomes-Based Service, Servitization, and the many other initiatives currently transforming service management success. Experience the thoughtful insight of industry experts with the added context of the unique needs of your own business.

3. EMERGING TECHNOLOGY

IoT, AR, AI, and 5G, among many others, will be explored and applied, not in the abstract, but in the ways that they are currently impacting what it means to lead in service excellence. Participate in the debate and have your say alongside other passionate advocates for the importance of service management to today’s businesses.

4. CROSS-INDUSTRY COLLABORATION

In addition to dedicated Service Management break-out sessions, there is rich content in other streams related to the Service industry, covering ERP, Project and Asset management—as well as Finance Strategy & HR and Technology. Innovation in Action sessions will feature digital transformation strategies and how to leverage future technologies today.

5. REAL USE CASES

The Service Management Industry Zone offers a “hands-on” experience where you can utilize and experiment, to see for yourself how IFS Applications can help transform your business. This isn’t a sales pitch—it’s an opportunity to see your business embrace IFS applications to their fullest potential.

If you’re interested in taking your service business to the next level, click here to register for the IFS World Conference.

The post 5 Ways to Make Your Service Firm Better with IFS World Conference appeared first on ERP News.

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Oracle was named the leader in IDC MarketSpace’s Worldwide Retail Price Optimization Applications 2019 assessment. Here are the details:

Oracle was recently named a Leader in the IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Retail Price Optimization Applications 2019 Vendor Assessment.1 The list includes price optimization vendors focused on the B2C business model based on their client base, use of advanced analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), and prominence on enterprise retailers’ buying shortlist. Oracle Retail’s placement as a leader underscores its continued investment in analytics, optimization, and data sciences. With these offerings, retailers gain an unprecedented line of sight into the future performance of their assortments and the impact every promotional offer will have on the bottom line.

The IDC MarketScape report notes that “that traditional retail planning, of which life-cycle price optimization is a key part, has run its course. We’ve defined next-generation retail planning as curated merchandise orchestration (CMO). CMO is the central nervous system of enterprise and ecosystem signals that harmonizes its own and adjacent processes from design to deliver. Pricing spans the curating and orchestrating sides of CMO as a flywheel to create sufficient demand and efficient sell-through of inventory.” In the report, IDC recognized Oracle for their deep expertise and technology assets in complementary merchandising and supply chain planning analytics, execution, and operations as well as its omni-channel commerce platform.

Oracle Retail’s price, promotion, and markdown optimization applications leverage Oracle Retail Science Platform Cloud Service which combines AI, machine learning, and decision science with data captured from Oracle Retail SaaS applications as well as third-party data. The unique property of these self-learning applications is that they detect trends, learn from results, and increase their accuracy the more they are used, adding massive amounts of contextual data to get a clearer picture on what motivates outcomes. These pricing applications are complemented by a broad suite of retail planning, optimization, and execution applications—particularly financial planning.

“Retailers have a big opportunity to leverage machine learning and retail science to bring their business to the next level of ‘curated merchandise orchestration,’” said Jeff Warren, vice president, Oracle Retail. “Oracle provides retailers with next-practice price optimization applications based on our Retail Science Platform, empowering them to automate and predict the impact of pricing decisions while simultaneously delivering offers that delight their customers and increase redemption rates.”

Oracle Retail solutions considered in the IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Price Optimization Applications, 2019 Vendor Assessment, include Oracle Retail Merchandising System Cloud ServiceOracle Retail Customer Engagement Cloud ServiceOracle Retail Planning and Optimization Suite, and the Oracle Retail Science Platform Cloud Service.

The post Oracle Recognized Worldwide Leader in Retail Price Optimization Applications appeared first on ERP News.

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 SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced it has further deepened its commitment to the developer and open source community with the contribution of UI5 Web Components, a comprehensive library for Web developers.

This library enables them to create enterprise-grade Web applications more easily. The announcement was made at the OSCON conference, taking place July 15–18 in Portland, Oregon.

The new UI5 Web Components from SAP allow developers to take advantage of the features offered by OpenUI5 while using other frameworks such as React, Angular or Vue.js. Web Components are a set of easy-to-use, lightweight but enterprise-grade user interface elements that provide functions that are not easily possible with standard HTML. Web Components are framework-agnostic and work in modern browsers, so they can be used to add advanced functionality to static Web pages or dynamic Web applications.

“Open source is a key part of SAP’s technology strategy, and we have been active in the community for over 15 years by contributing to and supporting various projects,” said Thomas Grassl, SAP VP and global head of developer and community relations. “Our ongoing collaboration with the open source community around CLA assistant and OpenUI5 is an important source of input and driving new features.”

CLA assistant is a project that allows contributors to sign a contributor license agreement (CLA) for any open source project with just one click, fully integrated with the GitHub pull request workflow. Initially it was an internal tool to manage CLAs for SAP projects. Now it is available to help the wider open source community to manage contributions for their projects. It has been used for over 60,000 CLAs and over 4,500 repositories and is the de facto tool for open source projects that use CLAs to ensure any contributions are properly licensed. Microsoft has adopted CLA assistant for handling its corporate CLAs, and has also contributed to the project. CLA assistant has also been used by other well-known organizations to manage contributions to their projects.

The post SAP Expands Its Open Source Engagement and Contributions for the Broader Web Builder Community appeared first on ERP News.

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Infor, a global leader in business cloud software specialized by industry, today announced the release and full implementation of its cloud-native price management solution at a leading national grocery retailer. Infor Price Management (IPM) is scalable, self-serviceable, and configurable, and serves as “one version of the truth” for price: evaluating prices, identifying conflicts and preventing leakage across applicable selling channels. It directly addresses the converged pricing model that has become prevalent for today’s multimarket retailers that need to maintain price across channels, banners and customers.

“A short while ago, retailers utilized the same pricing models to create price. However, recent trends have shown retailers taking price ‘private’ and creating pricing expertise within the ‘four-walls’ of corporate offices,” said Corey Tollefson, general manager and senior vice president, Infor Retail. “Retailers have come to understand that there is uniqueness to the creation of price across regular, promotion and markdown activities – by vertical, and they cannot rely on the same optimization models used by their competitors to communicate value to customers anymore.”

Infor Price Management is designed to enable retailers to focus on the creation of proprietary pricing models, identifying relevant sources of market intelligence, and differentiating their position in the market through value-based pricing. Constructing, maintaining and scaling of the pricing delivery and execution platform can be facilitated by Infor, virtually eliminating this technology-heavy burden for retailers.

In addition, Infor Price Management is “source agnostic,” permitting retailers to bring together prices from disparate sources (optimization, rules, markdown, promotion, etc.) into a single execution platform for transparency across the organization – with the goal of eliminating conflicts and reducing price leakage.

Infor can enable more scalable and efficient price execution, which can improve price transparency across the organization. With the ability to configure roles, the platform can transform to deliver critical decision support insights. Flexibility to import pricing, as well as execute in real time or as scheduled, means that retailers can react to competitive threats on a 24/7 basis. As Infor Price Management is native to the cloud, concerns about speed and growth can be mitigated, and retailers can focus on creating pricing that communicates value — and wins in the market.

“The retail environment can be chaotic. There has been more change in the past four years than in the prior 40,” continued Tollefson. “With Infor, retailers can deploy a modern pricing platform designed to enable 21st century retailing that is built for a global network, with a beautiful user experience that is cloud native and highly scalable.”

The post Infor Releases New Solution Designed to Transform Price Management for Retailers appeared first on ERP News.

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For many manufacturing organizations, an optimized Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)system is a key enabler for digital transformation. While implementing a new ERP system isoften one of the most difficult and challenging endeavours any organization will everundertake, it is just the first step in the ERP journey. Maintaining or increasing competitiveadvantage requires continued investment.

The overriding consideration in almost every ERP modernization discussion is whether the organization should upgrade its current system or implement a new system. The final decision is often driven by factors such as:

  • A precipitating business event like a merger or acquisition
  • An announcement from the ERP vendor that your version is about to go out of support
  • Your existing ERP system simply fails to perform as well as those of your competitors

Irrespective of the reason, you will first need to define your new system requirements clearly.

Two critical assumptions that all ERP systems make are that data is correct, and that agreed plans will actually be executed.  Manufacturing organizations that understand and meet these requirements will flourish in an ERP environment.  Those who do not will struggle significantly.

Avoiding Common ERP Pitfalls

This video explores how ERP implementation and renovation challenges are often less to do with the system and more to do with the approach.

Five warning signs of process inefficiency

One fundamental truth about all ERP systems is that they’re only as good as the underlying data and business processes that support it.  In fact, two of the most common reasons cited for the high rate of implementation failures are inadequate organizational change management and poor master data quality.

To determine if your ERP system is limited by your data and processes, look for these five warning signs:

1- Unable to reliably make and meet customer order delivery promises

If there is one thing that ERP systems are inherently good at, it is planning resources across the entire enterprise to deliver goods to customers in a reliable and predictable manner.  So, if your organization has been using an ERP system for several years and is still struggling to achieve acceptable customer service levels, that is a clear indicator that there could be underlying business process issues that need addressing.  Determining if that is the case requires a thorough root cause analysis of your service failures.

In conducting that analysis, it is critical that you drill down to the proper level to identify the true root causes.  For example, determining that many of your service failures are caused by an inability to produce to schedule is too vague to determine if the issues are process- or system-related.  You need to dig even deeper.

If the deeper analysis reveals that the issues are caused by poor equipment reliability and/or quality, then focusing on continuous process improvement stands a far better chance of improving service performance than any ERP system upgrade.  Conversely, if the issues are more on the scheduling side, then it could indicate a training issue or a true system shortcoming.  If it’s the latter, then the next logical question you must ask is: “Does a system upgrade fix this issue, or does it require a new system?”

By following a similar line of logic for each major service failure, it is possible to create a scorecard matrix to define what issues can be solved by:

  • Focused process improvements
  • ERP system upgrade
  • ERP system reimplementation
2- Inventory adjustments are frequently performed

A fundamental requirement for successful operation in an ERP system is having accurate inventory.  The ability to maintain accurate inventory records will increase order fulfilment capability, reduce costs and improve customer satisfaction.  Timely access to this information can therefore be a strategic differentiator.

Some best practices to adopt prior to going live with a new ERP system are to:

  • Implement cycle counting to track and report inventory record accuracy (IRA) routinely
  • Conduct root cause analysis of IRA failures
  • Take corrective actions to prevent failure recurrence

But even if all these practices are in place, it’s still useful to verify their effectiveness independently.  One very efficient way to do that is to analyse the system write-ons and write- offs.  When performing this analysis, be sure to measure both the number of adjustments and their magnitude in terms of absolute value.

The reason for doing the latter is because write-ons and write-offs have a tendency to balance themselves out over time, unless there is some systemic bias.  So, if you have a situation where there are $1.21 million of write-ons and $1.19 million of write-offs, a simple arithmetic analysis would show a net impact of only $20,000 which might fly under the radar.  Conversely, when looked at in terms of absolute value, the total combined write-on plus write-off quantity would be $2.4 million, which would almost certainly draw attention.

3- Production orders often have large variance

One of the key benefits of an ERP system is that is provides real-time access to costing data which enables improved decision-making.  Of course, the quality of the decisions that can be made is dependent upon the quality of the costing data itself.  So, to get the most out of your ERP system, it is important to take the proper actions to maintain good cost data integrity.

Since ERP systems are based on standard cost accounting, managers must understand when and how to react to variances.  For manufacturers, the most important variances are production order variances, of which the two main categories are:

  • Over / under consumption of materials
  • Over/ under consumption of resources (line time)

The use of standard costs naturally promotes a management by exception process.  As long as variances remain below some reasonable threshold, no intervention is required.  Conversely, if variances surpass that threshold – either above or below – management must quickly investigate and decide on the required actions.  Although it is common to have high production order variances when an organization first implements an ERP system, these variances should come down over time if management responds to them appropriately.

The primary mechanism for reducing production order variances is to adjust the bill of materials (BOMs) and routings to more accurately reflect actual demonstrated performance.  If your organisation has been on an ERP system for several years and continues to see frequent, high production order variances, it’s a sign that the underlying business process for responding to production order variance must be improved.

4- Inappropriate inventory levels

Carrying the appropriate amount of inventory can be a delicate balance.  Too much inventory ties up capital unnecessarily and can lead to waste from over-age and obsolete inventory.  Too little inventory can lead to stockouts and missed sales opportunities.

Maintaining appropriate inventory levels hinges on several factors.  Understanding what is causing your organisation to struggle in that regard is a key step in determining whether a system upgrade can help.  For instance, if BOMs are not accurate, this could lead to either over- or under-purchase of components.

Another item that is critical for setting appropriate stock levels is an accurate demand forecast.  But before looking for a system solution, first ask the following questions:

  • Is the demand planning manager viewed as an important role in the sales and marketing organisation and staffed accordingly?
  • Is the demand plan reviewed and updated at least monthly?
  • Are time fences and decision points established and honoured?

In other words, is the organisation doing all it can to develop an accurate demand forecast?  A system upgrade may go some way in providing access to improved forecasting algorithms, but it can only work well if the right organizational structure and processes are in place.

5- Inability to generate routine reports without significant manual intervention

Although tremendous advances have recently been made in the reporting and business intelligence capability of most ERP systems, do not assume that all your reporting issues can be solved by upgrading alone.

Consider the seemingly simple task of running monthly KPI reports.  Intuitively, it would appear that this type of routine, repetitive report should be easily automated.  But what if month-end happens over a weekend and your organization has the habit of waiting until Monday morning to finalize the production postings from the weekend?  The reports must then either be delayed or manually adjusted to account for month-end timing issues. 

Another common cause of manual manipulation of reports is incomplete or inconsistent population of fields used in the report.  When this occurs, someone must either massage the input data, or review the output and adjust as necessary to account for field inconsistencies.  No matter how many advances your ERP vendor has made in their latest version, it is highly unlikely that an upgrade is going to resolve either of these reporting issues.

It’s therefore important to review all routine reports and ask the question: “What is keeping us from automating this report today?”  If the answer relates primarily to technology, upgrading may help.  If the answer leans more towards organizational behaviour, then the focus should instead be directed toward fixing the organizational behaviour.

Conclusion

Deciding when and how to update your ERP system is a major decision for any organisation.  No matter what you opt for, the choice is ultimately a business decision based on a cost and benefit analysis with a 10-20 year outlook.

So make sure you can deliver the cost of entry before diving into the latest innovation.  Consider external advice, such as gauging your organisation’s readiness for a new ERP system implementation.  Then take advantage of the emerging technologies to place you on the road to success.

Dave Beldyk is the President and Founder of DABCO Consulting LLC, a strategic partner of Competitive Capabilities International (CCi)

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SAP and Karlie Kloss have announced that they are partners to inspire young women. The details of this partnership to encourage women’s passion for STEAM are as follows;

 SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) and Karlie Kloss today announced a partnership to help drive meaningful experiences by encouraging and enabling more young women to pursue their passion within science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) subjects.

Together, SAP, a leader in Experience Management, and Karlie, an international supermodel and entrepreneur, aim to increase access to STEAM opportunities for young women, bridge the technical skills gap and support the next generation of innovators and change makers.

SAP’s corporate purpose is to help the world run better and improve people’s lives, which includes a strong commitment to gender equality, digital inclusion and Learning for Life initiatives. Karlie and her coding organization, Kode With Klossy, create learning experiences and opportunities for young women that increase their confidence and inspire them to pursue their passion in a technology-driven world. By joining forces, SAP and Karlie will amplify their collective impact to encourage and support more young women interested in STEAM.

“It’s an honor to welcome Karlie to the SAP family as our newest brand partner,” said Alicia Tillman, global chief marketing officer, SAP. “Our partnership with Karlie will help SAP continue to strengthen its commitment to building digital skills and moving women forward — two core, purpose-focused initiatives for our company. Karlie is someone who not only embodies what it means to be purpose-driven, but she’s able to leverage her passion for advancing gender diversity to create once-in-a-lifetime experiences for young women, drawing them in by always staying true to her authentic self.”

The partnership will shine a spotlight on the amazing work that young women who have pursued their passion within STEAM have accomplished. SAP and Karlie plan to develop content that shares inspirational stories and draws on their mutual belief that empowering young women with access to STEAM-specific education is a critical step to success. Additionally, SAP plans to host two unique Kode With Klossy minicamps to further expand the reach of the program.

“As technology continues to drive innovation and transform the way we live and work, it’s critical for women to pursue opportunities in STEAM-related fields and have a voice in shaping our future,” said Karlie Kloss. “It’s such an honor to partner with a company like SAP that is not only at the forefront of technology, but also shares Kode With Klossy’s mission to empower women, bridge the skills gap, and create experiences and opportunities in our world’s most powerful, influential industries. Through our work with SAP, we’re excited to continue growing and fostering the Kode With Klossy community and supporting the next generation of women leaders and innovators.”

The Power of Experience

Beyond Kode With Klossy, Karlie connects with viewers all over the world and shares her authentic experiences across fashion, STEAM, cooking, beauty and travel through content on her social channels and YouTube channel, Klossy. Karlie uses this forum to tell stories, share aspects of her life and career, create meaningful connections with her fans and inspire young women around the world to pursue their passions.

Empowering More Young Women Through Coding

SAP encourages diversity of thought in the technology industry — a rich mix of gender perspectives helps SAP innovate and drive better experiences for all of its customers. The partnership will help the company further its commitment to diversity and inclusion, with various initiatives to help expand awareness for Kode With Klossy and its reach — inviting more girls into the program and arming them with coding skills. This relationship will complement SAP’s already extensive programs supporting coding and STEAM as part of its corporate social responsibility initiatives.

The post SAP and Karlie Kloss Partnering to Inspire Young Women in STEAM appeared first on ERP News.

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