Older ERP systems cause many challenges

successToday’s speed of change places stress on business processes. Worker expectations have changed on how they want to engage with business systems, and customers have changed how they want to engage with businesses.

Are you experiencing a large turnover of salespeople? Have you done everything within your control to set your staff up for success? The buck stops with you. If you inherently have poor performers, then you have to exercise your authority to either attempt to fix the situation through development or purchase updated technology systems to help assist.

Salespeople should be rewarded for good results and held accountable for underperforming. This is a fact of C-level Management. Check for areas of improvement in your hiring process, your onboarding process, your sales process, your sales meetings, your coaching ability and your leadership. Any one of these can have a tremendous impact on the performance of your sales team. However, even with the best processes in business, you’ll still have to hold your salespeople accountable at some point.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is business process management software that allows your business to use a system of integrated applications to manage the business and automate many back office functions related to technology, services and human resources. An up-to-date ERP system with a key measurable for all departments in your business is key. One key part of any good ERP is a CRM. A Customer Relationship Management System normally consists of sales force automation, marketing automation and customer support. As part of ERP, CRM is one of the key ERP pillars, with the other key pillars being financial accounting, distribution or supply chain management, manufacturing and human resources/payroll.

A CRM can be described as the development and implementation of a strategy for handling interactions with past, existing or future customers. It covers all customer-oriented activities from potential market identification through to customer loyalty retention. It is technology enabled and involves data capture and analysis, information generation and distribution, and customer-oriented activity. CRM has a central database and integrates with an ERP system and different channels of interaction. CRM involves different participants and has the ability to manage these participants.

Having a plan and setting goals are essential parts of improving accountability. It is crucial for salespeople to establish a set of daily, weekly and monthly benchmarks that help them measure and manage their ultimate goal. If the goal of each salesperson is to sell “X”, don’t focus on the end goal. Monitor the activities that will help them reach that goal. It also helps if the salespeople are included in setting the goals. If you do this, they should have a personal stake in the outcome. Without inclusion, salespeople will figure out the best excuses in the world about why they can’t meet their goals.

Over the past decade technology has transformed the broader world of business and consumer applications. Workers interact through mobile devices and social media, with applications increasingly connected over the web. No matter what business or industry you are in, at some point someone will ask, “Is it time to change our ERP, or should we continue with our current system?” This is not an easy question to answer. If you decide to keep your current system you risk falling behind technologically and functionally. On the other hand, if you decide to change your ERP, you will be faced with making a large investment, undergo varying degrees of disruption to your organization, and risk a failed implementation.

What is the right answer for your company?  Each company’s evaluation process will led it through examinations of its own unique problems. Older ERP systems cause many challenges for organizations. Inefficient business processes are often dictated by these systems and are supplemented by workarounds created by inventive users to maximize personal productivity. Check your accountability system on a regular bases. Technoligy is changing faster and faster everyday. After all, its on you to help your team succeed!

People, Waste & My Wife

People, Waste & My Wife

coupon3My wife is an extreme couponing queen. I love it because, we can save an immense amount of money by using legitimate couponing methods, and keep a conservative stockpile of items that can pack our pantry or fit onto an extra shelf or two.  The key is, she spends her time only buying what we need for ourselves, our family and our donations without taking away from her job and other valued family tasks. “It is fun and rewarding,” Carol Selberg says. “You have to source the coupons, get them, cut them out, track them all, then look a little crazy at the grocery store.” In the end, the time she put into it pays off in measurable savings. We are feeding a family of 4 and with couponing, my wife has cut about $700 a month out of our grocery budget. It’s a lifestyle of savings, not waste!

Now how does all this craziness compare to savings in your business or the job you perform for your boss? There is a type of waste known as Acknowledge-People Waste. People are an organization’s greatest resource. When their time is misallocated or wasted, so is their potential. My approach champions the idea of having the right people, in the right place, doing the right work.  As you eliminate waste, you can begin to refocus your employees on higher value-added work within the S2P process.

Sourcing and procurement professionals are being asked to perform an increasing amount of work as staffing levels remain flat and budgets are constrained. However, applying Lean principles to your sourcing process will allow your department to reduce low value-add activity and relieve stress on your employees by shifting focus to higher value tasks. While traditionally used in manufacturing, the concepts and tools are versatile, applying to many industries and functions. A Lean aspect focuses on removing waste from your processes, while the Six Sigma component focuses on reducing variation.

With the help of Lean Six Sigma tools such as the DMAIC process, Value Stream Mapping, 5S Analysis, Root Cause Analysis and many others, procurement organizations can better serve their internal systems, add more savings to the bottom line and enhance their value proposition within the company. Keep in mind, Lean Six Sigma isn’t a cure-all or a onetime fix. It’s a mindset requiring staunch support from leadership, rooted in continuous improvement which recognizes the value of each employee in the process. In other words, it is a methodology of savings, not waste. FYI, my wife and her extreme couponing paid for our next vacation…ponder that!