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Making the most of your mobile ERP application

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This website is about ERP systems and business. So, ‘making the most’ has to be about improving the bottom line – either increasing revenue or decreasing cost. Moving an entire ERP to mobile is generally not in the cards, but there are things you can do to make sure your mobile ERP functionality is doing all it can.

Will mobile ERP help differentiate me from my competition?

For some companies, it can certainly help us improve service to our customers. If a customer can place an order easily and quickly on their mobile device and get an immediate confirmation, we might expect more orders. Even if you don’t ship directly to the user, mobile platforms can link to distributors and resellers as well as it does to your own warehouse. You can also request feedback and referrals through mobile. The data can flow into the CRM module directly for analysis and contacts with those referrals.

Recommended reading: implement an ERP system with mobile functionality with our 11 steps to ERP implementation success.

How can ERP users benefit?

Users who move around during their work day should have quick access to information they need. Alerts caused by events and status changes can be sent to a mobile device. The devices are small and access can suffer from disconnects, so we cannot expect every alert to be managed from the mobile device. Still some can, and a simple text reply and any can trigger the user to move to a computer screen if that is necessary.

Sales and customer service teams can have order status and shipment data available when fielding communication from customers. They should not have to take a message and return the call later.

Managers can have a dashboard with key performance indicators for their department and the company available almost anywhere. This can provide a sense that things are moving well back at the factory or suggest some other action is needed.

Warehouse workers and others who move around at work can benefit too. That omnipresent mobile device might be a more effective way to signal the next SKU to be picked than a specialized system such as pick to light. Voice picking might be more efficient with a mobile phone for some users.

Ask your users what mobile applications they want and will use to help the business? Rank the expected benefit and develop and employ applications that will pay off.

Watch the cost

Mobile ERP can be expensive to develop. The applications available from your ERP provider might not be what you need for your business. Will you allow anyone on any device to connect? Will you limit connection to your ERP to only users with a company-provided Android device? Data security is much less when a mobile device can read or write to your ERP data. At a minimum, be able to track what data is read and written from a mobile device. Additional protection could be in order.

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