ERP Platforms for Departmental Synergy in Retail
Synergy. Otherwise known as having seamless operations that support each other with their functions. The opposite of synergy: siloed. From these straightforward definitions, it’s clear that we should always be striving for increased synergy if we are to remain competitive in today’s retail environment. And tools such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 can be integral in achieving such an environment.
Some signs that your business may be lacking in synergy include:
- Limited agility to respond to unexpected changes in demand
- Employees that spend much of their time on data management and related tasks
- Multiple versions of truth or oversights within data
Luckily, achieving synergy doesn’t have to be a struggle for retailers. In this post, we’re going to cover some key ways to improve it via the assistance of an ERP platform - which can ultimately help retailers to improve their internal processes and subsequently their bottom line.
Improved Internal Communications
Want more synergy? It starts with better communications between departments. And better communication starts with making the same (accurate) data available to all the right people that need it - automatically. Having a single database, living in the cloud, that is constantly collecting and storing essential operational information in real time means that all authorized users, regardless of location or function, have the capacity to communicate more effectively and accurately. Additionally, as many ERP platforms come prebuilt with interactive dashboards and comprehensive reporting, they bring with them the capacity to further spur collaboration that otherwise would have been difficult to achieve simply because of the time commitment it would take to support such knowledge and insights.
Clearer Process Transparency
Better transparency and visibility are essential for identifying operations that could be improved and for understanding how they can better fit together. For key stakeholders, having access to real time information about what’s going on can help them to make critical decisions while knowing that they’re making them with a foundation based in accurate data. Subsequently, challenges related to supply chain and merchandising can be met with more ease and efficiency than in siloed operations where the relations between different parts of the process are not clear. These insights also can help to improve issues related to compliance, accountability, and liability when necessary by keeping clear and automatic records of what’s been happening in each department.
Streamlining and Automating Workflows
Workflow automation is one of the key benefits for retailers that is associated with a solution like Dynamics 365, when it comes to saving time, efficiency, and money. Without automated workflows, different processes could take weeks to complete as they are transferred manually between different employees who each complete a different part of the task. In this arrangement, should there be a hold up in a single “link”, there is a ripple effect down the line as later processes become backlogged. By utilizing an ERP platform to automate these workflows, you eliminate these risks, while simultaneously maximizing profits by allowing your employees to focus on the tasks that truly require human attention. Another bonus? Such changes eliminate tons of waste not only in terms of time but also in terms of paper and other physical resources - making your retail businesses just a little bit greener too.
How Can Synergy Improve Retail Operations?
All of these different factors ultimately result in happier employees, leading to better customer interactions and ultimately the best buying experience possible. In other words, if we have better data and better clarity into what is going on with it, we are empowering ourselves to make better decisions and create the ideal buying experience for our customers. ERP solutions eliminate many of the barriers that would otherwise stand in the way of such efforts, and for many retailers, are the missing piece of the puzzle that brings it all together.
In other words, if your goal is to have a customized, multichannel retail experience that will keep your customers coming back, it’s first key to get your processes in order so that your employees can focus on building your brand. The prebuilt functionalities in a platform such as Dynamics 365 can work to support these processes by including all employees, providing the best information possible, and giving you a deeper understanding of your customer - all from an intuitive user dashboard.
Retail is increasingly becoming an industry where a small change in one part of your business can have a huge impact on the rest of it (positive or negative). By utilizing a platform that has been designed with the retail industry in particular in mind, you can eliminate many inefficiencies and errors that could plague an otherwise strong retailer. Choosing the right partner in implementation is key here also, as they can insure a smooth and balanced transition with minimal data loss or disruption.
Want to learn more about how other businesses have improved their operational synergy with the help of Dynamics 365? Check out our case study of Pakistani retailer, Khaadi.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Systems Limited, or any other entity related to Systems Limited.