We are surrounded by data.
We track our daily screentime, work on our ranking in our Peloton classes, and monitor the comings and goings of friends all from our mobile phones. Organizations too are leveraging the power of real-time data, opting for mobile ERP data solutions that deliver better customer service, help pinpoint shipping lead times, and reduce operating costs. Next-generation, accurate inventory management solutions are delivering real value to organizations because they are accessible 24 hours a day, easy to use, and since they are based on real-time data they’re accurate.
Here are five reasons to look into mobile ERP solutions:
#1 CUSTOMER SERVICE MATTERS
In today’s crowded business landscape, customers choose which companies they want to work with and they make this important choice based largely on customer service. They consider how well their needs are met, how accurate the information they are given is, and how often are deadlines met. These factors impact not only current dealings but the longevity of the relationship.
Customer service is not only a factor in the decision-making process, it also impacts future business and other business dealings. Transparency builds trust and manufacturing transparency begins with inventory tracking and management.
Imagine what you could accomplish if you could access inventory data from your mobile device. This new way of managing ERP data allows sales reps to tap into the inventory planning system while working at a customer’s site. Planning manufacturing and visualizing delivery timelines, in real-time with precision builds trust through transparency. Implementing a mobile development platform, like Bezlio, adds mobile capabilities to mid-sized manufacturing companies. Bezlio adds warehouse management capabilities which also increases a customer’s inventory accuracy.
#2 THE SUPPLY CHAIN IS REBOUNDING AND DELAYS NEED TO BE ADDRESSED SOONER RATHER THAN LATER
COVID-19 brought the shortcomings of our supply chain to light. As the world went on lockdown to slow the spread of the virus, many items were in short supply. Masks, disposable gowns, gloves, and other personal protective gear were needed for frontline workers. Managing inventory and manufacturing to meet demand was just one of the factors that led to scarce supplies. In the short term company leaders rallied, amped-up production, and sourced needed items. But the lessons of the pandemic continue to impact the way we work in both the short and long term. Estimating inventory value includes spare parts and after-sales stock, all of which are challenging to manage without an easily accessible data management app. These factors are also vitally important for your customer’s success.
Optimizing production is something that manufacturers can control, whereas estimating buying behavior is something that one can only speculate about. Optimizing production and staying fluid enough to pivot from process to process as needed is fundamentally important for inventory management. Accessible ERP data allows manufacturing leaders to see accurate inventory levels and make data-driven decisions based on availability and real-time demand. Bezlio is a mobile app that provides mobile teams with custom screens and dashboards that provide access to ERP data in real-time on any device, so all team members can access the data they need when their customers need it.
#3 LOWERING OPERATING COSTS IS THE KEY TO STREAMLINED PROCESSES
Budget tight economies, like we’re experiencing today, depend on technology to save time and money. Data and access to this data are key to streamlining functions and setting timelines that can be met. Accessible real-time data is the cornerstone of developing transparent timelines that you can meet.
More than software, next-generation ERP management apps offer inventory management tools and actionable insights that can be accessed anywhere. The ease of use, combined with constant accessibility provides employees with the ability to plan their deals, organize deliveries, and meet customer demand instantly. This also lowers operating costs as manufacturing is optimized based on inventory and demand. Simplifying the cycle count process, making it easier for employees to find inventory, and by recording inventory transactions (like material movements, issuing material to work orders, receiving purchase orders, and receiving finished goods into inventory) in real-time versus after the fact keeps operating costs down and customer satisfaction up.
#4 FORECASTING WITH PRECISION SAVES TIME
Forecasting without precision is costly and time-consuming. Building out realistic deadlines for items that are needed makes sense for everyone involved in a transaction. Inventory forecasting or demand planning uses historical data to identify trends and then is combined with upcoming events to estimate required inventory levels. Accurate forecasting is one way to ensure there is enough product to fulfill customer orders. It also ensures that neither too little nor too much is spent on inventory.
Forecasting with precision helps to keep operating costs down and builds a positive customer experience as items are delivered on time. Using accurate data for forecasting is essential and this data needs to fluctuate in real-time so when it is accessed it’s accurate.
With remote work becoming a new reality, accessing data outside of the office is also vital to keeping forecasting estimates up to date. More work is completed off-site than ever before as more of the workforce has moved to remote working locations.
#5 PRIORITIZING PROJECTS IS THE CORNERSTONE OF OPTIMIZED MANUFACTURING
When you can visualize what needs to happen next, based on accurate data, you can plan effectively and meet your quarterly goals. Optimizing production keeps costs down and project capacity levels in check on the workforce side and the materials side. Prioritized logistics capacity, estimating capacity, and accelerating it when needed, help build manufacturing facilities skilled for the future of work. This agile planning process takes into consideration supply chain issues, cash management, defect identification, and mature products. It is dependent though on data and visualizing all of these factors at once. Actionable insights and using data to implement real change are the crux of optimizing manufacturing processes.
Bezlio not only adds mobile capabilities to midsize manufacturing companies, but it also covers warehouse management capabilities to increase inventory accuracy. When you simplify cycle counts it results in more accurate forecasting, better inventory planning, and cost containment. Additionally, Bezlio records transactions like material movements, material to work orders, receiving purchase orders, and receiving finished goods into real-time inventory. Many companies enter these transactions later, which means their inventory is perpetually incorrect. Bezlio taps barcodes to record these transactions, which speeds up the process and ensures better accuracy by removing accidental keystrokes.Understanding production times is vital for scheduling jobs and estimating delivery timeframes for customers. Scheduling had long been a rather blunt instrument within manufacturing, as it was based on averages. Real-time data brings increased granularity, so initial schedules can be monitored and refined based on what’s actually happening on the floor. Knowing that a particular job will be completed early and staging another immediately means getting more product out the door.
As the world moves towards more automated processes and big data solutions, manufacturing continues to embrace the benefits of data collection, analytics, and automation. A McKinsey report examined manufacturing and the impact that analytics has on productivity and profitability and found benefits from data-driven predictive maintenance initiatives to asset analysis. Real-time data has revolutionized manufacturing processes from top to bottom.
Energy efficiency, less downtime, better quality control, and more precise inventory tracking are only a few of the benefits data and automation have brought to manufacturing. When access to this data is available to employees in remote locations, additional benefits are clear: easier pricing, improved delivery accuracy, and better project forecasting. One of the biggest challenges remote sales teams face is following up on quotes for potential customers. Mobile ERP solutions help teams establish a system of reporting to track initial contact, follow-up, and results. Since these solutions are accessible in remote locations, they allow employees the ability to update this information at any time from their mobile devices. This added accessibility gives a better understanding of customer buying behavior so they can better strategize to meet their sales goals.
Bezlio collects data via two-way integration and adds drop-in solutions, this allows for increased speed and accuracy, as users in the office put plans into motion, rather than waiting for the remote sales representatives to call or email with updates.
Cycle counts are another area in manufacturing that stand to benefit greatly from real-time data and automation. The cycle count process relies on manual processes that leave room for a lot of errors. Employees can easily attribute counts to wrong products and paperwork piles up until someone enters the data into the computer system – which also leaves room for keystroke mistakes as well as the data entry process being time-consuming. Additionally, the data collected is in near real-time rather than real-time. The count becomes approximate, not accurate and that’s where complications begin.
Bezlio users open the cycle count bezl from a phone or tablet, click “new count” or a “recount” and then enter the count ID corresponding to the one set up in Epicor. Or better yet, if you barcode, employees can just scan the code to begin – much less room for error, much faster, and your data is captured in real-time.
Next, employees scan the product ID from the barcode displayed on the rack system, shelving or other location. Then it’s a simple matter of counting the items and entering the result in the app. When all lines in the count have been scanned, hitting “submit” pushes the information to the Epicor system automatically, no manual keying into the ERP required. Not only does that process involve fewer steps, but most of them deliver significant efficiency improvements, like barcode scanning. Each step takes less time than it does when working with paper and the results are more accurate. win-win.
Choosing the right inventory management system
With many choices available on the market how do you select the right inventory management system for you? The best way to begin the selection process is to set your goals. Determine what you need the system to automate, how many users will be utilizing the features, and what are the main business challenges you’re looking to solve. Once you’ve identified your business and functional requirements, you can target inventory management systems that meet your needs. Work with your system provider to completely understand the implementation process, what support is included, and how often features and services are upgraded. Choosing the right provider can be as important as choosing the right system. Providers are the people you need when systems are being implemented and issues arise.
One common issue that can slow down inventory management system integration is the data entry process. Your inventory management system is only as accurate as the data you enter. In other words, this is a good time to check inventory handling, storing, and logging processes. If you identify issues now, you can correct them so when your new system is adopted it happens alongside your new processes that count and store inventory accurately. Resolving problems before you set up a new management system works far better than reacting to inaccuracies as they are identified.
Using technology and data to your advantage doesn’t have to be a challenging process. Many data management providers offer customized solutions to address your specific challenges and needs. Bezlio offers a library of helpful videos under the Resources tab on their website.
The exact value of the efficiency gains you’ll see when switching from manual processes to technology-assisted processes will vary by organization, the complexity of the count, the use of barcoding and other factors all impact the benefits you’ll see. The reduction in manual labor is generally significant and the time saved from things like cycle counts that previously could have taken as long as several days.
Interested in implementing a mobile development platform like Bezlio to help better manage your inventory and transactions? Contact us today and we can begin customizing a mobile ERP solution to address your business challenges or see our website’s Resources tab for case studies and blogs about our products and services.