Looking at the title of this blog entry, you may ask yourself, ‘Why are we talking about increased sales? Isn’t enterprise resource planning (ERP) about cost reduction and streamlining operations?’.
Well, stop and think about delivering a part or assembly with a 99+% on-time delivery with impeccable quality. Then think about how much time is freed up because quoting is more accurate and easily generated. Because it requires very little input generating a sales order, work order, packing list or invoice. Because purchasing and scheduling are automated. Because shop floor control is easy to use with minimum input and very little, if any, paper. And so on, and so forth.
With powerful ERP software, the system will automatically run much of your business for you. Existing customers will want to give you more business. And, you will have much more time to focus on new business. In fact, choosing the right ERP software will help you increase sales.
Of course, ERP software for manufacturers should help lower costs and streamline operations. What is a real surprise is how much it helps to increase sales. Think about it.
When you’re constantly sitting in production meetings or putting out fires on the shop floor, you have no time to focus on growing the business. You’re so caught up in getting the product out the door on time that you can’t slow down long enough to look at ways to bring new business in the door.
A good ERP software solution should let you quote faster and more accurately for improved closing ratios. It should also automate purchasing (often called APS), inventory control, shipping, invoicing and other expensive, time-consuming activities. And, it will dramatically improve quality and on-time delivery while giving you total control of the shop floor.
How does this help to increase sales? When you deliver on time every time, word gets out in the marketplace. Existing customers tell others that you’re a vendor they can count on. They start looking for ways to give you more business. Even better, previously dissatisfied customers start coming back.
ERP helps you close new business by showing potential customers how the software makes your production processes more predictable and reliable. How it makes you accessible to your customers, and your customers accessible to you. In short: You reduce surprises in your relationships with customers, and they like that – a lot!
A nice perk of using ERP software for customer relationship management is that is helps you do a better job of customer selection. Unprofitable customers drain your time and resources and prevent you from going after profitable ones. The data tracking capabilities built into your ERP software system make it easy to discern which customers actually make you money and which ones don’t.
But again, the most important factor of using ERP software for customer management is that it frees up your time so that you can think about how to go after bigger and more profitable customers. So, yes, purchase an ERP system to reduce costs and streamline operations. But don’t be surprised when it allows you to do what every business needs to do — increase sales.