Supply chains are continuing to change at an incredibly fast pace. Our recent Supply Chain Resilience Survey found that 79% of supply chain professionals are reacting to change on a daily or weekly basis. Unfortunately, that lesson has yet to catch up to many who rely on core systems like ERPs for major supply chain processes. ERPs, while critical, have yet to catch up to today’s digital needs Continuing to optimize your business’s supply chain management takes faster speeds and more nimble reaction.
Here is what some supply chain experts who joined us at Empower 2021 had to say about the challenges of ERP visibility, and how to navigate those challenges with no-code capabilities.
The difficulty of ERP Visibility
ERPs can handle massive amounts of critical data for your organization, but they are often incredibly difficult to navigate and access information from. This presents numerous challenges, including the inability to track orders or projects, inaccurate insights due to inadequate data, and poor auditing and reporting.
What’s more, data from ERPs can often be out-of-date by the time it is accessed. This can often lead to missing data, delayed shipments, slow production, and other issues causing supply chain disruption.
“We had time delays between activities, resulting in very long lead times of up to 3 months,” said Andy Krumrai, Senior Business Systems Analyst at Rockwell Automation. “This was even worsened by missing parts in our data, making auditing difficult.”
Beyond this lack of visibility, ERP systems can be inflexible – in trying to solve such a core need for so many organizations, they often do not fit in for bespoke processes. This results in error-prone manual data entry and time-consuming processes. Most ERP tools are point solutions designed for one problem, meaning you might need several tools for different problems.
“We were using Microsoft Office for scheduling, and this presented a great challenge in tracing our work process, resulting in wasted time,” said Amanda Sathiaraj, Manufacturing Process Engineer at Power Plant Services. “We also experienced delayed shipments due to lack of visibility.”
This lack of flexibility and agility can create long lead times in work, and make reacting to change and analyzing performance incredibly difficult.
Adding agility to the process
While ERP systems remain critical, leading organizations are supplementing their ERP with a no-code agility layer. Agility through no-code capabilities like Quickbase’s can allow your team to unlock the full value of your data, make workflows accessible to those outside the IT world, and give you the capabilities to react to change with speed.
That last piece is critical to bringing true agility to your ERP. Enabling those without technical knowledge to own the processes they are close to is an incredibly effective way to bring the insights that an ERP system holds to your entire organization. This is a critical characteristic that supply chain experts are considering when enhancing their ERP with an agility layer.
“Most of the options we were looking at required lots of coding knowledge,” said Sathiaraj, noting the simple, accessible-to-all nature of no-code platforms.
No-code also allows for a repeatable process without requiring intensive IT resources. “We built a repeatable app that we can easily deploy in different regions for efficient auditing,” said Krumrai. “This reduced our turnaround time from 3 months to just a few hours.”
Whatever ERP tool you have, extending the capabilities of that system with no-code capabilities has major advantages in creating an agility layer. The most successful organizations are utilizing no-code to seamlessly unify disparate data, integrate existing systems, and automate workflows. And when time is of the essence in accessing key information and responding to industry challenges, reducing time spent in core systems can be a boon to productivity.