How are ERP solutions helpful in forecasting?
How many times have you wondered what the next quarter was going to look like, whether sales were peaking or picking up, or if you should take advantage of an opportunity to buy extra inventory? You don’t need a crystal ball to see what the future holds for your business. You just need an ERP solution and here’s why.
Outdated Business Systems Make the Future Murky
A business is rarely stagnate; it changes, grows and adjusts with market and customer trends. There are a variety of conditions that can impact business operations, such as seasonal or product trends, economic conditions and customer demands. These conditions make it difficult for business leaders and managers to accurately plan for the future. Your business systems could be making matters worse.
Data scattered across your organization in spreadsheets and specialty software is difficult to reach quickly. As data is shared between departments and rekeyed into other software systems, there are further delays and an increased risk for mistakes. Outdated business systems make the future look a bit…murky.
Trade Hindsight for Insight
Modern ERP solutions give businesses greater control and insight over the data being generated each and every day. From the front office to the warehouse, you can use ERP to extract and analyze data in a number of ways and for a number of reasons. ERP delivers several forecasting capabilities that support a clear plan for a successful future:
- Demand forecasting: Determine which time of year is busier than others or which products are trending. ERP enables you to prepare demand forecasts by customers, products, geography, as well as seasons. Knowing what’s coming up positions your managers for making strategic, profitable decisions with procurement, scheduling and labor management.
- Financial forecasting: Keep your finger on the pulse of income and spending. Monitor expense reports and budgets in real-time, predict capital requirements or product demands, and watch for changing costs which can impact profit margins. With real-time data, managers can watch operational or customer-specific spending in real-time and react faster to deviations.
- Supply forecasting: Planning procurement, production and distribution activities are essential for meeting customer demands. Strengthen relationships with suppliers and get a tighter grip on inventory within ERP. Understanding supplier lead times, and preparing for back-up, could mean the difference between delivering on time and production shut-downs and backorders.
Forecasting Requires Real-Time Data and Business Intelligence
Capturing and analyzing data isn’t easy when using disparate business systems. ERP offers built-in business intelligence (BI) features and reporting capabilities. Role-tailored dashboards, charts and other visualizations, as well as detailed reporting templates, streamline data capture and analysis. Dashboards can be configured to meet the needs of each manager. For example, sales leaders can monitor the entire sales cycle from lead to post-sale follow-up. They can extract key metrics and identify potential trends in product or customer behavior. Then, your leaders can use this insight to develop stronger marketing campaigns, make prudent procurement decisions and schedule production operations to meet these trending opportunities.
There is no crystal ball or magic way to predict the future of your business. However, ERP is the next best thing. The BI, reporting and analytics within ERP turns data into actionable insight. Monitor and measure data and identify opportunities to cut costs, reduce waste, improve productivity and boost sales. Let us know if we can help you sort through ERP forecasting features and options to make the right decision for your business.