Solutions like ERP systems are unified management systems that add value to your organisation. They streamline processes and operate as a single platform with just one database.
But it’s with the automation of tasks and workflows that they come into their own, making your company more efficient and effective. Here are some of the ways that using the automation functionality found within ERP systems can benefit your business.
Automation eliminates manual tasks, saving time and freeing up your staff to concentrate on higher-priority jobs. By minimising the number of repetitive, time-consuming and laborious procedures that your employees must undertake, they can subsequently spend time on activities that are both more personally fulfilling for them and more beneficial to the business.
All manner of automation can be introduced that improves the efficiency within your business. Supplier invoices can be scanned and processed automatically, rather than retyped and entered into the system manually by your finance team. Invoices can be matched to purchase orders, with quantities and pricing details confirmed, before routing the invoice to the right manager for approval.
Your own invoices can be created and issued automatically. For companies that run project teams and bill according to time spent on an account, billable time can be collated from your consultant teams and applied automatically to the correct client, automatically generating and issuing an invoice.
Debt collection is made more efficient too. Automated payment reminders can be sent, meaning staff spend less time on the phones chasing payment. You can set up and automate reminders that prompt staff to make any manual approvals or checks that are needed.
Humans are prone to making mistakes. When errors are made, the consequences can be disruptive and costly. Your staff might invoice for the wrong amount, send a shipment to the incorrect recipient, or fail to purchase some more stock.
Any mistake will cost your company. Some errors might only cause a small inconvenience, but others could cost you your reputation or result in a significant loss of revenue or profit.
Computer systems are far more reliable. You can automate your repetitive tasks so that they operate based on pre-designated rules and logic and will happen without human intervention. You can be sure that your reports will be accurate and your invoices are sent on time. With automation, there’s less human work to be done, thus minimising the chance of costly human errors and omissions.
Improves Real-Time Visibility
Financial and accounting automation ensures that your figures are always up to date. Your management team can access reports and be assured that the figures represent the real-time situation. This level of accuracy is vital to business decision making.
If you supply products, automation can ensure that when an order is placed, your system will automatically update stock levels. You don’t need to manually consolidate your figures at the end of the day and can see at all times what stock you have available.
And if you are a professional services provider, for example, you have visibility in real time into consultants’ billable utilisation rates, project profitability and forecasted revenue recognition.
Your management team will always have a reliable and accurate picture of your company’s financial performance and health, with real-time sales figures, profit and loss, and cash flow.
By saving time or using it more efficiently, you increase staff output without needing to take on extra employees. Alternatively, you can reduce your headcount while still maintaining a comparable level of productivity. Either option reduces your costs.
Invoicing accurately and on time using automation speeds up payments. It saves you chasing payments and helps ensure you get paid on time. By expediting payments, there are fewer overcharges and outstanding debts, making it easier to balance budgets and finances and to conserve cash flow.
Improves Employee Morale
People typically hate admin. It’s tedious and labour-intensive to manually input figures, format reports or cross-check information.
If you can spare your staff these tasks, they will be happier and more motivated. With less admin to do, they can be more productive in their roles. You staff can concentrate on their core roles, rather than on the admin and more trivial day-today tasks.
By empowering your staff to undertake more interesting tasks and to demonstrate their skills, you will boost morale, resulting in a more positive and productive culture that will only serve to benefit the business.
Improves Supplier and Customer Relationships
Using automated accounts payable functionality results in you paying your suppliers on time and via their preferred payment method. There’s no need for them to chase you for payment, keeping relationships in good shape.
And when it comes to customer relationships, automation can help too. ERPs that have CRM functionality – or which can integrate with your CRM – give you a thorough view of your customers, their preferences, purchase history and their interactions with your marketing campaigns. This allows you to further personalise offers and communications with them, establishing stronger bonds with those you need to reach most.
Makes Business Decisions Easier
Having more automated processes provides you with easy access to more data and detailed analysis. With a focus on the data, your planning will be improved and you will be able to make more timely decisions.
Automated modelling and prediction engines can forecast financial performance and business outcomes according to various market conditions or strategic decisions. Being more focused on the business in this way may avert a late decision or stop you following the wrong path.
Helps You to Scale
As you grow, you do more. Distributors buy, store and ship more goods. Service businesses manage more projects. And all businesses interact more with customers, suppliers and partners. All of this means more admin – more invoices, sales orders, purchase orders, receipts, payments and so on.
As you scale, therefore, you are naturally burdened with more admin. If these tasks and processes are manual, then growth will only mean doing more of them. This puts your growth at risk of being outweighed by the need to spend more time, money and effort on manual tasks. But if you can automate processes, you will be more efficient and it will be easier to scale your business.
To see how NetSuite ERP can make your operation more efficient, more productive, and ultimately more competitive, contact us today for an audit of your current system and processes, a free business consultation or a tailored quote.