Extended Functionalities Of ERP Software To Suit Your Business Needs

Enterprise Resource Planning software is the most comprehensive business management solution that allows companies across industries to manage their critical functions. It's an ideal automation solution that supports advanced data analysis and full-scale infrastructure integration. The best part is that organizations can customize ERP software based on their specific challenges. 

Some extended functionalities of ERP software are described below:

1. Supply Chain Management module

A basic ERP software can efficiently manage production planning. It includes the following processes:

  • Acquiring essential raw materials
  • Converting them into finished products
  • Tracking the exact quantity of raw materials in the inventory
  • Automatically placing a purchase order with the vendor if the amount of raw materials goes below the set threshold 

The supply chain management module provides extended functionalities such as product lifecycle management, inventory & warehouse management, and transportation management. 

Let's understand them one by one.

What is Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)?

PLM is a set of processes that help develop new products and launch them in the market. There is no fixed industry standard for PLM, but the five essential PLM stages are mentioned below:

a. Concept & design: The first stage defines why a new product is required. It's based on several factors, including emerging customer needs, unaddressed gaps in the market, and competitor analysis.

b. Develop: In the second stage, a prototype is created that helps analyze the benefits and drawbacks of the product. Moreover, it also allows the management to get vital feedback from other departments, and sometimes from the end-user too.

c. Production & launch: The feedback collected in the second stage helps make the required adjustments to the design. After that, the final product is produced in large quantities and launched in the market. 

d. Service & Support: After the product's successful launch, the company offers service and support to the end-user for an extended period. It helps clear out the rough edges and plays an instrumental role in spreading good word of mouth.

e. Retirement: The final stage of the product lifecycle ensures that the product is withdrawn from the market appropriately. It also deals with the product developers and designers returning to the drawing board to make new additions to the product or brainstorm new ideas.

What is inventory & warehouse management?

Inventory & Warehouse management is real-time management — receiving, storing, and tracking inventory in the warehouse. It also talks about optimizing storage costs and space, handling warehouse staff, and shipping the final product to the end consumer. 

The benefits of the inventory & warehouse management module of ERP software are:

  • Enhance order accuracy by shipping products on time. 
  • Organize your inventory and improve your picking and packing process.
  • Always maintain an adequate amount of stock.
  • Save storage, labor, and fulfillment costs.
  • Restock items and quickly process returns.
  • Forecast inventory demand.
  • Generate easy-to-read inventory reports.

What is transportation management?

The transportation management module of ERP software deals with optimizing, planning, and executing the physical transport of goods from the warehouse to the customer. It also records proper documents and ensures that the system is compliant with government rules and regulations. 

This module helps:

  • Simplify transport of goods across different carriers, geographies, and modes.
  • Ensure fewer delays and faster delivery times by reducing manual steps.
  • Ensure accurate documentation and billing by automating business operations.
  • Minimize shipment delays and penalties by adhering to import and export compliances.
  • Enhance security and visibility in transit.
  • Track insights related to freight, both locally and globally, on a single platform.
  • Minimize costs for the company and the end-user.

2. Customer Relationship Management module

"Customer is the king!". You might have heard/read this quote very often. 

Remember that you cannot survive in the market without the final customer. Therefore, you need to build a vibrant customer base. And for that, you require brainstorming effective customer loyalty strategies that encourage people to keep buying your products or subscribing to your services. 

Here's a vital statistic that will help you understand why repeat customers are crucial to any organization: It's approximately five times more expensive to acquire a customer than retaining an existing one. 

The Customer Relationship Management (CRM) module of the ERP software will allow you to:

  • Obtain and track leads 
  • Send targeted offers based on past purchasing habits
  • Enhance sales
  • Reduce customer attrition
  • Run marketing campaigns and review results through highly interactive reports
  • Monitor customer feedback and reply instantly.
  • Segment customers based on the customer's geography, demography, psychography, and behavioral parameters.

3. e-Commerce module

The e-Commerce industry was already making great strides. But after the pandemic disrupted organizations worldwide, e-Commerce boomed. Today, brick and mortar stores are slowly closing down and online businesses are sprouting. As a result, online sales are increasing at lightning-fast speed. According to Statista, there were 1.92 billion shoppers in 2019. The same report further reveals that retail sales will significantly increase from 14.1% in 2019 to 22% in 2023.

Modern ERP systems have e-Commerce modules that conveniently allow businesses to sell products online on Amazon, eBay, and Flipkart. They can also track customers' payments and orders and monitor the rise and decline in sales over a particular duration.

Moreover, you can sort online inventory and manage online stores using digital tools. Additionally, mobile-enabled ERP systems allow sales reps to collect payments in return for physical products in digital wallets. The best part is that each transaction is uploaded in a central repository that can be accessed by all business departments from anywhere, anytime, and through any device.