The current business world has evolved into a customer-driven arena that mainly focuses on supporting managerial practices with top-notch tools. In response to this, software systems such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) have gained much attention, and their markets have been growing over a long time (Samara, 2015). Alongside these developments, some companies have thus opted to use ERP systems, while others have opted for CRM. On the other hand, some have opted for integration of the two to reap the benefits derived from the two systems. However, some have not been able to use either of the systems at all. Bandon Group Inc. lies in the final categories which have not used an ERP or CRM system. However, based on their situation, they need to understand whether it’s best to use an ERP system, a CRM system, or a combination of both. Thus, the main efforts done in this paper is in understanding the needs of the company, analyzing the systems, and deciding which system best applies to Bandon Group Inc.
Enterprise Resource Planning
Enterprise Resource Planning systems have been used over a long period by many businesses and have proven to be extremely beneficial to the overall organizational productivity. While large companies exclusively used them, their application has found their way even to the startup companies that wish to ease managerial functions, improve customer experience, and streamline business processes (Ladley, 2010). After reviewing the Brandon company details and analyzing the interviews with various key managerial figures from different autonomous divisions, it’s clear that the company requires an Enterprise Resource Planning system solution. The report is intended to provide a detailed insight into how Bandon Group Inc. can use ERP solutions in the management of its business processes to improve its revenue and profitability. Further, as Valverde and Talla (2012) inform, it also delves deeper into details of how ERP systems operate and how the system can be implemented for the whole organization to help meet the different needs for the four divisions. Importantly, through automation capabilities and data management, we are going to see how Bandon Group Inc. is going to benefit from ERP systems in terms of making, better, accurate, and well-informed decisions.
The Driving Force behind Enterprise Resource Planning
ERP systems within a business organization have two major driving forces: first, when applied in a business setting, ERP systems guarantees customer satisfaction leading to developments in business such as new products, new services, and venture into new areas. Further, it also allows the business to come face to face with competition for implementing ERP systems. By doing this, the company focuses on efficiency in all processes pushing it to top gear. The second driving force is from an IT perspective.
The truth about most software is that they don’t fully meet the business needs and that a legacy system that a company like the Bandon Group Inc. is using is hard to maintain as already proven in all the four divisions. Additionally, outdated software and hardware are equally hard to maintain. For these critical and sensitive reasons, ERP is very important for business management. The Enterprise Resource Planning system is a single software that tackles business problems such as customer service, inventory problems, finance management, material shortages, and quality issues simultaneously. An ERP system is an ideal solution for Bandon Group Inc. and all managers across all the four divisions
Why Bandon Group Inc. Needs an ERP System
Of all the software systems that Bandon Group Inc. can deploy, an Enterprise Resource Planning system has the highest potential to impact the company directly and effectively and ensure costs are reduced. According to Hendricks, Singhal, and Stratman (2011), the driving forces for many businesses to adopt ERP systems is the reduction of cost and improvement of operating margins. The second factor that is often cited is the improvement of the quality of customer service. As witnessed in the Bandon Group, most of the division managers want to minimize the operational costs and raise their profit margins. Similarly, the company owners equally want the same for all the four divisions.
According to Shatat and Udin (2015), containing o costs for most businesses gives them a competitive advantage since they increase their level of revenue and profitability levels. Thus, a business that can construct and implement an ERP system can significantly reduce its costs, increase overall organizational productivity, and improve its operations. However, considering the complex nature of Bandon Group Inc., there is the need to standardize all the processes across all the four divisions to ensure that there is a successful and seamless implementation of the ERP Solution. By doing this, it lays a foundation for attaining improved efficiency for each of the four divisions. Further, implementing an ERP solution effectively optimizes the use of human resources and capital equipment. In turn, this leads to an increase in the level of importance of the capabilities offered by ERP systems such as scheduling and resource planning.
Currently, many different business sectors have been able to establish a higher growth rate with the help of ERP systems. Conversely, businesses that have not implemented an ERP system have a higher prevalence of suffering the consequences of the disconnection between their legacy systems and their continued desire to compete effectively and favorably within a highly competitive and increasingly global environment. ERP systems offer great insights into how businesses such as Bandon Group Inc. can become more efficient in their daily corporate operations.
However, until now, Bandon Group Inc. has continued to struggle to put in place all their corporate data that they need to successfully transition to a better and advanced system compared to their legacy OMD system and other inadequate support tools. The tools used by Bandon Group Inc. lack the breadth, horsepower, and necessary integration to offer the four division managers the insights they require to transform the company fully. Without an ERP system in place, Bandon Group Inc. has found itself struggling to grow and compete favorably using the current applications they have in place since their functionality are obsolete, deficient, and isolated from other data and applications. That is the reason why the four divisions find it difficult to migrate or integrate their OMD system with other systems.
The shortcomings of Bandon Group current system are manifesting themselves in various ways that adversely affect the way the company operates. These include inaccurate or inconsistent forecast which can wreak havoc to the inventory levels. Further, the company’s insight into innovative designs is always clouded hindering the company from utilizing its optimal capacity. Additionally, tracking of orders from the moment they are accepted to the point they are fulfilled is cumbersome or to some point becomes impossible. Another important shortcoming that Bandon Group Inc. currently experiences is an obscured revenue cycle. Besides, the current capacity of the organization is overstrained or underutilized. Finally, there are higher chances of experiencing cost overruns and missed deadlines which are not good for the company in terms of customer relations.
While Bandon Group Inc. might think that they are too late to reap the benefits of an enterprise resource planning system, there are still many benefits that they can leverage. The ERP offers new approaches to system architecture structuring which has simplified the process of implementation and use. Further, there are a plethora of providers who offer powerful solutions at affordable rates and offer low maintenance costs.
Quantifiable Benefits of Using ERP System
According to O’Leary (2005), surveyed manufacturers indicate that the impact of using ERP systems in their organizational performance point out that neither the industry nor the size of the company affects the results obtained from implementing the system. These benefits have been recorded whether the firm is big or small which explains why small and medium-sized companies are continually adopting ERP systems. Here, the quantifiable benefits of using an ERP system are unveiled in terms of areas where the Bandon Group Inc. can benefit as well.
As previously mentioned, the most significant benefits revolve around reduction of costs such as material costs, inventory costs, labor costs, and overhead costs. Another vital area that ERP systems improve is the level and quality of customer service and sales. Further, as Papajorgji, Pinet, and Guimaraes (2016) indicate, improved scheduling and planning practices are typical in leading inventory reduction by about 20 percent or more. As a result, ERP systems provide not only a reduction in assets time, but also provides the company an opportunity to have an ongoing inventory carrying cost saving. This cost includes not only interest but is inclusive of obsolescence, warehouse, handling, taxes, damage, shrinkage, and insurance.
The reason why ERP systems result in lower inventories is mainly that manufacturers usually buy and make whatever is necessary. Instead of complying to demand insensitive orders, deliveries are coordinated based on actual need dates as well as those that involve unwanted materials are cancelled or postponed. By using bills available in ERP systems, matched sets are obtained instead of too much or too less or one component at the expense of another. Further, with planned changes, the ERP system helps to avoid a buildup of obsolete materials.
Another notable benefit is material cost reduction. ERP systems facilitate improved procurement practices which thus translate into better price negotiations with vendors. Often, these results in cost reduction by about 5 percent or even more. With valid schedules, it becomes easier for the procurement department to focus on cost negotiation and to improve the quality of materials rather than focusing on getting materials at premium prices or expediting shortages (Valverde & Talla, 2012). As the two indicate, an enterprise resource planning system provides information that relates to the negotiations such as vendor performance statistics and projected material requirements. By giving the vendors visible future requirements, it becomes easier to gain access to lower material costs.
Turban, Leidner, McLean, and Wetherbe (2008) provide another important benefit as labor cost reduction. Mainly, integrating ERP systems improves production practices. As a result, the company is bound to experience fewer interruptions and shortages, and less overtime and rework. Typically, labor savings attributed to successful ERP systems leads to a 10 percent reduction in both direct and indirect costs of labor. With minimal parts shortages and rush jobs, minimal time is required for material handling, disruption, extra setups, expediting, and tracking of jobs or split lots which are set aside. According to Valverde and Talla (2012), production supervisors are given a better view of the work required, and thus, are able to adjust loads or capacity to meet schedules. Further, they are left with more time to manage, direct, and train people. Similarly, production people are left with more time to develop better methods that can improve throughput and quality.
Papajorgji, Pinet, and Guimaraes (2016) provide another important benefit which entails improved customer service and sales. In this context, they indicate that there exists improved coordination between productions leads and sales which in turn results in better customer services and increased number of sales. Further, ERP systems offer an improved mechanism for managing customer contacts which in turn leads to better making and meeting of the promises made on delivery. Another benefit connected to customer services and sales is the shorter order to ship lead time which results in higher customer satisfaction and a very beneficial trend: repeat customers and orders. With the implementation of an ERP system by Bandon Group Inc., Salespeople from all the four divisions can focus on selling their products rather than apologizing and verifying late deliveries. In customized product environments, it also becomes easier to perform configurations by sales personnel rather than waiting upon the technical team. Combining all these improvements in customer service delivery is bound to lead to fewer sales loss and increased number of sales. According to Shatat and Udin (2015), this often accounts for about 10 percent increase in sales or more. Further, Shatat and Udin indicate that ERP systems also offers the company the ability to effectively react to varying demand as well as in diagnosis of delivery problems. Therefore, they aid in making prompt corrective action such as in determination of shipment priorities and making prompt notifications to customers regarding changes on delivery dates.
The ERP system is also known to improve a company’s accounting control. As Ladley (2010) informs, when a company improves its collection procedures, it gains the ability to reduce the number of days needed for outstanding receivables increasing the opportunity for additional available cash. The improvements in the accounting control range from fast and accurate creation of invoices right from the shipment transactions, to timely provision of customer statements, to following through with accounts that are deemed to be delinquent. Further, the number of accounts problems is reduced by the improved ability to handle customer inquiries and credit checking when making order entries. Improved receivable practices and credit management mainly reduce the number of outstanding receivables by an average of 18 percent or more for most companies (Shatat & Udin, 2015). Further, Shatat and Udin indicate that it is also possible to maximize trade credit by harnessing the advantage of cash planning, supplier discounts, and paying only for the invoices that match their receipts. The advantage of doing this is that it minimizes the requirement for cash-on-hand.
ADVANTAGE OF ERP
Valverde ad Talla (2012) indicate that there a plethora of powerful advantages attributed to Enterprise Resource Planning. Over the years, ERP systems have been used in solving many corporate problems that had plagued organizations over a long period. However, that does not imply that they are not affiliated with some disadvantages. By weighing among the two, Bandon Group Inc. will be able to determine what best serves the company’s current needs. As noted with Bandon Group Inc., companies that do not utilize the services of ERP systems but instead use different software packages are subject to incompatibility and problems on integration with future systems. In the long run, such incidences may render the company less effective or even compromise the whole organizational processes.
A company may need to integrate a number of processes to ensure a seamless flow of operations. One of these vital processes is known as design engineering. As Turban, Leidner, McLean, and Wetherbe (2008) indicate, this process is the creation stage which very vital since it determines how the end product should be. Enterprise Resource Planning system can be crucial in this process since it helps a business determine the best design process. ERP systems are also fundamental in order tracking. For example, when one of the four divisions receives an order for a certain product, tracking the product in an efficient way as offered by an ERP system allows that division to acquire detailed information regarding their customer as well as the marketing strategies. However, in the event that different software packages are applied as is the case with the four Brandon Group Inc. divisions, this data can be inconsistent as already experienced.
One of the most important advantage attached to the use of ERP is mainly its application in accounting. An ERP system is able to integrate profit, cost, and revenue information on all sales that a company makes (Moon, 2007). Further, that information can be presented in a granular way that is very important for the company analysis and future projection. As Moon says, ERP systems can be used to alter the way a product is manufactured. With an ERP system, a company can set a dating structure to allow alerts on when products should be updated. It’s an important feature since it allows the company to have a good track record of all their products and allowing the company to produce high quality products. ERP also serves an indispensable role in the area of security. The system can be used to protect a company from crimes such as industrial espionage and embezzlement of funds.
However, besides the many advantages arraigned here, there are some disadvantages attributed to ERP systems. Like many other technologies, the commonest and biggest disadvantage of is the cost. This explains why most of the companies that have managed to incorporate a full-fledged ERP systems due to the costs. According to Shatat and Udin (2015), a study on the adoption of ERP systems indicates that the biggest challenge that many companies face as they seek to implement an ERP system is the kind of investment the system requires. Installing the system requires a huge amount that may range from $50,000 to $200,000 or even more based on the ERP system being installed. Further, employees have to be trained on a regular basis on how to use the system. Further, the security that is required for ensuring that the company upholds data integrity is as well expensive. On the same, there are regular updates on the system that often require to be financed.
Customer Relationship Management
Chittaie (2012) indicates that Customer Relationship Management (CRM) entails creating a competitive advantage through perfection of customer relations through communication, being understanding, and building upon the existing relationships. Additionally, it entails making and retaining new customers. Similarly, Zamil (2011) concurs with Chittaie by indicating that CRM describes the way business interacts with customers. Further, Zamil indicates that people tend to think of CRM as entirely based on capturing information about customers. In the contrary, that is just a tip of the iceberg. It also entails the use of technology to collect pertinent data regarding a company to allow the business to improve its services and support systems. Basically, Zamil is convinced that CRM entails what a business decides to do with the information gathered on customers to aid in meeting the needs of the current and new customers which often translates into higher profits.
Benefits of CRM
Customer Relationship Management offers a plethora of benefits to a business. Some of the most notable benefits include the following:
Over Time, Customers Become Profitable
According to Buttle (2015), a US-based Bain and Company performed studies that revealed that customers tend to become profitable as time goes by since the cost of acquiring one tends to be higher and often exceeds the gross margin. However, the retention cost becomes lower with time. Mainly, when a company is able to retain its customer, it’s able to share a huge part of their wallet. As Buttle (2015) says, the profit acquired from an existing customer is higher and a 1 percent sales increase in sales to such a customer would translate to about 17 percent profit increase while the same sales increase to a new customer would only translate to about 3 percent profit increase. The disparity between the two profit margins is attributed to the high cost of acquiring new customers as opposed to the retention costs. In fact, as Buttle reveals, it costs about five to eight times more when selling to a new customer compared to when a company is selling to a new one. The study also revealed that it’s possible to boost a company’s profit by up to 85 percent when it’s able to increase the number of retained customer by only 5 percent.
Marketing Benefits of CRM
A major advantage with using CRM solutions is that with time, a business stops relying on periodic surveys to collect important data on customers (Schubert & Williams, 2010). The reason behind this is that CRM collects data on the consumption behavior of customers on a continuous basis. In most cases, all the transaction data captured automatically and can be used to perform analytics. Further, with such a rich repository of information concerning customers, a business is able to track the purchase behavior and also helps the business to develop specific customer-centric products.
Additionally, CRM solutions also allows the business to perform customized propositions as they have the knowledge of what customers prefer based on their purchase patterns. As such, a CRM helps to minimize on unproductive mass communication and instead focuses on targeted advertising and mass communication that would benefit a company’s sales (Venturini & Benito, 2015). The rationale behind this is that a customized promotion offers a deeper insights to the current customer pool and even offers an opportunity to increase the customer base.
Besides the benefits previously outlined above, CRM has many other tangible benefits to an organization when incorporated within an organization. According to Dhaka and Nahar (2014), a CRM system increases the time spent by salespersons thus increasing the opportunities for achieving greater number of customer interactions. This also creates a higher level of customer satisfaction. Further, using CRM increases the customer prospects that organizations salespersons pursue. In most cases, sales representatives tend to pursue customers they had already had a relationship with. However, gaining new customers is important in spearheading company’s future growth (Chittaie, 2012). With a CRM, it becomes easier to track the number of relations that sales personnel have with existing and new customers and thus acts as a motivation for sales persons to increase their search for new prospects.
Further, with firsthand information on how salespersons interact with customers, sales manager also increase the number of hours spent working with these personnel. As Chittaie (2012) indicates, coaching of salespersons is fundamental to the sales growth. In many cases, sales managers may seem not to have time for this. However, with tangible information about how each salesperson is performing in gaining new prospects and retaining existing ones can serve as a point where sales managers can gain insight to spend more time coaching these people. Moreover, with a CRM system, the customer service becomes more efficient. As Pedron and Sacco (2009) indicates, customer service delivery is a differentiator between successful companies and those that lag behind in the business.
Commercially Available Enterprise Systems Software
The current situation of Bandon Group Inc. requires a combined integration of ERP and CRM systems. Having that in mind, three suppliers of these systems were selected mainly based on their ability to provide both ERP and CRM systems. These companies include Microsoft, SAP, and Oracle. The details of each of the suppliers are provided below:
Microsoft offers a variety of ERP systems such as Dynamics Navision, Dynamics 365, Dynamics C5, and Dynamics AX. However, the most appropriate ERP system based on Bandon Group Inc. needs is Microsoft Dynamics Navision. Dynamics Navision is a multilingual and multi-currency ERP system that was designed with the aim of providing business management solutions to any kind of company (Microsoft, 2016). The software is designed to start with the current needs of the company and helps the company grow based on the business needs. The company offers different packages solely through their Microsoft Dynamics Certified Partners (Microsoft, 2016). These partners are responsible for helping a company with the planning, implementation of the ERP system, customization, and offering support services to optimize the business solution.
The Dynamics Navision package is offered either as a starter pack or an extended pack. The starter pack is designed for both small and medium-sized companies and is able to get a company up and going in a fast way. Some of the key features that the starter pack offers include finances, distribution, and other professional services (Microsoft, 2016). Additionally, the starter pack also offers three Full User Licenses under a single price. The licenses makes it perfect for the Brandon Group Inc. as it would only need to subscribe to two packages. The starter pack was designed with the intention of increasing company control over its finances. Further, it also allows a business to purchase and sell materials and items. The package also takes care of employee management and payments. It also manages all the billables generated by a business consultants. Additionally, the pack also includes a CRM system that manages relationships with customers and suppliers thus offering high quality of support services. What this implies is that when Bandon Group Inc. opts for the Microsoft Dynamics Navision starter or extended pack, they wouldn’t need to have a CRM system in place.
The extended pack is designed as an advanced pack that is suited for businesses that are in need of more advanced functionalities. Besides the core functionalities offered in the starter pack, the extended pack allows its customers to integrate other key extensions such as warehousing which is ideal for offering support services in warehouse operations. Second, it offers manufacturing control and support within a manufacturing environment (Microsoft, 2016). When a business upgrades to the extended pack, the three licenses also gets to benefit from these incremental functionalities.
SAP Enterprise System
SAP has been in the market and has offered enterprise system solutions for more than four decades. The company has been offering different solutions such as SAP ERP, SAP Business One, SAP S/4 HANA, SAP R3, SAP Anywhere, SAP CRM, and SAP Business ByDesign among others. However, among these systems, our core interest is channeled to SAP Business ByDesign. The Business ByDesign software is a cloud-based system that gives businesses fast-growing experiences by offering them a platform through which they can translate their potential into results. The system connects all the functions within a business to in-depth analytics and time-tested best practices. As such, it builds the foundation for a company to scale in growth as well as to compete without cost and complexity, allowing the business to grow in a favorable way (SAP.com, 2018).
Further, as revealed from SAP.com solution brief, the Business ByDesign solution delivers integrated solutions such as finances which allows a company to have a full breast overview of the financial status. The finance module also allows the business to streamline the core accounting processes through better cash and liquidity management. Another integrated module in the Business ByDesign solution is the Customer Relations Management module which allows a business to manage the marketing sales and service processes in a professional and expert way.
Additionally, it also facilitates customer engagement through the back-office and front-office processes. Moreover, Business ByDesign package conducts human resource management through by streamlining the core HR processes such recruitment, organization management, time and attendance management, as well as employee self-service (Rouse, 2014). Through the procurement module, a business can manage all contracts and outsourcing processes inclusive of supplier base management, RFQ processing, strategic sourcing, and empowerment of employees through self-service procurement capabilities.
Other key areas include supply chain management where the system allows a business to have both internal and external supply models integrated into the value chain allowing transparency. Project management that involves organizing both simple and complex projects across different functional areas giving room for organizational employees and teams to manage and deliver projects in real time (Rouse, 2014). Finally, localization which the business can be able to extend to over 100 countries and yet be supported through translation tools that SAP has developed to ensure great performance based on local practices. Further, the Business ByDesign is agile to adapt to any languages, currencies, and tax requirements in these countries.
Business ByDesign also delivers a solution that is natively mobile and cloud-based and offers an approach to business processes just the way employees feel best when working. All the solutions from the web-based system are responsive offering an easy-to-use experience as well as adapting to the needs of an organizational employees and its customers. Further, SAP also offers targeted apps which they have specifically designed to meet specific tasks such as project management, expense reporting, and analytics (SAP.com, 2018).
The Business ByDesign also ensures a clear understanding of what the business is paying. Mainly, it allows a business to track down the costs over the duration the business is in contract with another, a supplier, or with a customer. As such, it allows the business to have a consistent and appropriate budget for all its operations. Moreover, Business ByDesign also provide analytics for every process within its reach (SAP.com, 2018). With such data spanning every business process, it becomes easier to share and see view other data across different departments and functions allowing for accuracy and timely data acquisition for teams to complete their tasks or to make fully-informed decisions.
With clear metrics, a business is also able to focus on issues that require immediate attention. Another important aspect is that Business ByDesign also features inbuilt KPIs, about 500 standard reports, and Excel integration allowing transparency across the whole organization. Further, teams have the necessary tools they require to perform any task.
The SAP Business ByDesign system is priced based on a subscription basis and varies depending on the number of users (Rouse, 2014). The Bandon Group Inc. has more than 10 employees which therefore implies that the company can only opt for the enterprise use package which charges a $152 per user every month. As Rouse (2014) informs, the enterprise subscription is all inclusive with services such as self-service tasks, CRM, HR, project management, product lifecycle management, financials, supplier relationship management, built-in analytics, and management support.
Oracle ERP Enterprise System
Oracle is hailed as one of the leading enterprise software companies across the globe. The company has been able to develop their own systems as well as acquire more systems from different companies (Oracle America Inc., 2018). Oracle has been able to develop a variety of complicated and yet easy-to-use business software application with the intention of complementing its tradition of developing infrastructure and database systems. Currently, Oracle is proud of more than 65,000 customers showing how the company is trusted by different users across the globe. Their solutions are meant to serve any kind of business. Mainly, they deal with application that serve the following core areas, enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, financial management, supply chain management, financial management, transportation management, and human capital management (Rouse & Serkin, Oracle E-Business Suite, 2016).
Similar to SAP and Microsoft, the company offers a variety of enterprise software products. In the line of ERP, the company offers Oracle Fusion Applications, PeopleSoft Enterprise, Oracle E-Business Suite, and JD Edwards Enterprise. In the line of CRM, it offers Oracle Siebel CRM. Mainly, the product of interest among these enterprise solutions is the Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS). The Oracle EBS is an Internet-based product that is managed from a single place. Mainly, the EBS suite is ideal for the four Bandon Group Inc. divisions as it provides room for autonomy as it has always been the case. Mainly, each of these divisions has the liberty to operate a single database.
Oracle EBS is inclusive of three key applications which are ERP, CRM, and supply chain management (SCM). The important part is that each of these suites is licenses differently thus allowing a company to opt to use their applications based on the company’s needs. The applications that are included in the Oracle E-Business suite include Oracle Financials, Oracle, CRM, Oracle Logistics, Oracle Order management, Oracle HRMS, Oracle Warehouse Management System, and Oracle Transportation management
The Oracle Financials application is inclusive of the following functionalities: cash management, general ledger, fixed assets payables, treasury, receivables, a self-service expenses function, and a financial analyzer (ISACA, 2017). The second application within this ERP system is the Oracle CRM which is designed to provide front-office functionalities that can assist a business to increase the number of customers, their level of satisfaction, and customer loyalty. As Rouse and Serkin (2016) informs, the application’s main functionalities include order capture, marketing, field service, contracts, and call center functionalities. Moreover, the CRM application is inclusive of internet-focused products such as content management, catalogs, order and quote management.
Oracle HRMS is designed to help a company with the core human resource management processes from the recruitment to the retirement stage. The application gives the HR department a full overview of every HR activity right from the recruitment, training, time management, payroll, compensation, and benefits among others. The HRMS application provides the HR department with the analytics they need to ensure all human resource are effectively managed within a business. On the other hand, the supply chain application is designed to power all supply chain operations (ISACA, 2017). These include the ability to be innovative when the market conditions are volatile, predicting market requirements, and aligning supply chain operations across the global network.
Oracle designed the logistics application to help businesses to manage, plan, and control how their products and services flows in and out of the business and how they are stored. Further, this module is important in planning for the future demands of the business as well as ensuring that stock does not expire while in warehouse. As Rouse and Serkin (2016) says, an important aspect of the module is that it creates detailed production schedules as well as material plans which are vital for the business. Besides the Logistics application, Oracle also provides the Order management application which is essential in streamlining and automating the process of sales order management (Rouse & Serkin, Oracle E-Business Suite, 2016). That ranges from the point the order is promised, to the point the order is captured, to shipment.
The transport management module plays a fundamental role in the provision of transportation planning as well as expediting duties to shippers. Transportation Management. The transportation management module integrates and ensures a streamlined operation and execution of all transportation issues including the freight payment. Another important module of the Oracle EBS is the warehouse management system that is used for coordination of goods and information movement across all distribution processes.
The Integration Challenge
In most cases, the CRM and ERP systems tend to remain in a silo due to their contrasting software architecture which makes them quite difficult for integration. In some cases, those who try to make this integration creating a seamless connectivity have to opt for the point-to-point customized integrations (Hvolby & Trienekens, 2010). However, the method is often expensive, fragile, and difficult to maintain. Additionally, the point-to-point connections requires that the developer keep implementing changes and maintaining the connectivity. Moreover, these changes done by the developer have to impact the whole system which leaves many loopholes or room for errors (Wang, Li, Wang, & Jones, 2012). The worst part of this integration is that it only offers a temporary solution that tends to become very complicated as the business grows.
Another approach used in the integration process is referred to as “Swivel Chair” data entry. The swivel chair approach requires that all the data from the legacy system be manually keyed into the ERP systems and the CRM system. As Wang, Li, Wang, and Jones (2012) say, by conducting such a procedure, the systems are subjected to higher risks of errors and at the same time consumes a lot of human resources and time. While there are some data loaders designed to simplify this process such as Dataloader.io developed by Salesforce.com, the data loader can only work with the system for that specific vendor. Else, a different solution has to be employed.
Having a CRM and ERP system that does not communicate seamlessly becomes a big challenge for the business as they cannot manage to track all customer interactions or even obtain the necessary information from a single interface (Hvolby & Trienekens, 2010). Without an integrated ERP and CRM system, sales representatives and company employees have to keep jumping from one application to the other to have a better view of customer. The process is slow and thus slows down sales processes. Lack of integration or a poor integration results in an inefficient workspace (Valverde & Talla, 2012). As such, a company like Brandon Group Inc. requires a robust ERP and CRM integration that would ensure all the business processes are seamlessly streamlined.
Recommended ERP/CRM Software Vendor
While the vendors selected provides separate ERP and CRM enterprise solutions, they have also made the effort to eliminate the challenges that many businesses face when trying to integrate ERP and CRM systems (Lenart, 2011). Therefore, they have integrated their ERP systems with a CRM system to ensure that the business reaps all the benefits attributed to an Enterprise Resource Planning system as well as the benefits attributed to a Customer Relationship Management system (Lenart, 2011). Further, the integrated systems eliminates many challenges attributed to maintaining the two systems or integrating them together. Moreover, the cost of acquiring the two systems separately is also greatly reduced as the two are brought as a single package.
Based on the three recommended vendors, SAP stands out as the best vendor based on their performance and acceptance within the market, the capabilities that their SAP Business ByDesign ERP system offers, and their pricing as well. Brandon Group Inc. wants a solution that would match the needs of the four Divisions as well as being able to boost their growth. As a mid-market company, the SAP Business ByDesign serves as an ideal solution since it supports human resource, financials, sales, customer services, procurement, and supply chain management among other key company processes. Simply, SAP has the best solution for Bandon Group since the solution is also Cloud-based allowing Bandon Group Inc. Simply put, it’s best for Brandon as it will also allow the company to optimize all its operations and grow profitably. Further, the solution is also optimized or the future and also allows the business to grow extensively, incorporating the ability to accommodate different currencies and rates which is ideal for operating in different locations and countries in a seamless manner.
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