Companies often turn to ERP software in the pursuit of greater efficiency, productivity and profitability. The trouble is, ERP isn’t a silver bullet – as much as it’s capable of streamlining core business processes, it won’t automatically turn bad processes into good ones.
For this reason, it’s important not to rush into an implementation before finding out if the way you work as a company – rather than the software you use – is actually the biggest barrier to your continued success.
Not sure where to get started? Here are seven sure signs it’s time to bring in a business process management consultant.
1. Resources go unused or wasted
If there’s a significant mismatch between the resources you pay for and the resources you actually use or need, it may be evidence of a process issue. Business process optimisation can help you speed up resource allocation and make the best possible use of your assets, maximising ROI.
2. Regular time and budget overruns
If time and budget overruns are a fact of life in your company, it could be a sign that your processes are both inefficient and out of control. Before you attempt to streamline and automate them, it’s important to work out where the leakage occurs.
3. No-one understands their responsibilities
A common problem with poorly thought-out processes is that no-one seems to understand who’s responsible for what. The result is that work isn’t completed on time or to a sufficiently high standard, regardless of how easily it could have been carried out.
4. Work is needlessly repeated
Elsewhere, you may find that process issues lead to work being needlessly repeated, or involving far more people than are really necessary. Even with minor tasks, the resources wasted through this inefficiency can quickly add up.
5. Employees and customers alike are frustrated
Even when the causes themselves aren’t obvious, a stressed-out workforce or a high volume of customer complaints can be symptomatic of a deep-rooted process issue. No matter how you go about defining and implementing your processes, employee buy-in is vital in order for them to succeed – and if they fail, it’s often your customers who suffer.
6. Your processes haven’t evolved with your business
Another sure sign it’s time to bring in a business process management consultant is that your company is growing and changing rapidly, and the methods that worked for you in the past are struggling to keep up.
In some SMEs, for example, it’s common for owner-managers to hold a lot of critical business and process information in their heads – a major risk as their companies get bigger and their people change.
7. You’ve lost sight of the bigger picture
Finally, if you’re spending the majority of your time in reactive rather than proactive mode, and firefighting rather than focusing on the bigger picture for your business, it may be that process issues are holding you back.
An owner-manager of a growing SME has important strategic decisions to make. If they can’t see the forest for the trees, no ambitious ERP implementation will change that – there’s a deeper problem that needs to be solved first, and the sooner the better.