By: Jeremy Neil, Executive Vice President – Macrodyne Technologies Inc.
With the economic downturn resulting from COVID-19 placing unprecedented strain on businesses, adapting to the rapidly changing operating conditions is paramount to survival. To remain viable and prepare for the anticipated recovery once the pandemic subsides, organizations must innovate to reduce costs and enhance operational efficiencies.
Whether you’re a small start-up trying to make the most of your limited resources or a larger established organization seeking ways to increase your operating profit margin, leveraging technology is a great place to start.
In this edition of the VCC Technology & Innovation Committee’s Tech 101 series, I’ll briefly discuss 3 software systems I implemented at my organization to reduce costs, increase capacity with existing resources and provide instantaneous access to real-time information for all areas of our operations.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems
ERP systems can significantly improve operational efficiency, particularly for manufacturing and distribution operations. These systems automate manual administrative functions throughout the organization and harness the power of data to reduce procurement and inventory costs. Teams can be more productive and gain access to relevant real-time data necessary for making critical business decisions quickly and effectively.
By integrating an ERP system with existing CAD systems, manual entry can be virtually eliminated in all key processes. Engineering, procurement, production, shipping & receiving and aftermarket groups are able to process significantly more workflow, while freeing up time for teams to focus on their core areas of expertise. Using integrated analytics, organizations can make informed purchasing and inventory decisions, capitalize on economies of scale and reduce logistics costs.
ERP systems traditionally involved large capital investments and lengthy implementation periods, making them most suitable for larger organizations. There are now viable alternatives available for small to medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) requiring a much smaller investment and shorter implementation time.
Key Benefits: reduces costs, increases productivity, provides real-time access to information
Human Capital Management (HCM) Systems
HCM systems can benefit companies of all sizes by reducing costs while increasing internal controls. Options range from simple time & attendance management to full-scale systems automating onboarding, performance management, progressive discipline and separations.
These systems provide managers with access to real-time data regarding the activities of their direct reports. Managers can easily process time-off requests, manage vacation schedules, approve timesheets for payroll and more. This can be particularly valuable for organizations that have employees dispersed over a large geographic area, personnel in the field or employees working from home.
We optimized the benefits further at my organization by integrating our HCM system with our ERP system, biometric identification systems and automated payroll processing systems. This strengthened internal controls, significantly reduced payroll processing time and associated costs, while increasing payroll frequency.
Key Benefits: reduces HR & payroll administration, improves internal controls
Learning Management Systems (LMS)
Cloud-based learning management systems serve as a single portal for company training and can be expanded to include training for a variety of areas including employee onboarding, health & safety, quality systems, work instructions and key business processes.
Some systems provide the capability to create a customized Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) branded with your company logo, the ability to upload all company policies, and a due diligence component that automatically monitors training course completion and employee acknowledgement of policies.
Using intuitive user interfaces, managers can assign training, monitor completion status and issue any applicable policies for new employees with a few mouse clicks. Employees are able to access their training courses, training records and all relevant company policies from a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone 24/7 without the requirement to provide remote server access.
Key Benefits: reduces training costs, enhances training compliance, improves access to information
The above examples are just a few of the software systems developed for businesses of all sizes that can increase your operational efficiency. Many systems available now are subscription-based and priced on the number of users making them cost-effective, relatively simple to implement and scalable as your business grows.
With so many companies facing severe cash flow restrictions, capital investments are likely a distant consideration. However, there is no better time than now to take advantage of reduced activity by reviewing the areas of your operations that can benefit most from software automation. You may be surprised to learn how short the payback period can be and how significant the ROI is.
- Consider reviewing areas of your business that could be more productive by automating manual administrative tasks and linking all key business processes.
- Consider what data is critical to your operations, how it’s presently accessed and how your team could benefit from real-time access to it.
- Consider the opportunities for your business to evolve through the use of powerful analytic tools embedded in many enterprise systems.
- Consider developing a multi-disciplinary team inside your organization to review potential software systems. Your employees are your best source of innovation and their buy-in is a critical success factor in any enterprise software implementation.
- Already utilizing technology effectively and reaping the benefits? Consider sharing your success story with us for use in a future case study.
- Finally, you can continue hearing from us on ways technology can help your business succeed on social media and by joining the Vaughan Chamber e-newsletter list.