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One of the toughest business decisions is whether to keep the cash flowing or to invest in future growth. Though it is often initially painful to invest in future growth to protect a brand and ensure the longevity of a business, it frequently proves to be a worthwhile choice. ERP implementations fall in the “invest in the future” category.

Panorama recently began to work with a client that is a successful, family-owned manufacturing company. They have worked for decades to build their reputation and brand and, as a result, are the gold standard in their industry and the envy of their U.S. contemporaries. Most of the company is comfortable with their place under the sun and there is plenty of money – for now. I like to think of them as a well fed and pampered turkey on the day before Thanksgiving. The last 364 days were bliss; why would tomorrow be any different?

I will bet you a Diet Coke that tomorrow will be different for this company. Domestic businesses must compete with hungry global competitors because, in their line of work, there is lot of intense competition across the pond. In Asia, companies are dying to seize their market share and push those quality American-made goods right off the shelf.  Yes, our client is good at what they do but there is a lot of room for improvement in efficiency and inventory.

Our client is also slugging through a down economy where retail price is very important. At the moment, they are able to charge higher retail prices because of the premium quality of their goods. But the organization, driven by their IT director, was able to see that more effective and efficient business processes coupled with informed actions would enable them to serve their current clients and reach new clients with these quality goods.

After several high pressure sales calls from driven salesmen, the IT director asked Panorama for help. Our Panorama team assisted them in finding the right ERP system and ERP vendor to enable them to go where they want to go. Panorama is also helping them integrate their business processes across departments, work on data consistency and define uniform reporting throughout the company and its supply chain. Management is very excited to create an information flow across the current (and well-guarded) department boundaries and to help leaders at all levels make more informed decisions.

Although there is an opportunity cost to an ERP implementation, especially to a profitable business, it is a prudent investment in the long-term viability of the business, its employees and its customers. The right ERP system gives employees the ability to merge customer insight with a panoramic view of their business. It also enables organizations to turn changes in customer buying patterns into informed production schedules, on-target inventory levels and increased customer satisfaction.

Don’t be a Thanksgiving turkey. Our PERFECT Fit™ software selection methodology can be the first step in turning your ERP investment into a virtuous cycle of sales, operations, delivery and profitability. Our team of ERP experts will help you establish a clear alignment between strategy and execution.  We will help your team translate your ERP investment into profitable growth via integrated financial data, horizontal and vertical reporting, leaner business processes, organizational change management, precise inventory tracking and efficient utilization of assets. Although we often hear, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” I challenge you to say, “Just because it ain’t broke, doesn’t mean we can’t make it better.”

Written by Rich Farrell, Senior Manager of Client Services at Panorama Consulting Solutions.