Retail ERP Implementation with Paperless SOP’s
Objective of this service
Are you planning to implement a Retail ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) Software? If yes, congratulations, you have taken the right decision! A cloud retail ERP software helps in providing reliable business information, better inventory management, successfully integrate multiple channels, enhance operational efficiencies, automate sale & payment processes, and augment customer management and pricing and discount management. But in case you have thought of implementing ERP without SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures), it is like taking a blunt sword to war. If ERP is the technology to drive the business processes, SOPs lend it the required direction and purpose, aligning the ERP with strategic business goals and objectives.
“Effective integration of ERP and SOP ensures that software programs like ERPs can be suitably designed and customized according to predefined operational procedures and information requirements, embedded in an organization’s business processes. During this integration, the operational procedures get suitably mapped in the information system which makes the business processes largely automated. Importantly, performance and productivity standards are already mapped against each operational activity in the ERP information system. The system will not let any user or employee proceed to the next operational activity until they have completed the current activity as per given SOP requirements. SOPs define the roadmap and operational standards for the retail business, and ERPs provide the required software platform to reinforce the implementation and execution of the SOPs. Thus, SOPs and ERP shall ensure that your company becomes system dependant rather than person dependant. ”
Importance of SOPs in Retail
“Every retail business needs SOPs (or Standard Operating Procedures) across all departments and verticals over the long run to ensure business viability and sustainability. SOP should be integrated into retail to ensure efficient workflows, have a bird’s eye view on improvement areas and patterns, and also enhance decision-making. An end-to-end SOP framework is required for every dimension of the retail business, i.e. warehouse management, store management and operations, eCommerce, supply chain management, merchandising, vendor management, staff management, customer service, and logistics.
The importance of SOPs in retail can be seen from how they effectively augment these retail ERP features:
- Business Continuity: When sales or operational employees are absent from work, SOPs for retail operations ensure that any employee can take over these retail functions and complete pending, mission-critical tasks within the stipulated timelines. The retail SOP manual explains how every department works, including the back office and retail store operations. SOPs for retailers also lead to work efficiency and profits, a safe working environment, and a seamless audit and inspection procedure.
- Implementation of Consistent Standards: Through consistency in standards, retail stores can save time, reduce errors, lower training costs, empower the workforce, and ensure consistent results. Delegation of work becomes easier and obstacles cannot impede quality goals. SOP in warehouse management ensures that efficient product storage, distribution, and task management are taken care of. Every aspect of a SOP for retail can prove advantageous for your business by helping to boost ROI and profits, leading to unlimited growth opportunities.
- Establish Routines: SOPs can be used effectively in every facet of store management, simplifying the functioning of the retail business. As employees can complete projects and tasks routinely and easily, micromanagement can be effectively eliminated, queries resolved, and expertise can be gained in key skills, including employee performance appraisals.
- Quality Control: Creating SOPs for retail can minimize errors in customer service or product craftmanship, which can favourably impact business revenues. Processes can be regularized and streamlined, thereby eliminating questions regarding customer expectations and establishing consistency in business products or services. For example, the Sales Playbook is a tool for effective customer service & sales, ensuring adherence to service standards and optimal customer satisfaction.
- Efficient Growth processes: Robustly created SOPs with systems and processes accurately outlined ensure effective scaling up and expansion of retail operations. Franchise outlets and branches can be easily set up, as SOPs clearly define retail business functions and assigned job duties for each store. Training processes can thus be standardized, leading to consistency in product and service offerings.
Effective Performance Management: SOPs delineating employee job duties make it easier to conduct performance management reviews. Retail store SOPs can be used for job role descriptions and creating KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), which help to ascertain employee performance. A notification alert to the administration heads on SOP deviations can also provide real-time updates on employee productivity.
- Minimise Loss of Productivity: Through reduced downtime courtesy of retail SOPs, a retail store can reduce loss of productivity. Employee management can be smoothly done to ensure optimal levels of customer service or product distribution in the retail store. SOP also ensures that job specialists are not always required, and systems are not people-dependent. Procedure manuals and templates ensure that processes and systems are always in place and work can continue unhindered.
- Inventory Management: Retailers have to follow stringent protocols to ensure regular updating of shelves with merchandise. SOPs can help implement asset tracking solutions providing inventory visibility through real-time alerts and notifications. SOPs can also enhance workflow productivity and efficiency with accurate data on goods movements, with easy retrievability of footage to analyse specific cases whenever required.”
Importance of a good Retail ERP
“An ERP for retail business is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software that caters to the needs of the retail industry. In the current scenario, retailers have to deal with constantly moving stock, a large number of employees at multiple retail outlets, diverse pricing models, discount and loyalty rules applied to huge product volumes, etc. Hence, managing a multi-store retail business requires an effective cloud retail ERP. The following retail ERP features illustrate why ERP software for retail industry is so vital for the smooth functioning of the business:
- Customer management: It is essential to have a dedicated customer management module in a retail ERP process flow, helping retailers address customer-related issues, and achieve a truly integrated customer view. The module collects data on customer purchase histories, allowing the most valuable shoppers to be identified, and facilitating rewards and loyalty management programs for them. An effective ERP for retail business allows business owners to customize member programs that allow promotional and marketing schemes, including reward points and discounts. It also ensures timely responsiveness, i.e. returns and customer complaints are dealt with quickly and efficiently.
- Demand forecasting: Retail customers are quite demanding nowadays. If their demands aren’t fulfilled satisfactorily, they can quickly switch allegiance to your nearest rival. Hence, it is critical to match demand with supply along with great service, so that customers’ expectations are met and they are not disappointed. This makes demand forecasting extremely crucial, and past trends and forecasting future needs can be accurately tracked with ERP software for retail industry. Retail ERP, therefore, helps to maintain customer satisfaction, and also maximises sales, and reduces inventory carrying costs through effective demand forecasting.
- Inventory management: A retail ERP process flow helps retailers in successfully managing inventory levels, ensuring the constant inflow and outflow of units into an existing inventory. It makes sure that requisite stock levels are always present to complete the transactions. ERP for retail industry also helps in tracking product expiry or shelf life, sending alerts whenever the inventory nears this expiry date so that retailers can clear that inventory on priority.
- Store and warehouse operations: An ERP for retail business help to streamline store and warehouse management functions. All stores and warehouses can link up with each other, enabling the division of warehouses into zones for handling materials management. Store operations are pivotal to retail chains and can be effectively managed by ERP for retail industry, with market analysis, merchandising, inventory management, workforce management, and a lot more coming under its ambit.
- Purchase and vendor management: A good ERP software for retail industry helps define procurement rules and regional supplier setups for similar products, and either auto-generates a requisition or manually generates it. Customised Retail ERP features also allow you to create purchase approvals across different levels and manage multiple purchase price lists. Suppliers can be invited for quotations, and once you receive the quotations, the system provides an automatic quotation comparison tool.
- Employee management: With retail outlets being managed by multiple employees, employee management becomes key. An ERP for retail industry helps in employee management by tracking shift scheduling, time, employee work hours, etc. Additionally, the software also assigns employee sales commissions, monitoring who’s working and for how long, how much money they’ve brought in, and how many hours they’ve worked in the current pay period.
- Sales reporting and real-time information & analytics: A cloud retail ERP software provides an actionable dashboard of store sales, orders, and other revenue-based product data. This helps to focus on the top money-spinning products and drive their sales. Slow-moving inventory can also be identified, helping the retailer to make critical decisions on whether to offload it through offers and discounts or retain it. With its reporting framework, dashboards, and real-time analytics, ERP for retail industry helps to make informed decisions on product portfolio, pricing, and more. This real-time information is particularly important when managing multiple channels in a fast-paced retail environment, thereby optimising the Omni channel customer experience.
- Point of sale (POS) system: A POS system – integration of POS machines and POS software – is a key component of the retail ERP process flow. POS hardware acts as a tool to execute all transactions and is usually placed at the front counter where transactions occur. It primarily consists of tools such as register screens, barcode scanners, credit card readers, receipt printers, and cash drawers. It also supports other activities apart from sales, such as inventory, vendor & customer management.
- Integration of e-commerce with ERP: Under the new normal, maintaining an online digital store has become essential for every retailer. The web or app store’s integration with the ERP Software helps in reducing data redundancy and eliminating error, reducing operational and inventory costs, increasing productivity and customer satisfaction, and generating financial reports, thereby helping the retailer to maximise revenues.”
Why DFX for Retail ERP?
Digital Finance Experts (DFX) is one of leading business management and cloud retail ERP consultants offering industry-ready customized retail ERP evaluation and SOP integration solutions for retailers. A retail ERP & SOP specialist par excellence, DFX has years of proven expertise and credentials in all aspects of implementing ERP software for retail industry and is ably spearheaded by an experienced team of retail ERP practitioners. DFX and its sister organizations like Your Retail Coach (YRC) have also been strategic and transformational partners for top-tier clients over several years now, expertly hand-holding potential clients on successfully adopting ERP for retail business. As your trusted retail ERP and SOP integration partner, DFX can help you to jump-start your organisation’s retail ERP process flow and safely weather all potential obstacles along the way. If you are a retail entrepreneur or business owner looking out for a cloud retail ERP expert, look no further and connect with the DFX team now. We will help you with all facets of ERP evaluation and implementation, helping you maximise your true business potential, and making your business scale up and grow exponentially to stay well ahead of all your competitors!
What to not expect from this service program
While guiding you through all the phases of ERP implementation life cycle, this service program will not provide you with the technical coding and testing expertise and guidance needed for the ERP implementation process. Thus, the entire ERP software and system development module, which consists of the creation and programming of enterprise resource planning software, tools, and applications shall be within the scope and purview of the selected ERP vendor, as a part of the ERP implementation process.
Identify areas/ functions where Retail ERP and other business applications implementation is needed:
As part of the business architecture framework for the implementation of Retail ERP and other applications, we have to identify areas/departments from where data can be collected and stored in one centralized place, i.e. Finance & Accounting, Human Resources, Customer Relationship Management, Production Management, Business Intelligence, Warehouse Management, Inventory Management, Supply Chain Management, Point-of-Sale (POS) and eCommerce. The steps for effective ERP implementation are:
- Choosing the right ERP selection team
- Identifying the problem and objective, analysing your KPIs
- Deciding your budget and implementation timeframe
- Choosing the best ERP system for your organisation
- Preparing a best-fit ERP Implementation plan
- Preparing to migrate and switch ERP systems
- Customizing the system for your business processes, adding new functionalities
- Providing ERP employee training on how to optimally use the new ERP software
- Testing the ERP system (ensuring no gaps, bugs, or errors, issue identification, and resolution)
- Going Live (with additional functionality testing once live to ensure that the system is fully operational).
- Additional ERP support for regular software updates and maintenance
Finalise the modules needed in the Retail ERP and the features:
To finalise and select the ERP and its requirements, modules, and features that align with the organisation's needs, here are the principal selection criteria used:
- The Functional Fit for Your Organization
- Industry Experience
- Price (by calculating the ERP’s ROI, the total cost of ownership, pricing mode/software licensing, and implementation cost)
- ERP Vendor Viability
- ERP Implementation Project Considerations (Business timing, executive support, project plan methodology)
- Technology (End-user reporting tools, Simplicity in UI and UX, Business intelligence, Data security, System performance and Response time, Integration with other systems, Customization capability)
- Risk (and how to avoid it)
- References (feedback from the ERP company’s clients)
- Post-Go-Live (on-going support and training plan)
While finalising the Retail ERP, modules, and features, the below benchmarks have to be remembered:
- Efficient and automated processes
- Centralized ERP platform with integrated data from best-in-class applications
- Stable and automated integration platform
- Simple and efficient accounting structure
- All locations data consolidated in a single database
- Company-wide metrics and analysis reporting
- Automated and easy-to-use workflow functionality
- Allow for easy electronic document management and storage
- Rich application functionality out-of-the-box
- Standardized user access profile management
Selection, Negotiation, Finalization:
Selecting a new ERP solution is a large project require the following key factors to be considered for the ERP Evaluation process:
- Determine system requirements
- Ensure senior management support
- Establish a project roadmap
- Factor in the total cost of ownership (TCO)
- Consider peer references
- Establish a relationship with the vendor
- Evaluate deployment flexibility
Retail ERP Evaluation Process - Demo alignment, review, shortlist, negotiation, and finalisation consist of the following key steps:
Demo Preparation Best practices:
Pre-demo activities - Shortlist:
- Ideally, the demo prospects should be shortlisted into two or three ERP vendors, helping to eliminate vendor blur.
- This final shortlist should include vendors that have options offered in your price range, provide the required features, are designed according to the size and scope of your company and have scored high marks in the vendor evaluation process.
- As per request, the prospective vendors should be provided with a data sampling (example bill of materials - BOM, production notes, etc.) to enable them to perform personalized transactions during the interactive software demo.
- There should be communication with the vendor beforehand to discuss the specific addressable points and perceived functionality gaps, and all this can be incorporated into the personalized demonstration.
- A list of questions should be prepared before the scheduled demo, also simultaneously reserving the right to ask impromptu questions during the presentation or at specific times to ensure that all areas of discussion are covered. Detailed notes should be made during the software demonstration to effectively evaluate the differences among vendors without an overlap of each software’s functionalities and uniqueness.
- As a critical part of the selection process, the full ERP demo should take the audience through a day in the life of the company, highlighting order entry, purchasing, bill of material management, manufacturing, quality control, accounting, and other key organisational features.
- With this level of detailing, your company should set aside approximately eight hours to get a complete picture of the ERP software's capabilities. Ideally, the format should be similar for each vendor to facilitate easier comparisons.
- The detailed software demonstration provides your company with the information needed to compare and contrast solution options – focusing on your organization’s requirements and expectations from the new ERP system.
- In this demo, each ERP vendor will effectively demonstrate how their software can align with your business objectives and operational methodology, highlighting the strengths and uniqueness of their solution and their industry-ratified solution offerings.
- After the ERP demo, the selection committee should convene to summarize the demonstration, determine its takeaway points and prepare a list of additional questions that may have come up following the presentation.
- If required, a specific portion of the demo may have to be repeated for a further explanation until all aspects are covered – requiring additional time to complete the evaluation.
- The selection team should review software performance and functionalities indicated by scorecard rankings, as well as the company's overall perception of vendor capability.
- Finally, the selection team should have all the information needed to make an informed purchase decision and select the right ERP software in line with the company’s objectives, work culture, requirements, and processes. The selected ERP vendor should be open to questions, and negotiations concerning all the terms and conditions of the final contract, pricing, etc.
Negotiation & Finalisation – DO’s and DON’T’s:
The negotiation and finalisation process should consist of assembling a professional negotiation team, pre-establishing a negotiation strategy, reviewing the contract and terms of warranties, comparing bids, seeking legal counsel, reading the fine print, minutely examining the service level agreement, capturing and pinpointing all fees and hidden costs including the implementation costs, thoroughly understanding the ramifications of the terms and conditions, uncovering possible vendor motivations to gain leverage, using a scoring template to identify your best negotiation options, and if there is a negotiation breakdown on terms and conditions, to be always prepared to walk away from the contract.
The global or localised rollout plan for an ERP software system is commonly adopted by organizations that aim to leverage and take advantage of standardized and streamlined business processes and operational visibility across all local entities, or business departments. Depending on specific business needs and their complexity, organizations can choose different rollout strategies.
Companies might choose to pre-define a standardised universal template at the start of the ERP implementation project and then rolling it out to the local business entities, or departments. On the other hand, they might also factor in flexibility and define the template during the project implementation, based on specific business needs. In practice, businesses tend to choose the first option since it leads to lower costs.
To ensure the success of the universal ERP rollout template, the following factors must be taken into consideration:
- Template readiness and adaptability
- Strong governance
- Proactive change management
- Skills roles and responsibilities
- User training
- Common master data definitions;
- Management of dependencies with other integrated systems
ERP Masters Updation:
ERP packages contain different modules, such as finance, sales and distribution, materials management, manufacturing and production control, human resources, plant maintenance, and quality management. Due to the integrated nature of the functioning of all the modules, master tables are referenced frequently all across the system and databases and shared by different applications, functional areas, and sites. Master data updated thereon needs to be accurate, complete, timely, consistent, and easily accessible. The quality of master data inputted is a major reason for the success of an ERP Implementation.
The following best practices should be adopted while updating master data in an ERP system:
- Collection and maintenance of master data
- Defining a clear-cut process and procedure for maintenance of master data.
- Ownership of data should be properly defined.
- In-built workflows and authorization for adding and modifying data.
- Documentation of the process should be done
- Audit trails of master tables should be activated and modifications logged in the system.
- Proper excel templates or data mapping should be done with a legacy system, for the initial collection of data.
- Master data should be properly classified
Examples of master data in ERP systems include delivery, shipment, invoicing, payment methods, parent company of customer, country location (for tax and statistical purposes), status (active, inactive, potential), credit rating, financial groups, contact names and addresses, default currency, prices and discount, sales channels, sales offices, transport, etc. ERP User Rights Updation:
Access Control protection for ERP Data
ERP software should be risk-free, and unauthorized users could misuse sensitive data, representing a significant security threat. Access control helps to mitigate risk and is known as identity and access management (IAM), defined by Gartner as ‘the security discipline that enables the right individuals to access the right resources at the right times for the right reasons.’ Thus, to reduce security breaches, risk and safeguard sensitive data, businesses must thoroughly vet users and restrict ERP user rights access on a strict need-to-know basis.
The following strategies can be adopted in this regard:
- ERP User rights and access levels: Distribute access levels with user-based permissions, specifying user role, permission level, document type, identification of vulnerabilities through periodic access control reviews
- Managers can look for warning signs, i.e. ERP access control warning signs
- User administration should be verified as continuous/ongoing and immediate, with strict guidelines and process standards implemented. This includes adding new users, modifying existing users, and disabling inactive users
- Enforce strong passwords and update logins regularly
- Employee assessment of workplace password security
- Automation of ERP access control processes (like user modification and access rights) through IAM applications
- Boosting efficiency, monitoring user activity, and enforcing regulatory compliance based on a customizable set of parameters
- Periodic review of existing access control processes
- Reinforce security best practices with ongoing ERP training
SOPs developed across all functions:
Paperless SOPs are essentially Standard Operational Procedures integrated into IT systems, or documented in a digital format. For several years now and especially in the context of the new normal, paperless SOPs are being effectively integrated across all functions in IT (through various ticketing and BPM - Business Process Management tools) and non-IT organizations (like banks and financial institutions). Paperless SOPs within BPM can be used to create comprehensive user manuals defining organization workflows. They are cost-effective as they are easily accessible from any part of the globe via electronic communication such as emails, or shared network drives which can be accessed instantaneously and in real-time. These digital SOPs help to track task progress, process upgrades and revisions, and also facilitate complete data security and safety. They can also be integrated across all business functions and departments, i.e. purchase, human resources, production, sales and marketing, accounts and finance, etc. In non - IT organisations like banks and financial institutions as well, paperless SOPs drive the functioning of their various digital platforms and applications.
Ensure SOPs are integrated with Retail ERP:
Paperless SOPs can be effectively implemented when it is integrated with an Retail ERP system already in place. Through this process, Retail ERP software maps paperless SOPs in the background and provides a window for all eligible users to digitally access and track their business functions and operations. Cutting-edge technology used in the Retail ERP software seamlessly complements digital, paperless SOPs. All operational procedures get mapped in the management information system, ensuring automation of business processes. This automation is integrated with Retail ERP’s information-sharing attributes in real-time ensuring operational stability, consistency, accuracy, and speed in all business processes. Thus, through an integrated digital SOP-Retail ERP platform, the business can centrally incorporate any required change in its business software applications and also remotely introduce modifications for paperless SOPs.
When paperless SOPs are integrated with the organisational standards for performance and output, these parameters/benchmarks are already mapped against each operational activity in the Retail ERP information system. The system doesn’t allow any user to move on to the next operational activity until they have completed the current pending activity or tasks as per the SOP's requirements. The status of each operational activity or task is also clearly shown on the Retail ERP dashboards of the concerned reporting authorities or management, to keep them up-to-date at all times.
75 - 95 days.
Step 01 - Request for Quote
Step 02 - Service Quote Finalization along with SLA (Service Level Agreement)
Step 03 - DFX Experts start working on your business"
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