Written by: Andre Pearce,  Mint Group Head of ERP

ABI Research predicts that the supply chain impact of COVID-19 will increase business’s spend on enterprise resource planning (ERP), to about $14 billion by 2024.

Central to supporting this increase in demand is intelligent ERP software systems that enable a smooth supply chain orchestration with the ability to highlight risks and deviations —thereby empowering organisations to prepare for business disruptions and bottlenecks.

This stresses the need for intelligent and modern ERP as the demand for implementations and additional features will increase dramatically. Additional features, however, should be a core focus for organisations during this uncertain time.

As the entire globe wrestles with an unfolding crisis – the scale and scope of which is continually unfolding – ERP solution providers have to look at the current situation and see what organisations can do to optimise ERP remotely while staying conservative and ensuring business continuity.

Increased spending is a cost that most organisations currently avoid. Instead, the enhancement of existing investments that unlock full value from software features and streamlined support for remote staff should be a core focus for the suppliers of essential goods to keep their supply chains optimised. Process automation and digital signatures, rather than paper and face-to-face signing of documents, is an obvious example.

Clients need to align with their ERP providers to identify inherent system features not utilised to their full capacity. Unlocking the total value from ERP investments can help organisations meet demand and expectations during this difficult time without increasing investment. Modern tools like Power Apps and Power Automate can also drive innovation with rapid deployment and quicker time to value. ERP has evolved rapidly over the last 18 months and is, therefore, geared to assist, with the current global crisis.

The four most common ERP enhancements to currently consider, comprise:

CRM

By combining your ERP with a CRM, you centralise all data, gathering a view of the entire supply chain in relation to customer management. Dynamics 365 has inherent CRM features which, if you have not been utilising at full capacity, can help ensure closer alignment, the interaction between sales teams and feedback to customers.

Collaboration

To rapidly adapt to the new way of working organisations need to consider remote software that drives collaboration and productivity, such as Microsoft Teams, to streamline the remote workforce. Dynamics ERP supports collaboration integration with Microsoft Teams with a free 6-month Office 365 E1 Trial available from Microsoft during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Automation

There is no better time than now to review your business processes and see what can be automated. Automation can not only save time but also speed up response time and provide visibility in a collaborative way. Workflows and applications are great options to consider and Microsoft makes it easy to look at your current business challenges and see how automation can help make processes easier in a remote world.

Tracking

Organisations are currently facing many challenges with restrictions placed on the flow of goods and people to help curb the spread of COVID-19. A 2017 World Economic Forum (WEF) survey of supply chain professionals found that four of the top five global supply chain vulnerabilities relate to visibility along extended supply networks.

It is, therefore, crucial for organisations to collaborate with the remote workforce by fully utilising system capabilities to enable a holistic overview of supply chain processes.

The outbreak of COVID-19 is delivering a shock to business in terms of hectic variations in supply and demand. In light of lockdowns and restrictions, organisations are faced with many challenges to ensure delivery.

The WEF ranked disruptions most likely to provoke significant and systemic effects on supply chain networks.

While this time is certainly challenging, there is much to learn with innovation and technology available to support those learnings. As such, businesses need to make the most of ERP to flourish among uncertainty. We are expecting a reset in our basic day-to-day actions, way of working, and the way we manage our businesses. Is your business geared to win the battle against your competition with regard to information and systems?

It is time to act!