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Gear up your ERP system for the fourth industrial revolution

The fourth industrial revolution can be described as a range of new technologies that are fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds and impacting all disciplines, economies and industries. According to the World Economic Forum: "We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another."

The first industrial revolution involved the use of steam power to maximise production. In the second, electric power was used to create mass production. The third used IT to automate processing. The fourth industrial revolution will build on the third as the fusion of technologies will merge physical, digital and biological spheres. Markets, customers, products and services and technology will transform at the speed of light. To stay relevant, businesses must rapidly adapt to this new paradigm.

The fourth industrial revolution is about connecting machines and people and helping businesses save money, reduce costs and minimise human error. Companies with outdated technologies will not survive the fourth industrial revolution. They must adapt to new technologies, improve their processing and better serve their customers using valuable data gathered through an ERP system. Changing a few departments will not help either. You will need an upgrade of all operational aspects of the business. So, how do you prepare your business ERP system for this revolution?

Invest in a dynamic ERP system

One critical element to assess in light of this revolution is your ERP system, which needs to be flexible and change-ready. If you operate on a legacy system for too long, change will demand too much of your business and implementing a new system will become overwhelmingly complex and expensive.

A dynamic ERP system allows businesses to respond proactively to growth and change by providing real-time data across departments in the enterprise. UK and Ireland solution consulting director at Sage, Andrew Spence, said in a recent article: "Something has to orchestrate that data so it can be used by organisations to execute business processes more efficiently, such as ERP. Rather than seeing software as an end in itself, business leaders should regard it as a provider of information that they can use to improve their business."

Since legacy systems rely on information being entered and transferred manually, managers often access outdated or incorrect data. A dynamic cloud ERP system synchronises automation into business processes, which allows them to think strategically and bring solutions to the market much faster. This is exactly what the fourth industrial revolution requires from businesses so they can remain relevant and competitive.

How a dynamic ERP solution relates to your business

Siloed data will not help identify how other departments are affecting your financial investment. For instance, an ERP provider can gather information about a cheese distributor from its production to supply chain and use sensors in its fleet of trucks to monitor temperatures. This data is then integrated into an ERP system to help ensure the produce lasts and is more efficiently distributed. You might find there is a temperature problem in one of the trucks, which can be rectified before it has a chance to financially affect the business. In the same way, when HR and finance are integrated, financial managers have insight into issues such as absenteeism and can use this data to plan strategic incentives to increase staff productivity and, in turn, the profitability of the business.

Choose the right provider for the journey

Finding an ERP implementation partner that is agile and invested in your business is equally important. The right provider will analyse your business processes and suggest how best to apply and implement your new ERP system and offer training to onboard the rest of the business. If your solution ever requires change, the provider must be present and ready to have that discussion.

Refer to this blog for more information on choosing the right ERP provider for your business.

SynergERP is an award-winning Sage Platinum Reseller, specialising in Sage X3 People and Sage X3 business management software. We serve medium to enterprise companies in the manufacturing, distribution, financial services and general services industries. Visit our website to learn more about SynergERP's solutions.

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Amy van der Merwe
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