- How ERP Workflow works?
- ERP Workflow Process – advantages of ERP Workflow.
- ERP Workflow Management – Benefits of ERP workflow
How ERP Workflow works?
One of our customers recently asked us a question during our presales activities, “How can I inform my Stores person on what he has to do today? What Invoices, he should be packing and shipping? I can’t send an email every time or call him what to do. Can you do a ERP Workflow process and handle this communication problem?”.
This question put us into thinking how can we help? Can we build a workflow Engine in our ERP?
What is ERP System or ERP Software?
Meaning of ERP is a short name for Enterprise Resource Planning. Means, we are integrating the business functionalities across the enterprise into one.
There are many ERPs in the market from standalone application to Cloud ERP Software like ACTouch.com. Some of them are good in one business vertical, while the other in another vertical. So its difficult to predict that one ERP fits all the business needs.
Traditional ERP does the following for SMEs.
1. They are Data and transaction centric and not a Process centric like define masters and setups and use them for the transactions. Some are working as a pseudo process, but doesn’t give a full flexibility.
2. Do the transactions and store the data and related information in database.
3. Based on these data and someone has to act. It ensures that right data is available for the right people to act and work on it.
4. All these data are stored and generated in multiple MIS formats for the management to understand and act on.
5. It interconnects the departments, its activities and smoothens the process.
But, the many ERP’s never do the following work.
- An alert or decision making systems at the time of doing a transactions or see the future behaviour based on a single parameter change. Because we can do data analysis and not before these data are produced. Sort of post-mortem work.
- A workflow management process or Business Process management (BPM) with clearly defined entry and exit parameters for each Business cases.
- Communication engine between different departments, so that there is no confusions and all are OK. One of the problem reported by many CEO’s is, they couldn’t tell their subordinates on when and what to complete or ship the materials etc. Due to this reasons, even though they have an ERP, they are still emailing their data to employees.
- Controlling application based on end users criteria or as per their will.
- There are some tools integrated to handle the futuristic needs of the business. But they are expensive.
But, the real business challenges are as below.
1. Each customer has their own process, control mechanism. Most of these are defined more than 20 years ago and still they follow it.
2. Each one has their own workflow and approval process — for example
- Some wants to create a Sales Order, Check with Finance whether they received money or not? After receipt then confirm SO and release to production.
- Some customer has a process of take an order and check with Stores whether these items available to confirm the Order with customer. Here based on the SO Amount, the approval authority could change by Director or Unit heads or MD.
3. The workflow has to be flexible as each one can have their own status comments and with their own “wordings” to track and control the process.
- Sales Order created.
- SO Created and approved.
4. How to integrate the same with ERP and make sure it too understands these comments?
5. How these comments makes sense to their Internal Teams and how they work seamlessly?
This is the opportunity, where ACTouch.com’s Business process management or ERP Workflow Engine is defined.
ERP Workflow management or Business process management (BPM) tool should be central to business needs and helps the Business to manage their complex communication process and action to happen based on some trigger etc. This helps company’s efforts to improve the process and efficiency. ERP Workflow Management tools and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) been used for many business integrations. Both technologies can help with business process automation, data transfer, and information sharing, the technological approach and features of solutions provided.
The advantages of ERP Workflow is many. We tried to give them in a Workflow model.
Major Benefits of ERP workflow
a. ERP Workflow process is divided into multiple components.
1. Your business process is divided into multiple components and each one is managed by Different department to approve and accept.
2. Each department have to accept and complete the tasks before the next activities could begin.
3. Each business components are logically connected with time bound work.
b. Hardened ERP modules are converted into WORKFLOWS based on your NEED’s – Move away from the Traditional Data centric activities to Process Centric activities.
c. Each Activity is based on the timeline and it gives an alert on who has to act on it and by which cut-off date etc. It helps the business to review and identify the bottleneck areas to improve.
d. Workflow helps the Management to redefine their process to reduce the frictions and reduce wastage of time.
e. Improve communications and inter-company relations.