Is ERP the key to post-COVID business success?

COVID changed the world. Uncertainty persists, with many countries heading back into forms of lockdown. Our lives and the economy will look very different once the world finally reopens, affecting the way we work, our core business processes, and day-to-day activities.

Since the ’60s, businesses have used Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) to align their business processes – from running accounting to procurement, to handling human resources, to managing regulations and compliance.

ERP is a way to bring data together – unlocking efficiencies to improve collaboration, increase teamwork, and build significant profits. ERP is called the nervous system in the digital body, connecting legacy systems to provide more value, for longer.

To draw critical insight, ERP is the clearest point of entry for new technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), which adds new datasets to a manufacturing.

What does COVID mean for ERP, and can ERP be at the heart of agile working for post-coronavirus manufacturers?

As we explain below, there are six ways ERP can make a massive contribution to the resilience and reinvention of your post-coronavirus operation.

ERP creates flexible supply chains Traceability leads to supply chain resilience ERP and social distancing at work Lean manufacturing leads the way to operational efficiencies Automation speeds up the delivery of goods to consumers The integration of ERP and tax is critical How COVID exposed supply chain vulnerabilities

COVID-19 exposed many manufacturers to supply chain disruption. China was the first country to suffer significant disruption as a result of coronavirus, meaning travel restrictions, labor shortages, and logistical challenges impacted supply chains.

Coronavirus affected:

• Procurement of raw materials and finished products,

• Labor, with more people in quarantine,5

• Sourcing, with travel restrictions making new business arrangements challenging, and

• Logistics, with disruption affecting capacity and availability at established hubs and supply networks.

6 ways ERP can help manufacturing processes post-COVID 1. ERP creates flexible supply chains

Flexible supply chains help manage challenges like these by using external data to improve demand and supply forecasting. Businesses should also consider expanding and broadening their supplier ecosystem.

Michael Larner, a principal analyst at ABI Research, says: “To mitigate supply chain risks, manufacturers should not only not source components from a single supplier but also, as COVID-19 has highlighted, shouldn’t source from suppliers in a single location.”

That complexity, and the need to orchestrate more suppliers feeding into a more unpredictable demand scenario, leads ABI Research to predict that manufacturers’ spending on ERP will increase to $14bn by 2024.

For many businesses, the time to build a digital supply chain and become a smart, Industry 4.0 manufacturer is now. With the cloud, you can take advantage of real-time visibility, which is a real asset when it comes to managing supply chains.

This helps businesses understand weather patterns (which may be affected more severely by climate change) and reasons for supplier issues and delays. You can feed into real-time decision making. And of course, supply chains benefit from increased efficiencies and less reliance on manual processes.

2. Traceability leads to supply chain resilience

If supply networks are one half of supply chain resilience, traceability is the other.

In the food and beverage industry, for instance, COVID pushed manufacturers to adopt technology that proves their food products are safe.

Even before the

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