It’s a new year, which means it’s a perfect time for looking ahead. Based on ERP trends we’ve seen over the past few years, we’re taking a closer look at areas that are poised to be future trends in ERP – or remain important trends – in 2023 and beyond. Regardless of what’s coming or what might be coming, the goal of ERP software for industrial distributors remains the same: being able to operate more efficiently and effectively.
Here are some of the top ERP trends that could positively impact the ability of ERP software to provide ever more value.
Integrate and Complement
ERP software can’t be an island. Third-party solutions have to be able to complement an ERP platform and integrate with it – and preferably achieve this ERP software integration using standard APIs to be technology independent. By aligning ERP software with third-party providers, industrial distributors have more dynamic and potent tools to effectively manage their business. For distributors, it’s also important that an ERP solution seamlessly integrates with leading manufacturers and their systems.
ERP for Your Industry
As an industrial distributor, your needs are unique to your industry. Beware of ERP platforms that market themselves as a one-size-fits all solution. Typically, platforms that claim to be feature rich in every aspect – such as also handling HR and payroll – do not have the sophisticated, specialized tools where it matters the most. Industry-specific solutions can be faster to implement with little to no customization required and more effective with specialized features and expert insight. Industry-specific ERP solutions are created based on the solution provider’s in-depth industry knowledge and expertise, enabling them to help companies re-engineer their workflows to meet best-practice standards. Within the distribution business, an industry-specific solution should also cater to specific sub-industries, such as distributors focused on fluid power and motion control, industrial hose and accessories, fluid handling and flow control, pump distribution, engineered products and more.
The Ability to Customize
An ERP solution shouldn’t have to bring about major changes to an organization’s business flow. It should offer some level of customization with modules that keep workflow and business processes intact, while having enough off-the-shelf features for faster implementation. An industry-specific ERP solution has already been customized to a large extent so it will offer the specialized features you need while fitting with existing processes and offering a faster learning curve.
Big Data, Analytics and Artificial Intelligence
The concept of Big Data and analytics is not new, but as the amount of data available for analysis has grown exponentially over the past several years, it becomes an ever more powerful tool. Big Data is simply a large volume of unstructured data that has been captured, stored, and processed. Analytics is the process of extracting meaningful information from these large volumes of data to gain better insight into business processes and a deeper understanding about customer needs and wants. Along the same lines, Artificial intelligence (AI) offers the potential to extract better data and more value from that data, enhance productivity, and cut costs. As AI technologies keep improving, they will deliver the ability to gather new insights and take more advantage of volumes of data without the need to add resources. Up to 83% of businesses feel AI is vital to the success of their efforts to assure corporate development.
ERP software has always been strong in back-office operations. Many of today’s solutions are also helping customer-facing organizations gather customer insights and improve customer service and relationships. At a high level, features like inventory and order management provide complete visibility to ensure inventory can meet changing demands to ensure customer satisfaction. Features like order entry and purchase processing can send a reminder for customer follow-up and even track which inquiries turn into sales and which sales were lost and why.
Return on Investment
When you invest in a new ERP system, it's important to determine what kind of return you're expecting from your investment. A good way to do this is to identify some key factors that can help you evaluate your ROI.
Determining ROI should include anticipated savings in labor costs, improvements in production efficiency, reductions in administrative errors, and other benefits associated with streamlining processes. The key is to have objective criteria for measuring these areas before you start implementing an ERP system so you can also use these metrics in the future. So, document, document, document!
TrulinX and Trends
ERP trends will continue to evolve and we’ll stay on top of them so you can be assured TrulinX will always help you get the most from your ERP distribution and fabrication software. In fact, many of the features already included in TrulinX address the trends identified in this blog post, ensuring both your business and TrulinX are ahead of the curve.
Request a demo today to learn more about how TrulinX can help you stay ahead of ERP trends in 2023 and beyond.