Original article by ECI Software Solutions

How does a centralized business software solution with integrated applications, instant access to real-time data, and built-in artificial intelligence technologies stop the outflow of money that manual processes are costing your business?

In general, enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions–especially those designed for your specific industry–automate and standardize business processes, streamline operations, save paper and the physical space to store it, and reduce or eliminate inefficiencies. This enables your business to accomplish more with a reduced staff, cutting expensive man hours, reducing costly mistakes, and no longer missing opportunities through inefficient resource allocation.

Here, we look at seven ways that manual processes are costing you money if you haven’t yet transitioned to a modern ERP solution:

Paper job travelers

The paperwork carried along a work order’s lifespan may include what is being manufactured or built, customer details and purposes, quantity, drawings, measurements, specifications, materials needed, and further instructions. Paper job travelers allow for too many mistakes with all the fields that must be signed off on and the back and forth processes necessary to keep information up to date. This manual process is inefficient. Travelers get buried under piles of paperwork. Mistakes are made, tools and materials aren’t ordered, and often, travelers are lost.

The waiting between personnel, transportation, and paperwork storage are all significant wastes of your employees’ time. Digital travelers, or routers, in ERP systems speed up the process by always being available to all parties. When details are changed, everyone is updated. Barcodes enable all contributors to look up the job at any time. It’s also easy to split a job with a digital router. Simply make a new tag and print a new label.

Analytics, insights, and forecasts

The human brain can only process so much information, but machines can do much more with large amounts of data. ERP solutions integrate all formerly disparate sets of data so that analysts aren’t manually pulling from multiple sources and struggling with integrating data into cumbersome spreadsheets. ERP solutions provide data analytics tools and dashboard visualizations for an instant understanding of how a business unit is performing. Forecasting tools enable smarter business planning and investments. Powerful tracking and reporting tools enable your top executives and managers to understand business performance—and their own performance—down to granular details, in minutes rather than hours. They can then communicate information and courses of action efficiently across your organization.

Data entry

Without an ERP solution, information that is common to or shared by different departments is often entered multiple times by personnel who are not communicating with one another. This leaves your organization with conflicting data and mistakes that later must be recognized and reconciled. As if multiple instances of data entry aren’t inefficient enough, the process of discovering errors and making corrections can take days and can be costly in opportunities lost, leaving dissatisfied clients and customers.

Inventory management

ERP solutions enable organizations to work with a streamlined staff managing inventory and can do so much more cost-effectively than a staff that isn’t equipped with inventory management digital software and IoT devices. Operating without modern digital solutions requires unnecessary communications and redundant data entry to account for ecommerce and retail. Integrated barcode scanners automatically update inventory levels across warehouses and fleet trucks, which makes inventory demand planning much simpler since the information is reliably up to date.

Workflow and communication

Integrated ERP solutions improve workflow and communication by automating the sharing of up-to-the-minute information across business departments. Without ERP, interdepartmental collaboration is slowed down through time-consuming phone and email communications. Personnel must first establish what information they are working with, and then share that information through manually produced reports. ERP automates workflow and communication, resulting in shorter project lead times, smarter decision-making, a systematic flow of business data to all decision-makers, and improved quality and customer satisfaction.

Accounting, payables, and receivables

Accounting professionals spend countless hours performing manual, repetitive tasks such as entering invoice data, copying paper, tracking documents, and returning calls and emails about the status of invoices and payments. These cumbersome accounting processes impede productivity and result in unnecessary human errors. Payment automation alone streamlines the payment process from start to finish and allows users to pay vendors instantly. A process that once involved multiple steps has now been simplified to two steps–uploading files and marking them as paid. Payment automation saves organizations thousands of hours each year.

Sales orders

Think of how many communications are automatically generated through sales and ecommerce digital solutions. Updating customers on everything, from when orders are received to when final delivery is made. This saves your employees from manual sales order entry processing and communications and ensures that your customers are getting exactly what they want, when they want and are updated every step of the way. If orders are changed, digital solutions sync the new data across business systems, eliminating the hassles and wasted man-hours of manual processes.

Is your business ready to unleash the efficiency your employees are truly capable of when they are unshackled from costly manual processes? Learn more about ERP on our blog and contact an ECI representative to take your fact-finding process to the next step!