From communications to decision making, an agile ERP can help your business to adapt and thrive in the face of change.
Agile ERP is not an oxymoron. Agility and flexibility are needed to succeed in business and that includes the systems businesses use. ERP is a set of business tools that can help your business—if used correctly. Whether your business is agile or not, you can use agile ERP to help meet your goals.
1. Agile communications
Think of your ERP as the great communicator. Use Ronald Reagan’s photo if that helps. If a product is called “ABC” in the system, make sure everyone calls it “ABC.” There should never be a misinterpretation about which product the conversation is about when standardized formats are used across all processes. Is an order booked in the ERP system? This is a yes or no response, and there is no grey area where an order was almost booked into the backlog. That almost-order might sit as a forecast in the CRM module, but everyone must agree on its status. This is an example of using ERP to ensure the whole enterprise is communicating, and agile communication is the first step to agile ERP systems.
2. Agile vision
People are aligned around a common vision in successful businesses. However, it can be easy to have different visions if agility is used too loosely. ERP provides dashboards, SPC, and other tools that will help everyone spot deviation from that common vision when these devices are properly developed and maintained as that vision evolves.
Think of your ERP as the great communicator. Use Ronald Reagan’s photo if that helps.
3. Agile decision making
Real life is constantly throwing curve balls at any business (and any part of that business). Agility requires that wherever that curve ball is aimed, the people being targeted have excellent decision-making tools. Agile ERP provides those tools for everyone, from the shop floor to the executive suite; users at every level can define the rules they need to quickly and efficiently make decisions with confidence. ERP does not need to be based on a top-down, centralized rule set that never changes. Agile businesses need an agile ERP to allow decisions to be made at the lowest level possible.
4. Agile setup
Changing the common vision or modifying the decision support rules are important for agile businesses. The situation that arises tomorrow might never have been forecasted. ERP provides that agility in a systematic form. For almost any change, no programming is required. Good ERP systems have configuration controls built in at every level and in every module. There are hundreds of possible configurations in the most basic ERP and thousands or more in the most sophisticated systems. Sometimes the change only requires checking a box. Other times, several controls need to be changed at once to work together. Agile businesses ensure that their ERP is equally agile by understanding and using those configurations.