Resource Planning 101: Essentials for Retailers
What do you call a retailer who is always out of stock? Out of business.
One of the most important parts of any retail business is maintaining the right stock of the products that you are selling (and everything related to it). Ultimately, regardless of specifics, all retailers have the same goal: sell enough to be profitable, and without thorough resource planning, it just won’t happen - no matter how incredibly well thought out your resources may be. Thankfully, there are a wealth of software and support options available to help businesses meet this challenge. And many of them make it even easier by taking all of the necessary operations and organizing them in a centralized and intuitive dashboard that allows decision makers look closely at any single part of a business, but also to be able to take a step back and view the ‘big picture’ and how all of the moving parts come together.
ERPs - a First Look
ERP or enterprise resource planning systems are solutions that are designed to take all the essential and different operations of your business and streamlining them into a single, intuitive and accessible ‘dashboard’. This integration means that all of your data and management processes are tracked; resulting in a wealth of data and the ability to make accurate decisions based on it.
To be successful in your resource planning, it is essential to adopt an ERP solution that is capable of handling all of your current needs and will also be scalable as your business grows. It can also be helpful to choose one that has features to your industry in specific. This can be particularly true when you work in retail as the unique problems specific to this trade often require additional functionality (such as merchandising or multiple POS applications). As the sole purpose of an ERP is to simplify your employees tasks (and lives) by centralizing all essential operations into an easily understandable dashboard. Some tasks that your ERP should be able to complete include:
- Inventory control and warehouse management
- Supply chain planning (including transportation management)
- Business intelligence - acquisition and organization of data
- Core accounting tasks
- Customer relationship management (CRM), or the capacity to be integrated with an existing CRM
An additional factor to consider is that of the transition to a new ERP - whether for the first time or from an existing solution that isn’t working. There are a few things that you can do to ease this part of the process:
- Know your goals and make them clear from the start. This is especially true when it comes to selecting which ERP and how it is implemented, because you really don’t want to have to do it again when your business reaches the next level.
- Weigh the benefits of a parallel implementation, where you have your existing system and your ERP running simultaneously for a short period versus a phased implementation where you bring each business line into an ERP individually
- Choose a partner who is experienced in your industry in particular when it comes to implementation. This minimizes the risk of data loss or disruption during the transition
- Keep in mind the changes that having an ERP will have on your employees - especially in the beginning. By ensuring that your employees have the necessary ongoing support available, you can make their lives easier and your new system more effective from the start (choosing the right partner can have a big impact here too)
ERPs can be an effective and efficient way to organize your business, data, and everything in between. This can enable your employees to make more informed decisions for a better buying experience and subsequently more loyal and engaged customers. Choosing the right software and partner to work with are essential to being sure that all involved stakeholders (internal and external) are happy and effective the final solution.
Resource planning doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does require organization, patience, and the understanding of how individual parts can be optimized for the best performance possible. If you’re interested in learning more about how to effectively plan your resources, make sure to write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for your free consultation.
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.