Whether installed on-cloud or on-premise – does it really matter to your business where your ERP Software Suite takes up residency? Should it? Of these options, cloud, premise or hybrid, are there reasons to choose one over the other? Business, at any phase, can see the value of both sides of the argument. Costs, dependent capitalizing or renting of your software suite deployment, will affect decisions and outcomes.
If your current or planned systems are capable, flexible and designed for hybrid operations your chances of success will be enhanced.
Hybrid systems, "cloud-premise," are predicted for the future of enterprise.
Here are a few reasons to choose an ERP system regardless of where the software breathes:
- Business flows like butter when all systems are on board and talking together.
- Enterprises connected to ERP are healthier because their immune system is working.
- Business partners have right-of-entry because your business has access to accurate information.
- Portals give your business freedom from the bondage of isolated information silos.
- Cloud, premise, mobile, BYOD connects with reliable availability.
- Technology does not go on vacation but you can with systems secured together.
- Finance, sales and marketing, operations and manufacturing can sing the same song and verse at the same time.
- Reporting, analytics and decision support exist in a single version of the truth.
- Creating your business’ future-state vision based on consistent and verifiable data sources.
- Future-proofing is possible on a daily basis when your enterprise information is competent.
Integration of your people, technologies and business processes delivers trust and confidence in ERP for your daily operations. Business systems deliver a full range of information, but, does this data have meaningful relevance to what you need now and are the results reinforced across the enterprise?
Material planning and forecasting is one example. When you ask for a report on product movements, reflective of all activities within a relevant time period, because new forecasts are ready to be activated, can your collective, integrated systems deliver accurate, single version of the truth, decision support? Inventory holdings are costly and mistakes take big bites out of cash flow reserves and warehouse space.
The ten items above are the base results to harvest from your enterprise systems. The location those systems exist should, therefore, be of no consequence to the outcome. Technology platforms should, out of necessity, interoperate seamlessly without the need to question information integrity. Proofing those processes for all departments and locations is a result of a well-orchestrated technology architecture. Information sources, where your modular systems obtain data, should allow independent platforms, supporting an anywhere, anytime approach. Such as supply chain mobility can offer.
From a systems approach, your company may have some or all of the following technology layers; servers, PCs, multiple locations, mobile users, barcode printers, warehouse scanners, wired and wireless clients, VPN users, remote and contract employees, customers and suppliers. All of these user layers, with their respective connection methods, must see the same system results as though they are working locally. Their transactions, inquiries, and postings want to be seamlessly experienced across your company in real-time. Otherwise voids exist and vacuums of decisions are created leaving you with unverifiable disparate information.
Your systems, because of variety necessary for today’s business, are not necessarily available or cost-effective for local installation. Hybrid systems are gaining strength because of powerful business benefits. Most of these systems, if not all, can be purchased, leased or rented. The challenge, then, is systems and operation integration.
A brief case study:
The Spuds Company has operations in two states, Idaho and Wisconsin. Each location harvests potatoes from local farms, producing potato products in a variety of forms and final part numbers. For example, French-fries, hash browns, and diced potatoes. Each product is blanched, flash-frozen, and packed, then, stored in freezers ready for sales and distribution. Some products are produced for customer private labels, while others are made-to-stock in foerecast quantities.
Enterprise Modular Systems:
- Quality Control
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Sales force automation
- Supplier and customer assimilation
Each product is shipped to local and national centers. Others to customer distribution centers awaiting delivery triggers for consumer or upstream manufacturers. With local farm harvests, regulations require lot-tractability from the field pick-totes to the end product. Lot systems supporting product faults and recalls against lots from raw materials to finished products. Lot integrity is mandatory from cradle-to-grave for all products and ingredients.
Warehousing has stringent storage and quality requirements to preserve lot integrity and product quality. Products require barcode labels, some of which are customer specific while others are consumer-based retail UPC labels. Warehousing supporting multiple bins and multiple warehouses, stored by lot sequence expiry sensitivity. Physical and logical locations are required for raw, in-process and completed products in the internal supply chain and distribution channel.
Quality control is a key part of their needs for food manufacturing due to FDA Part 21 and other food and drugs process handling and storage regulations. Quality control links enterprise and factory processes with regulatory requirements.
- Purchasing and Supplier delivery performance
- Customer quality standards variations
- Work in process quality control
- Regulatory Reporting
- Cost of quality and financial impacts
Your extensive system requirements list will be, in part, determined by your industry environment and business model. The contributors range extends from consumer orders, to shipping notices and tracking pallet loads with container serial-labels.
The Internet is changing the way we consider our systems' place of residency. System locations vary as much as time-zones and micro climates. To think for a moment we can contain the totality of business and process management systems necessary to effectively operate global enterprise under one roof is far from possible. To do so would not only increase IT and support costs, adversely affect operations adoption, but, would limit opportunities for simplifying and gain functional benefits available for renewed flexibility. Choosing your business integration applications within a short-list instead or advantaging what exists globally will significantly improve the vision of what’s possible. For some answers to the pressing issue of where to start: