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Oct. 29, 2020

ERP Data and Analytics: How to weather the storm

Olly Lukatski

Content & Marketing Communication
ERP Data and Analytics: How to weather the storm

There’s no more important time than now to double down on your ERP’s data and analytics. Your ERP data is a goldmine of information that can help to steer your business through the post-pandemic storm. Business leaders who take proactive steps now, cannot only put their companies in a better position to tide over the crisis today, but can also help achieve a competitive advantage in the future.

No matter where you live and work, nor the size and scope of your business operations, you, and everyone around you, has been impacted by challenges, and even more, by change. From the front office to the shop floor, across the supply chain, to your customer’s door, the pandemic has and will continue to disrupt your business. Amidst all these disruptions, executives are finding themselves having to make critical decisions, often without the necessary data-driven decision support systems.

The pandemic has definitely thrown light on how important data and analytics are to make good, bold decisions in uncertain times. But not just that. It has led to a rethinking of how we do business, now, and in the long run. Now is time to ready your business for the ‘next normal’ – the proverbial post-pandemic world that’s settling in, and the new business realities that come with it.

Better days are ahead, but the steps you take now to build your data and analytics strategy could alter your business’ trajectory for years to come.

How data and analytics can help businesses thrive today, and tomorrow

Let’s first take a closer look at what it could take for businesses to thrive in the post-COVID world. While the details are evolving, critical success factors will include operational efficiency, optimizing spend, strengthening and building new customer relationships, revisiting product mix, refining supply chains, and maintaining cash flow, amongst others. What we know for certain, is that the changing nature of business will demand increased agility.

As of now, we may not exactly know what the post-COVID era will look like, but we are certain it’s going to be different from anything else we’ve ever seen or experienced. The impact on various industries, segments and sub-segments, are going to be different. And for the next few years, it could in theory, continue to evolve. And this means that everyone across your organization must be supported with timely and relevant information to make critical decisions quickly, with minimal risk.

It’s imperative that organizations better understand and in turn, take advantage of the opportunities their data affords them. Organizations have more data than ever before, and with advanced analytics and AI, they now have the opportunity to analyze and use this data in new and more effective ways. This includes analyzing immense volumes of data (internal and external) and uncovering underlying patterns, enabling executives to make predictions, identify true cause and effect relationships, and make the best-informed business decisions.

The benefits of having strong analytics capabilities extend beyond basic operational reporting. Aside from real-time operational reports and dashboards, analytics can facilitate cross-functional analysis, opening up better insights across operations. And you can even leverage the power of machine learning and AI to unlock accurate, granular, and actionable insights to address many of the challenges your business faces today. To understand the immense possibilities, let’s consider some of the questions your ERP data and analytics can answer for your business as the post-COVID world evolves.

  • Product Which products should we focus on in which markets? Are there products which we should exit? Which channels bring in the most revenues, at which times? What’s the right price for a particular region or customer or season? Which product combinations are being purchased together by customers, and in what sequence?
  • Supplier Intelligence. How do each of our suppliers perform when it comes to quality, time, cost, and payment terms? Where can we negotiate? Are we relying on too few suppliers, and do we need to diversify our sources? Who should we address our urgent orders to?
  • Inventory Intelligence. How many units of inventory do we need to have on hand for each product, and geography? What amounts of raw materials do we need in the short term, and in the long term? Can we give pipeline visibility to our inventory planning teams?
  • Manufacturing Intelligence. What should be our production priorities? Are our production plans yielding 100% of the required quantity? Which of the operations are resulting in more scrap, and what are the reasons? Is our shop floor finishing the jobs by deadlines? Which operations are causing the delay?
  • Financial Intelligence. How can we optimize our operating expenses? How much money will we need to run the business? Can we pay our short-term and long-term obligations? What is the average number of days taken by each customer to pay?

Truth be told, data and analytics can offer tremendous clarity in a time of great uncertainty. By making them central to decision-making, both during and after the crisis, businesses can realize tangible and measurable benefits related to operational efficiency, productivity, costs, margins, and revenue generation. While some of the answers may remain the same for your business, it’s almost certain that some of them are going to be different.

The Author

Olly Lukatski

Content & Marketing Communication

Olly oversees Priority's global marketing communications, content, and branding strategy. Olly brings a decade of experience in executing marketing initiatives for high-growth B2B companies. She excels in rapidly adapting to market changes and innovating new concepts, ensuring that the company's marketing strategies are not only current but also forward-thinking.