More and more work processes are also carried out on the go. After the classic applications for the field service, these include mainly internal applications such as ERP. This enables companies to achieve significant improvements in logistics, production and trade. You reduce possible sources of error and save time.
But what should you watch out for when introducing and using an ERP system, especially with mobile applications?
1. For which processes do you use mobile ERP systems?
The first step is to decide in which areas and for which processes mobile ERP systems are to be used. They are suitable, for example, for warehouse management. Instead of cumbersome and error-prone paper-based processes, all processes in barcode-based systems can be recorded with hand scanners and processed automatically. This accelerates both the physical flow of goods and the logistical processes.
The data from the scanned goods is transferred to the central ERP platform. Conversely, the picking lists are sent directly to the mobile barcode device so that paper printouts are no longer necessary. In addition, errors can be avoided by directly scanning the barcodes of articles from the shelf. And the current inventory is always available at the push of a button. This reduces stocks and improves delivery reliability.
Fast processing of orders
Another common area of application for mobile ERP software is service management. Thanks to the mobile platform, employees on site have all the information and applications they need. This significantly reduces repair and maintenance times. In addition, customers are more satisfied because service and maintenance are carried out quickly and professionally.
Fast order processing is also one of the great strengths of mobile ERP systems in other areas. For example, employees can enter new orders, orders or requests for quotations at any time at trade fairs, exhibitions or customer visits. With offline mode, this is even possible without an internet connection. The scanned barcode of the corresponding article is then transferred to the central systems as soon as there is contact again. In addition, employees can view existing customer orders or order processes on their mobile device while on the move or enter additional information such as warehouse codes and section codes.
2. Which device for ERP?
The next big question is what devices to deploy to employees. In addition to the classic scanning solutions such as handheld or PDA, which are mainly offered as special solutions for the warehouse, there are now also apps for smartphones and tablet PCs. These devices are suitable for marketing and sales staff, for example, because they not only look chic to the customer, but also offer numerous useful additional apps such as e-mail, chat, telephony or navigation. If the employee is to show tables, diagrams, presentations or videos, he of course receives a tablet.
Smartphones, tablets, ultrabooks? The choice is huge
For service or maintenance staff, on the other hand, an ultrabook or notebook can be suitable, especially if they have to examine extensive documentation, lists or technical drawings or have to enter additional data manually. This is inconvenient on smaller screens or virtual keyboards and can result in unnecessary loss of time. When making calls, they usually have their own mobile phone with them anyway, which can be used with the camera function to scan barcodes if necessary.
3. The correct implementation of the ERP system
While the first two questions are usually answered appropriately by companies, the third step is the biggest source of error: the introduction of the mobile ERP solution. Here it is important to involve the affected employees from the start and to take their wishes into account. After all, they know best which functions and applications they need for their daily work. And today the available technology no longer defines the possible work processes, but the desired processes define the technology to be used.
Define clear corporate goals
Before deciding on a solution, it is therefore important to consider where the company should be in five or ten years. Because on average, an ERP system remains in use for at least eight years.
The goals should be in terms of
- important business processes
- or unique selling points
be determined. Whether the company should be a leader in price, quality or service has elementary effects on the selection of the ERP system. The following checklist shows which points must be observed in detail. The implementation phase for the introduction of the mobile ERP solution then usually lasts three to six months. If the company has done everything right, it can immediately benefit from the numerous advantages.
Checklist: 7 points to implement the mobile ERP solution correctly!
The following checklist shows which points have to be considered when introducing a mobile ERP solution:
Which business process should be the most important in the future? Concentrate on that, but all other processes also require business standards.
Put an extra focus on flexible information supply, for example using BI tools. This will be your constant dashboard and future navigator for your success and will alert you to any trend changes in a timely manner.
Decide on target group-specific communication and the appropriate channels.
Do you want to be attractive to your employees? Then equip them with modern smartphones or tablets and allow BYOD if necessary – with a reliable security solution.
Choose a service provider who offers reliable services, financial and technical future security and international support now and for the next 10 years.
Which infrastructure do you want in the next few years: Cloud / SaaS / On-Premise / Hybrid? Choose a provider who allows flexibility here.
What are the risks, for example from power or internet failure, software that is no longer maintained, loss of service provider, data espionage? How much effort is required to secure and which provider can offer security here?