Home' MHD Supply Chain Solutions : MHD Jul-Aug 2016 Contents THOMAS FIKENTSCHER
DATA WILL DELIVER
INNOVATION, BUT ONLY
IF FINANCE IS AGILE AND
Data is changing the way that we under-
stand the world, our businesses, and
even ourselves. From wearable technolo-
gy to sensors embedded in machinery, we can
now mine data from an almost limitless number
of sources, while the increasing sophistication
of analytics technology means that we can turn
this raw information into actionable insight with
the right resources.
As data becomes ever more central to
the decision-making process, so it becomes
increasingly imperative that logistics and
warehousing businesses are able to understand
the full value within their business. This is no
longer limited to financial figures of profit and
loss: given our current ability to gather and
quantify data, we can now gain a thorough
picture of the inherent value of premises, people,
ideas, infrastructure, and the brand itself.
Understanding this value is one thing, but
for it to bring real benefit, businesses need the
agility to turn information into action. Compared
to small start-ups, larger organisations, with
their extensive assets and complex processes,
are at a disadvantage when it comes to reacting
to changing circumstances. The challenge for
logistics enterprises is how they can gain a full
picture of their businesses' assets, and then
use these insights to marshal their resources
One of the most powerful ways that
enterprises can achieve the necessary agility is
by upgrading back-office enterprise resource
planning (ERP) systems to the cloud.
These technologies, when combined with
integrated planning and forecasting tools,
provide a thorough overview of an enterprise's
assets, which enable organisations to model
and measure the impact of any strategic
transformation they make within the business.
Enterprises should not think, however, that all
they have to do is simply upgrade their systems
and turn the key. The essence of ERP and
associated technologies is not so much about
the data they deliver -- important as it is -- but is
more about how they free up time organisations
previously spent crunching numbers to put
the business on the frontline of innovation.
Harnessing real-time analytic insights, finance
can drive strategies related to the economy, the
market, competitors and customer preferences,
driving the business forward as a trusted partner
at the core among other functional leaders.
This is where ERP, together with budgeting
and planning systems, deliver their value.
By providing not only real-time snapshots of
all business resources, but also predictive
visualisations, it enables organisations to make
critical decisions such as how to free up budget
to finance a project, whether there is available
capacity in the workforce, and if their IT
infrastructure is up to scratch.
This last consideration is particularly
important, not least because ERP itself requires
integration with every line-of-business system to
ensure that it can provide a single, unified view
On-premise software simply doesn't provide the
flexibility, agility, or scalability to provide this cross-
company functionality, which is why businesses
are turning towards the cloud. Over the last year,
we have seen many businesses begin to reap the
benefits of ERP cloud, which is bringing them
lower costs, improved workflow functionality, 24/7
support and, crucially, the ability to bring every
business department onto the same platform.
Monitoring and analysing corporate resources
naturally generates huge volumes of data, and
only cloud technology provides the scale to
manage this information in an affordable way.
In spite of the proven benefits of cloud, some
businesses have been reluctant to embrace the
model because of doubts about security.
As the pressure to innovate builds on
established businesses, we will see them
increasingly seek to know their business better
so that they begin to adapt themselves to the
challenges of tomorrow.
"Understanding suppliers' businesses goes much
further than just ensuring they are able to service
orders in the moment."
MHD SUPPLY CHAIN SOLUTIONS --- JULY / AUGUST 2016
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