After months of planning and training, you are finally up and running on your new ERP or CRM system. Hurray! While you might not have new technology on your mind, remember that your initial go-live is only the first step towards achieving actionable data and true business efficiency.
The Internet of Technology (IoT) and digital initiatives, post-ERP implementation, have proven to significantly augment the functionality of enterprise business applications through improved data availability, communication, and business intelligence. More and more businesses are focusing on what technological enhancements will help drive more efficiency gains and cost savings in order to capitalize on the full potential of ERP and CRM investments.
One industry where IoT has had a substantial impact is manufacturing. Traditionally, a manufacturer was unable to have complete visibility into a product’s full life cycle. An ERP system will update customer information and serial numbers at the time of shipment, but after that, they are blind to how the product gets used. Thanks to the development of IoT sensors and intelligent devices, manufacturers are now able to track every movement a product makes, communicating with it directly from when it leaves the warehouse to when it needs repairs. This level of awareness and inventory management is a game changer in customer service and product development – putting you in a completely different league from your competition.
And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. IoT concepts may be somewhat new compared to an established business management system, but every business owner needs to understand the value and the endless possibilities digital technology can bring to the table. While your ERP and CRM system manages your core business processes and data, IoT and digital initiatives are designed to heighten your system’s overall effectiveness and accuracy.
From business intelligence and inventory management to customer service and forecasting, we have helped our clients optimize their ERP and CRM systems by designing IoT and digital-enabled solutions that help them make better tactical decisions. In the next section, we will walk you through what that process looks like and give you a few examples of our latest add-ons.
How OnActuate Uses IoT to Transform Operations
Before you start any IoT or digital discussion, it’s important that your solution addresses one of the following three areas of your business:
- Customer Experience
- Operational Efficiency
- New Business Development
During the planning process of every ERP implementation, we make a point to talk to key IT and business stakeholders to understand what business efficiency looks like for them. In that brainstorming meeting, our goal is to make sure they understand how sensors, tools, and cloud applications can be customized to fit their business processes, further streamlining and driving productivity in specific areas of the organization.
To visualize what IoT and digital technology can really do, we highlight three use cases we have developed for clients around the world:
1. Customer Experience
SOLUTION: Intelligent Home Appliance Kit
We designed an intelligent home appliance kit for an OEM we work with. The IoT kit sits on every machine and communicates valuable information to the manufacturer’s ERP and CRM system. In addition to recording customer information and where the asset is registered, it captures usage details to show the health of the machine. It continuously pings the system to record successes and failures and raises a ticket in the CRM system when the machine is due for maintenance.
2. Operational Efficiency
SOLUTION: Warehouse Management Beacon Technology
We have developed an IoT solution for warehouse management using beacon technology, which transfers data through Bluetooth. These beacons are placed in every aisle of a warehouse and track inventory through a mobile app. The mobile app, which is integrated with the company’s ERP system, has a map of the particular warehouse and shows what inventory is in each aisle, down to exact quantities and rack number. This solution helps warehouse managers optimize the warehouse layout, easily locate assets, and control under-stocking.
3. New Business Development
SOLUTION: Field Service Mobile App
A plywood manufacturing company with over 1,000 sales agents needed a solution to increase day-to-day productivity. We developed an IoT/mobile solution that is integrated with the company’s CRM application to enhance their field service efficiency. Using our mobile app, a sales agent can plan their entire day, from number and type of client visits to real-time routing through Google Maps integration. At the sales meeting, they can record notes and create orders, with or without an internet connection. From the management side, the mobile app is also integrated with Power BI for built-in insights and analytics to help the organization understand the interaction pattern between the sales force, distributors, orders, routes, etc.
Take Your ERP Performance to the Next Level with IoT
As you can see, IoT can be used to expand data availability, improve accuracy, and maximize profits. These intelligent solutions were designed with that in mind and built specifically for clients with a strong vision for their operations. While we realize that IoT and digital enhancements take time to trust, we believe that it is worth the investment. Let us show you how these products work and what they look like in a digital workshop.
Contact us to schedule a digital workshop.