How ERP can solve retail visibility, integration and automation issues
There is no question that the retail industry is rapidly evolving, with technology driving change. Today it seems there is an endless array of tech tools designed to overcome industry-specific operational challenges.
At first, disparate systems evolved to solve the most basic retail bottlenecks such as inventory management, employee scheduling and point-of-sale interactions. With the advent of virtual shopping and growth of the e-commerce landscape, improved systems integration has become necessary for a retail organization to stay competitive.
The top new priorities for most retail IT leaders
- Protecting consumer data and security
- Facilitating a “click and collect” process, for customers who want to buy online and pick-up in-store
- Handling sudden, drastic fluctuations in demand, caused by promotions or social media trending
- Identifying the right automation and integration to speed up orders and response times with fewer inaccuracies
- Supporting gift card, loyalty and e-Commerce functionality
- Providing real-time reports to store and senior management quickly and easily
Streamlining technology for a more dynamic solution builds operational agility and lowers risk. Within the retail industry, marketplace barriers and operational inefficiencies can uproot even the most established operation. Succeeding within retail means running a tight ship and responding quickly with lean and efficient operations.
Are you 100 percent confident in how your current system’s automation, visibility and integration features measure up? Retailers need to facilitate a consistent, end-to-end, user-friendly experience from POS interfaces to supply chain management, e-commerce platforms, store operations, financials, marketing merchandising and call center care with the right ERP solution.
Data security is retailers’ biggest concern
In the Internet age, data security and the control of sensitive information are growing concerns for retailers. Security planning for your ERP should begin before implementation, and remain an ongoing area of focus.
In an omni-channel environment, this task becomes exponentially complex. Setting access levels and a hierarchy for internal security establishes protection by matching threats with defenses for every level of a business’s infrastructure, and focuses the highest amount of protection on the most valuable assets. It’s recommended that IT teams seek experienced consultation on this initiative.
Quality brand experiences are created when customers enjoy a series of easy and consistent shopping sessions across multiple platforms and outlets. From social media, to e-commerce, to in-store, the experience needs to be the same, and it needs to be positive. The challenge for retailers is maintaining a consistent presence at each potential sales site, while they multiply at a feverish pace. If a business relies on end-of-life systems, lacks automation and integration, and has low visibility into operations, how it will it streamline supply chain and POS solutions to stay competitive?
Systems need to track data and respond in real-time to an expanding set of consumer input; in both virtual, and brick and mortar reality. Inventory levels, orders, customer preferences and more should be updated in only one place, and register on every channel instantaneously. With Microsoft Dynamics AX for retail, you can define any value and create global changes in real-time. You can also get access to critical data within seconds and easily create internal reports.
ERP solutions for retail raise the bar
With an ERP solution designed for retail, you’ll handle compliance with ease; from verification to “click to collect” fulfillment. Using built-in visibility tools, you can rapidly pinpoint the source of a problem and respond promptly to customer or distributor concerns. In retail, these processes extend to the interactions between a business’s workforce and their customers. These interactions become the cornerstone for creating brand loyalty and delivering service at the highest standard.
As an IT leader within retail, you have a lot to contend with including shrinking margins, increased price pressures and demand, operational challenges, fulfillment burdens and the list goes on. So why choose a one-size-fits-all ERP solution that meets general needs at best? Under-performing legacy systems can’t harness big data into timely, meaningful information that promotes operational efficiency, cost reduction, a transparent supply chain and informed decision making.
If you opt for an ERP system that isn’t tailored for your industry, you’ll add implementation challenges, visibility issues, and set-up problems to your list of woes. And, at the end of the day, you’ll be stuck with a system that does not either match or meet your business needs.
The importance of relevant, integrated systems
To respond to operational challenges, organizations need a flexible and scalable ERP system that integrates with quality systems, business intelligence and analytics, warehouse-management systems and other key enterprise applications.
With the right ERP solution, companies can eliminate implementation and integration challenges and gain:
- Increased operational efficiency
- Reduced margin pressures
- The ability to respond to retail-specific financial processes
- Streamlined omni-channel fulfillment
- A more responsive supply chain
With the right ERP solution, IT leaders within retail can manage complex and shifting needs with total compliance, streamlined integration and optimization. We help businesses leverage Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics AX) for retail to empower their workforce with the right tools to enable them to do great work. This platform can provide a complete end-to-end solution for business transformation or be customized to deliver on specific needs. The degree of real-time data Dynamics 365 for retail can provide offers deep insights and allows organizations to drive them forward in a more agile and responsive way.