Automating and Improving Business Processes with ERP Software
Project Name: ERP implementation project for “the Xxxx(name withheld for confidentiality) group” of 4 affiliated, closely situated companies with diverse strategic business units and over 150 employees.
Client: Group of 4 companies
Project Commencement Date: April 23, 2019
Project Completion Date: May 3, 2019
Project URL: Project URL
A crucial part of financial planning for every modern business is automation of business processes through the use of business software.
Most business software are intuitive, while many of them are designed and continuously updated on the basis of use/ feedback of finance professionals all over the world, enabling the software solutions provide standard, best practice and controlled environment for the financial activities of the business.
In other words, automating the business through a business software, helps the business owner follow best practices in managing the financial transactions of the business.
Sadly, in the process of choosing effective software solution(s) for the business, 100% of software vendors and their business partners/ consultants will sell their software because they have a sales target, rather than the perfect solution the business uniquely needs.
In recognition of this challenge, and having purchased an ERP system in this manner that did not work, our client, in its desire to get it right with business process automation, engaged us to properly evaluate its business automation needs and recommend the most suitable ERP software.
1. 4 companies under the same management team and one finance team. They operate in 4 buildings located in the same vicinity. They have diverse strategic business units/operations as follows:
A. Company One: Supermarket, bakery, meat shop, fast food and Farm shop
B. Company Two: Short let /hotel style apartments, office short let, residential short let, Gym and spa.
C. Company Three: Restaurant, bar, lounge, office workstations, ice cream, chops and cakes area, children’s play station/ area and edibles for children, grill, sports betting and car wash outfits.
D. Company Four: Pharmaceutical outfit
2. Client’s Requirements:
The Group was desirous of implementing a seamless Point of Sale (POS) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, to cater for the diverse business operations, under the centralised supervision of one management team, and one finance function.
Our execution strategies were developed to ensure that the ERP would be able to cater for the following:
· Point of Sale functionality and integration with all POS hardware, and very importantly, bank POS machine (checkout amounts should automatically feed into the bank POS machine for customer to swipe card).
· ERP/POS should integrate seamlessly with e-commerce platform for taking orders online.
· Food production/ recipes/ bill of materials for the restaurant,
· Hotel/ lodge operations
· Inventory management,
· Fixed assets management & depreciation,
· HR/ Payroll,
· Double entry system,
· Adaptable chart of accounts for all the 4 business types,
· Combined / interwoven supervisory roles over the 4 companies,
· HR & Payroll,
· CRM (e-commerce functional CRM as companies should be able to take orders online)
· Customer management, normal invoicing (not POS), receipts, returns etc, and all other customer documents
· Accounts payable and receivables
· Suppliers and vendors management
· Stores/ warehousing and movement of inventory
· User rights/ permissions
· Intelligence reporting functionalities to allow for flexible reporting requirements
· Robust reporting functionalities
· Cash flow statement
· Balance sheet
· Trial balance
· Journal entry functionality
· Consolidation of companies
The ERP should also cater to users as follows:
A. 18 POS workstations (sales figures at checkout point should automatically feed into the bank POS machine for customer to swipe card. Amount to be paid should NOT be inputted manually in the bank POS machine by cashiers). There would also be supervisor user rights for the POS clusters- about 8 supervisor rights.
B. 12 windows POS tabs (for waiters to take orders. These would be linked to the kitchen POS workstations
C. 7 to 10 accounting/ backend users (this includes procurement/ inventory, HR/ Payroll, CFO, General manager and other accountants.)
D. Payroll & HR should cater for 100 employees.
Network adaptation should be:
· Fully cloud/ internet-based ERP/ POS system- most preferable.
· Alternative to full cloud solution would be a hybrid solution that would work both on the internet and offline.
Implementation strategy was as follows:
Implementation of the solution and training of all users should not exceed 3 weeks. This was very important, as time has been greatly lost in implementing an initial ERP solution that did not work.
Because the company was willing to start business with the already implemented front-end POS alone (which was not working), implementation of a new ERP/ POS system should be a plug and play (over a few hours) activity. There should be a parallel run, and full switch to the new system, that was seamless.
We engaged a local software developer/ vendor whose solution came highly recommended. Unfortunately, we feel the software developer only wanted to sell his software to us, even when he knew it was not suitable for our business operations and model. We spent endless months in trial and error implementation until the Vi-M team offered to project manage the process for us.
Vi-M took off the stress of identifying the suitable software and also went further in choosing the best IT persons to perform a seamless implementation of the new ERP/ POS systems.
The first year cost of the chosen software is a bit more expensive (although annual renewal costs are very okay) than the local solution we purchased initially, but has resolved all the hitches we have had on the project.
Our staff/ users of the software have also acclimatised to it and are using it seamlessly.
It was hard for us to buy into this service proposal by Vi-M, since having an ERP consultant/ project manager has not been a common practice, particularly as we had to pay additionally for the service. But after seeing the benefits of Vi-M’s unbiased intervention, I would highly recommend this service/ approach for any serious business man or woman in Nigeria.