April 2012 | Sponsored | Thought Leaders

The Right ERP Solution Puts All the Pieces Together

Tags: Logistics I.T.

Erik Kaas is Vice President, Product Management, Sage, 866-530-7243

Q: How can today's manufacturers deal with increasing regulations, demand volatility, and shifting global trade currents?

A: Success for manufacturers today depends on agility. The one certainty with global trade currents, regulations, and demand is that they will change, and your ability to adapt defines your growth potential. A well-implemented enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution can help manufacturers remain agile to adapt to any changes.

ERP provides the comprehensive audit trails, data-tracking, financials, reporting, and business intelligence required to manage increasing regulationsas well as the foundation for standard operating procedures that enforce best practices and workflows within an operation. In addition, the right ERP solution provides visibility into supply chain data, so companies can build accurate forecasts and production schedules based on historic and real-time information.

ERP solutions should also support interoperability so you can easily connect to cloud-based solutions that aid product lifecycle management. This allows you to quickly bring new and innovative products to market, and provides efficiency tools such as transportation management systems that are configurable to ensure compliance with import/export regulations.

Review your current business management system to determine how agile it allows you to be. If it limits you in being able to quickly implement a new process or best practice, or adapt to new regulations, you should evaluate alternative ERP solutions to better position yourself for future growth.

Q: Why is it difficult for companies to embrace global trade management?

A: With increasing worldwide compliance regulations, corporate financial visibility has become necessary for any size or type of organization—public, private, or nonprofit. Audit firms advocate improved financial management, standards, and real-time access to audit trails and compliance reporting. Yet many companies continue to use legacy business management systems that do not provide an adequate response to auditors' requests.

As the need for centralized financial data and financial visibility increases, spreadsheets and disparate systems will no longer be a viable solution. Add in the further complexity of global trade management, and many companies become overwhelmed with the thought of compliance, as well as the risk.

With the opportunities of globalization also come some unique challenges with respect to tighter control and reduced operational costs, enterprisewide visibility, intercompany management, and financial tracking and consolidation. Multinational, multilingual, multi-company, and  multicurrency operations only serve to complicate financial risk management for fraud, financial audits, tax laws variations, localization issues, and reporting.

The right ERP solution can help bring together, analyze, and report on multiple business units, subsidiaries, companies, and countries within an organization. Localization support, as well as support for multiple languages, currencies, and consolidated reporting, should be a core part of the solution. If you are a manufacturer that struggles to exploit the opportunities provided by global trade, it may be the right time to review your ERP system and invest in a new core foundation to build and grow your company on.