Competitive advantage is the ability to produce goods or services at a price point and quality level that your rivals cannot match. In the race to win customers, improve margins and boost your bottom line, only the most innovative and creative companies can secure competitive advantage. 

If you haven’t yet achieved this aim, your legacy systems could be holding you back. You may want to consider implementing modern ERP software that can help your organization outperform both its “stone age” competitors and its digitally innovative competitors.

Today, we’re sharing the link between ERP and competitive advantage.

How ERP can Help You Gain Competitive Advantage

1. Real-Time Data

Formerly, companies could depend on their own ingenuity to propel them ahead of the competition. Now, data is the superpower everyone wants.

If you can learn what your customer cares about, where their pain points lie, and how they want to interact with your brand, you can use these insights to unlock stores of potential.

For example, you can react more quickly to support requests. Additionally, your manufacturing becomes more streamlined and effective. Finally, your marketing is more personalized and on-point.

A modern ERP system gives you real-time access to customer data. While your competitors from the stone age are relying on manual data extraction, you can access data at the speed of business.

Thanks to advanced monitoring and protection measures, you can also store data more securely than you’d be able to in legacy systems.

The 2024 Top 10 ERP Systems Report

What vendors are considering for your ERP implementation? This list is a helpful starting point.

2. Optimized Business Processes

The term “best practices” can be misleading. Yes, at one time they were the best practices available. However, business moves at a lightning-quick pace, and if you’re holding onto workflows that served you 10 years ago, you’ll lose out to competitors that have a continuous improvement culture

If you want to stand out from the crowd, you can’t use exactly the same business processes as most companies in your niche. 

Instead, you should consider business process reengineering (BPR). This is the practice of evaluating your existing processes and redesigning them where it makes sense.

We recommend BPR to anyone pursuing digital business transformation. For everyone else, we recommend business process management, which is more focused on improvements than full redesigns. It’s the ideal approach for organizations planning to undergo an ERP implementation.

Regardless of your type of project, process work can help you reach your business goals, break down operational silos, and build long-term customer value. 

3. Agility and Change Readiness

ERP systems do more than help companies automate and simplify administrative tasks. They also help improve operational agility, so you can turn on a dime and respond to industry trends and customer needs. 

At their core, ERP solutions are designed to help organizations usher in an era of change and continuous improvement.

How so? Well, when new technologies come to market, it’s easier to adopt them if you already have an ERP system in place. Likewise, deployments and upgrades are equally accelerated. 

This is made possible due to the ERP real-time data visibility that enterprise software provides. Not only can teams quickly adopt new best practices, but they can lay the groundwork for future scaling and growth. 

4. Eliminate Organizational Siloes

Companies that prioritize customer service enjoy revenues that are 4% to 5% times higher than the market average. When you can offer prompt and effective support, you improve the customer experience tenfold and encourage customer retention. 

Yet, it’s impossible to offer this level of service if your support agents work in a silo. Unless they’re communicating seamlessly with your sales and project teams, they are bound to encounter bottlenecks that could impede their efforts.

By centralizing all your core business functions onto one platform, ERP eliminates this risk and helps facilitate collaboration, even across office locations and disparate teams. This level of cohesion is an instant competitive advantage, as it allows you to anticipate and respond to customer needs quicker than others in your space. 

5. Change-Ready Workforce

The most elaborate, expensive technologies could fail to deliver the benefits you expect if your employees aren’t on board with using them. While so many companies are eager to adopt the latest and greatest technology, their efforts and investments often fall short due to unwilling or uninformed team members.

This is where change management comes in. Organizational change management is the process of helping employees transition to new ways of working. 

If you can establish a change management plan alongside your ERP implementation, you’ll have a foundation in place that can help employees embrace both the current change, as well as any changes you pursue down the road. 

This puts you ahead of others in your industry who might be eyeing the same systems but lack the expertise required to fully support the “human side” of the project. In other words, they lack organizational change capability.

ERP and Competitive Advantage: Bringing Them Together

A willingness to move beyond the status quo can help your company soar to new heights. If you’ve been stagnant and looking for a way to break through, then an ERP system could be the answer.

Ultimately, the link between ERP and competitive advantage comes down to data and flexibility. Change is happening rapidly, all around us. Requiring your workforce to use unyielding, monolithic software slows you down, frustrates employees, and leads to missed opportunities.

Enterprise software puts the power back in your hands. With the right tools in place, you can monitor and react to industry disruption in real-time, so you never get left behind. 

If you’re considering digital transformation, our team of ERP consultants can help you navigate each step. Contact us below for a free consultation and discover the opportunities that await. 

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