In times like these, there is a lot of uncertainty. But believe it or not, now is the perfect time to invest in your company’s future — and the best way to do that is through technology.
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are powerful software suites that help companies synchronize and streamline key business processes across the organization. These systems offer savings of time, labor and money that more than justify the initial investment, helping you stay efficient and lean during trying times.
In an on-demand webinar, Datacor Vice President of Sales Dan McCusker covers everything chemical and process manufacturers need to know about investing in ERP software. In this post, we’ll offer a sneak peek of what you can expect when you register for this free recording.
Should I invest in technology?
Answering this question begins with asking yourself a few others:
- Will your company still be around when the crisis passes? If not, you have larger problems on your hands than software can solve.
- Do you believe in technology? It’s clear to most of us that the world is heading in a more automated, digital direction. The tech market moves fast, so it’s important to create a solid infrastructure early on.
If you answered “yes” to both of these questions, then you need to think about the future. Many companies are reluctant to spend during times of tight cash flow, but this is an investment that will allow you to instantly capitalize once business picks up again. Business cycles are cyclical, and even the most challenging times will pass. When they do, will your company be set up for success?
Here’s why now is the perfect time for process and chemical manufacturers to invest in ERP software:
Software isn’t as expensive as you think
In the past, investing in ERP software meant a huge capital expenditure, including computers, servers and costly training in addition to the software itself. But that model has changed.
Today, ERP software models offer:
- Cloud-based versus on-premise hosting. Physical, on-premise servers are a thing of the past. No need to buy extra equipment or manually manage on-site systems; modern ERP software is hosted on a cloud-based server, which is managed and maintained by the software vendor.
- Subscription instead of perpetual licenses. Most ERP systems are priced on a subscription model. Instead of one huge upfront fee, subscription licenses allow you to pay a smaller monthly fee as you go.
- Per-user pricing. If you’ve scaled back your staff during the crisis, you’ll pay even less; most pricing models are based on the number of user licenses you need.
All of this makes an investment in ERP software much more affordable than it used to be.
You can leverage your company’s best assets
Your people are your greatest asset — but during a typical business cycle, company leaders and top minds are busy juggling projects and handling day-to-day work. If your business is experiencing a slowdown, it’s a perfect time to put your best minds to work planning and implementing your company’s technology infrastructure.
ERP software lays the foundation for your company’s future; don’t leave it in the hands of temps or less experienced employees. Building in organized, automated and digitized processes now will position you to hit the ground running with systems that will streamline and optimize daily work for decades.
Going digital saves time, cost and effort
Manual methods, such as hand-writing orders and physically walking them to a lab, are tedious and time-consuming, wasting valuable labor hours. Automating everyday tasks allows you to maximize productivity while keeping operations lean.
The more of your processes you can digitize, the more adaptable you’ll be to changing market conditions. When business picks back up and your company grows, you won’t have to hire people to keep up if you’ve moved your operations online.
For chemical manufacturers and distributors that were deemed “essential businesses,” such as those producing cleaning and sanitizing supplies, business has boomed during the pandemic, with companies scaling production shifts and increasing staff. Doubling your business when using manual processes means hiring twice as many people, but automating processes can save on labor costs.
What’s more, working from home has become the new normal. If employees aren’t going to the office, then processes need to be digitized. Sales staff can’t physically walk a handwritten order to the lab and pick up printed health and safety documentation while working from home — but all of these tasks can be digitized and automated.
Here are just a few of the manual methods you can digitize, automate and optimize using ERP software:
- Ordering. Using a web portal, or electronic data interchange (EDI), customers can place their own orders online, saving staff an extra step while reducing the potential for error.
- Production planning. Automate production and planning decisions while simplifying buying, helping maintain “just in time” amounts while streamlining operations.
- Invoicing. Email invoices to clients when orders are shipped without lifting a finger, keeping books current with less effort from accounting.
- Inventory management. Using software with barcode scanning functionality eliminates the need for manual inventory counts, automatically updating quantities as materials are used and added.
- Regulatory compliance. Automatically email regulatory documentation such as safety data sheets (SDSs) and certificates of analysis (COAs) along with customer orders. This keeps you compliant, avoiding costly fines.
- Quality control. If you’re working from home and writing quality results in a lab book, you’ll need that book on hand every time you have to look something up. If quality information is stored in a centralized database, however, you can access it from anywhere — and so can everyone else in your company.
- Server management. With legacy systems, workers often have to physically go to the office to reboot an on-premise server and ensure proper functioning. With a cloud server, all maintenance and management is handled remotely, and is typically automated by your software vendor.
It lets you keep more of your money
If you’re one of the fortunate companies whose business has boomed in the pandemic, you’ll find yourself with extra profit this year. If you don’t invest it, you get taxed on that money.
Investing extra profits in ERP software will reap rewards into the long run — not only saving on tax dollars now, but also building a technology infrastructure that will make your workers more efficient and your operations more streamlined across the board.
To learn more about how investing in technology can benefit your business, and why the time to do it is now, check out our on-demand webinar. Ready to see what Datacor can do for you? Schedule a demo with our staff.