Are you adding an ERP (enterprise resource planning) system to your business (or maybe changing to another?). Here are 4 mistakes that can plague an ERP implementation, and tips to help stay focused for success.
No Objectives / Management Support
Unless you have the backing of management, you’ll be set up to fail from the start. Management must communicate the importance of this change, announce the key players involved, and the benefits the company will achieve once the move to a new system is complete.
No Responsible Personnel / Schedule Planned
If you don’t identify objectives and a list of tasks to be completed, an individual to be responsible for them, priorities, and a schedule for meeting them, your project risks failure.
Identify your objectives and tasks, and assign a unique priority to each task. Identify individuals responsible for each task, and assign those responsibilities to each of them. Make a schedule for the project that includes a realistic Go-Live date, each task, and 25% for unexpected work or delays. Identify deadlines and make clear the consequence of not meeting those deadlines. Avoid miscommunication by assigning one person to communicate between all parties involved. Don’t forget to leave the lines of communication open with your vendor’s Implementation Team.
No Acceptance / Appropriate Training
Your staff must know why some of their jobs will require new procedures or responsibilities, and why some old tasks will no longer necessary. Help them understand the benefits of the new system, both to them and to the company. Before implementation, give them time to accept the new system and become comfortable with it. As the project moves through various phases, communicate the progress. This will help employees feel they are part of the change and accept their tasks.
If you don’t provide adequate training, users may revert to old methods or incorrect procedures. This includes manager training.
Adequate training means the knowledge and support of your system is in the hands of qualified users. It allows everyone to visualize the new system in action and to interact with it. Make sure everyone involved knows the processes, their responsibilities in those processes, and how to accomplish them with the new system.
No Testing/Not Enough Testing
Each type of transaction should be followed through the system in detail by representatives from each department involved to be sure everyone is familiar with the transaction flow and that all of the steps are followed and understood. Additionally, several weeks of parallel testing is recommended so everyone knows their new responsibilities and questions/issues can be addressed. This will go a long way in gaining your staff’s confidence that you, and they, are prepared for Go-Live.
When it’s time to think about your ERP system, give us a call. Morse Data is committed to continuous improvement. Changes can get out of line, but we help get them InOrder.
Now you need to refresh your relationship with your customers so the fire doesn’t fizzle out. Here are 5 important tips to consider.
Inventory – Don’t let it sit around to hold up cash flow and increase the possibility of stale products. Are your customers too familiar with your products. Can they find the same items for less at another store? Do they occasionally want to see something new? If a product isn’t selling, try a sale or a replacement. Use social media to find out what your customers are interested in and give it to them.
Reviews – It’s well-known that consumers research businesses and products before they buy. Even negative reviews, when included with the good reviews, can increase consumer trust and contribute favorable to conversion. Google recognizes the benefits of ratings and reviews, and you can encourage Google to show them with schema markup. (While you’re reading about schema markup for ratings and reviews, be sure to also check out the details for using markup for your products.) After an order is delivered, thank the customer and ask for a review. Our experience shows that these Email requests with a convenient link to the product page results in far more reviews. Be sure to provide links that are as convenient as possible, and format your review page so it is quick to submit.
Website Layout – Make sure your site is compatible with all devices. Using Google’s recommended Responsive Design Plan, your mobile store will automatically adjust to the sizes of all devices customers are using to provide optimal presentation. The design has the added bonus of a single cart, so multiple web sites are no long required. Good for your customers, good for you!
Keywords and SEO – keep titles and keywords updated so they don’t bring down the SEO for your products. Use words that describe the items, anticipate all the information customers will need, and use descriptions to answer the most common questions you receive about the items.
Fast and Easy Checkout – if customers are buying online because it’s faster, they will quickly abandon their carts if the checkout process is slow or demanding. Keep the checkout process simple and quick. Reveal all fees up front and show your shoppers the checkout flow to let them know what to expect. Keep it efficient with as few steps as possible. Giving customers an up-front shipping estimate, or the option to bypass registration (when appropriate) can eliminate some of the breakdown at checkout.
Contact us for a free demo to see how InOrder can help your eCommerce business.
It’s important to recognize your employees as a valuable team. Of course every company wants to be successful and have a “winning team.” But what exactly are the components of a winning team?
Researching ERP software can be a daunting task. After all, you’re looking for a system to help run your business. It will impact your customer service, how you manage your warehouse, your bottom line, and even your customers. Here are 5 mistakes to avoid when shopping for your ERP system.
Not knowing what you need – It’s important to know if the new system will improve your bottom line, how it can help increase and maintain customer satisfaction, if it can help attract new business, how you can use it to make your processes and personnel more efficient, and what resources it provides for future growth. Be sure you know how the new system will benefit your business.
Not knowing how you will use it – Some people know their business needs a new system, but they might not know exactly what they need to do with a new system. If they don’t know their processes, what they need to help complete them, and any other features they’d like, they’ll likely end up disappointed and wasting time that could otherwise be used by making improvements. At worst, they’ll end up with a system that’s not appropriate for their business.
Not preparing for demos – Initially, a demo might be scheduled to highlight the software without knowing any specific requirements. When real-life problems aren’t discussed, how would you (or prospective vendors) know what is needed for improvement? Not being prepared with problems you need solved and requesting vendors to demonstrate solutions means you cheat yourself out of criteria when it’s time to evaluate vendors.
Not evaluating the vendors – Selecting a vendor is as important as selecting an ERP system. Don’t be so focused on the system that you forget to check out the vendors. If the vendor’s technical support and responsiveness isn’t also considered, you might be on your own. Be sure they are experts, professional, and available when they’re needed.
Unrealistic expectations – Some ERP shoppers don’t know what’s involved in selecting and implementing and ERP system. They’re asking it to do a lot, and it takes much commitment from everyone involved – including the vendor, the system, and the buyer. Not only during implementation, but for the life of the system.
Once you make your selection, think about implementation. For help with this, download our white paper Ten Tips for a Successful ERP Implementation.
There are many ways to improve warehouse efficiency, and many ways to reduce it. Processes can change over time. Your business is constantly evolving and improving, which could result in changing how your ERP system is used. Equally as important as having the best technology is knowing what it can do for your business, and using it to continuously improve your workflows. Not keeping up with these improvements and not keeping your employees trained can result in reduced productivity and efficiency in a warehouse. Here are four examples that can be avoided.
No Continuous Improvement
Audit your system to review processes that relate to how you use your ERP system. This may reveal shortcuts that were not being used, processes being done manually that can be automated, and functions, features, or optional modules that are not being used at all because nobody knew they existed. Instead, these functions are being performed manually when your software could be doing them for you.
If it’s been awhile since you’ve upgraded your ERP system, consider contacting your vendor to find out what’s new and improved. This is also a good time to discuss any wish list items, and ask questions about new features that could solve some problems.
No Refresher Training
It is beneficial for long-time software users to evaluate how they’re using their software and determine whether improvements can be made in their processes. Consider refresher training if you answer Yes to any of these questions:
- Did any of your employees forget what they need to know from the implementation training?
- Did any of your employees revert to old processes?
- Do you have employees who never received the initial training?
- Is your staff doing manual tasks that can be automated?
No Security Training
Thieves will take advantage of every opportunity available to them. Your employees are an important line of defense against them, unless they don’t know what to watch for, what to protect, or how. POS employees can learn what to do to try to prevent compromised card-reading devices, or how to recognize them, while customer service reps must know not to store sensitive data on their desktops, and all employees should know to check the creditability of Email requests and offers. It’s critical to have a security process in place and make sure your employees know it well.
Training can help your staff understand the benefits of your system, both to them and to the company. It can help identify any new processes, new responsibilities, and questions about the system. Training is an opportunity to make sure everyone knows the procedures, their responsibilities in those procedures, and how to accomplish them with your system. Training must be relevant to the users attending, with practice sessions, appropriate training aids, and a resource for follow up.
When you conduct training, be sure to include the following:
- Keep the information relevant to the users attending the training.
- Include practice sessions to follow through the task in detail.
- Provide documentation and training aids.
- Provide a contact for followup questions or additional assistance with the system.
When it’s time to think about your ERP system, give us a call. Morse Data is committed to continuous process improvement. Changes can get out of line, but we help get them InOrder.
If your business is concerned about PCI-DSS Compliance, read this article from the PCI Security Council, discussing the future of PCI-DSS.
If you sell products online that may be subject to California’s amendments to Prop 65 safety warnings, read this article, by F. Curtiss Barry & Company, with information on the amendments.
E-commerce sales tax – what’s next? Avalara provides details about the supreme court’s recent decision about sales taxes for online purchases, including reasons for the decision and what to possibly expect in the future.
This article examines how eCommerce is changing logistics.
Your products, your services, your location, your tools, and of course, your employees. All of these help your business succeed. If they’re not working together efficiently, it will impact your customer satisfaction and your bottom line. Here are five ways your ERP system can help.
If your ERP system doesn’t provide these functions to
improve your warehouse efficiency (and more),
contact us for a demo of InOrder.
Have you ever read the stories about implementations gone wrong, or how a company upgraded an existing system without A) checking with anyone beforehand or B) telling everyone afterward?
One example is that an upgrade is completed without informing everyone in the office until the next morning, when something isn’t working properly. Another example would be someone from a Marketing Department advertising that they’re running a promotion for a product, but perhaps the promotion wasn’t added to the ERP system, resulting in an emergency fire to put out. With clear communication, marketing would send messages to to the appropriate personnel to help prevent unplanned work and avoid unhappy customers.
Communication can even help you avoid security problems, such as these. One process that might help is to appoint a team that reviews and approves any changes before they are made. This team discusses the change, its implications, and any other aspects of the business to prepare for or delay it. Another helpful tool is IT monitoring software, which alerts critical personnel, whether internal staff or an external IT service, when there is a concern.
When planning a significant system change, it’s also important that you work hand-in-hand with your vendor’s Implementation Team (if applicable) to keep those lines of communication open to help ensure success. Our white paper, 10 Steps to a Successful Implementation, has great advice for clearly communicating change to everyone involved, as well as everyone who will be affected by the change. This advice can easily be tailored to large projects or small.
Remember to notify everyone of the change, and provide training and technical support as appropriate. This will help make sure the system is in the hands of qualified users.
Change doesn’t have to be painful, especially when it’s needed to help improve your system. Keeping sight of priorities, staying organized, and clear communication are key elements for successfully growing your business. We’d enjoy hearing any additional suggestions that you’ve found to be successful. Please leave your comments below.
Make sure your eCommerce store is designed so it is easy for shoppers to use, find what they want, and checkout quickly. Here are 8 features that will help you and your shoppers.
• Image/product carousel – images are important to customers, and carousels are great ways to display them. Use them to show wish list items, cross sell items, sale items, related items, accessories, and even generate items that rank as best sellers. Instead of just one, you can even use multiple product carousels to display items in groups. Your groups may include items related to customers’ previous purchases, loyalty awards, special searches, and more.
• Searching & Filtering – When shoppers search for something specific, it means they know what they want, and they don’t want to work too hard to find it. One way to help is to use Facet filtering, which is a powerful capability that helps customers fine tune their search results. It enables shoppers to make additional selections within search results based on their individual interests, eliminating the need to sift through many search results. Setup is minimal, and shoppers expect it. These features provide shoppers with faster and more accurate search results, adding to our commitment to help our customers improve the shopping experience they deliver, while lowering costs and increasing sales.
• Fraud scoring – To decrease fraudulent orders from being processed, use your ERP system to assess them as they are received based on a variety of criteria known to indicate fraudulent purchases.
• Feedback / Reviews – Reviews can increase sales by steering and bolstering confidence as shoppers are considering their purchases. With the right ERP system, you can even create your own form of social media, providing online forums or Q&A sections that allow customers to contribute.
• Videos – These useful shopping tools can show shoppers how to use a product, it’s purpose, and why they want it.
• Wish list – This is a basic feature that stores provide to allow customers buy when they’re ready, and makes ordering and re-ordering easy. It allows customers to build a list of products they would like to purchase in the future. With a great ERP system, you can allow customers to convert their wish lists into active shopping carts, and move items between shopping carts and wish lists. You can even display wish lists on a carousel on your home page.
Mobile Friendly – Make sure your site is compatible with all devices. Using Google’s recommended Responsive Design Plan, your mobile store will automatically adjust to the sizes of all devices customers are using to provide optimal presentation. The design has the added bonus of a single cart, so multiple web sites are no long required. Good for your customers, good for you!
• Easy Checkout – If the checkout process requires customers to create an account, or if there are unexpected fees or high shipping amounts, shoppers might not complete the checkout process. Keep the checkout process simple and quick. Reveal all fees up front and show your shoppers the checkout flow to let them know what to expect. Keep it efficient with as few steps as possible. Giving customers an up-front shipping estimate, or the option to bypass registration (when appropriate) can eliminate some of the breakdown at checkout.
Contact us for a free demo to see how InOrder can help you increase your sales.