Answer 1Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is business process management software that allows an organization to use a system of integrated applications to manage the business and automate many back office functions related to technology, services and human resources.ERP software typically integrates all facets of an operation — including product planning, development, manufacturing, sales and marketing — in a single database, application and user interface.There are many advantages to implementing an ERP software system. Here are the top five most common benefits that companies report:Efficiency – An ERP system eliminates repetitive processes, and greatly reduces the need to manually enter information. The system will also streamline business processes, and makes it easier and more efficient for companies to collect data.Integrated Information – Instead of having data distributed throughout a number of separate databases, all information is now stored in a single location. Data is also kept consistent and up to date.Reporting – ERP software helps make reporting easier and more customizable. With improved reporting capabilities, your company can respond to complex data requests more easily. Users can also run their own reports without relying on help from IT.Customer Service – It’s easier to provide high-quality customer service using an ERP system. Sales and customer service people can interact with customers better and improve relationships with them, through faster, more accurate access to customers’ information and history.Security – A new system will improve the accuracy, consistency, and security of data. Restrictions to data can also be enhanced.There are different stages of the ERP implementation that are as given below:Pre evaluation ScreeningEvaluation PackageProject PlanningGAP analysisReengineeringTeam trainingTestingPost implementation1. Pre evaluation ScreeningOnce the company has decided to go for the ERP system, the search for the package must start as there are hundreds of packages it is always better to do a thorough and detailed evaluation of a small number of packages, than doing analysis of dozens of packages. This stage will be useful in eliminating those packages that are not suitable for the business process.2. Evaluation PackageThis stage is considered an important phases of the ERP implementation, as the package that one selects will decide the success or failure of the project. Implementation of an ERP involves huge investments and it is not easy to switch between different packages, so the right thing is ‘do it right the first time’. Once the packages to be evaluated are identified, the company needs to develop selection criteria that permit the evaluation of all the available packages on the same scale.3. Project PlanningThis is the phase that designs the implementation process. It is in this phase that the details of how to go about the implementation are decided. Time schedules deadlines, etc for the project are arrived at. The plan is developed, roles are identified and responsibilities are assigned. It will also decide when to begin the project, how to do it and it completion. A committee by the team leaders of each implementation group usually does such a planning.4. GAP analysisThis is considered the most crucial phase for the success of ERP implementation. This is the process through which the companies create a complete model of where they are now, and in which direction will they opt in the future. It has been estimated that even the best packages will only meet 80% of the company’s requirements. The remaining 20% presents problematic issues for the company’s reengineering.5. ReengineeringIt is in this phase that human factors are taken into consideration. While every implementation is going to involve a significant change in number of employees and their job responsibilities, as the process becomes more automated and efficient, it is best to treat ERP as an investment as well as cost cutting measure.6. Team trainingTraining is also an important phase in the implementation, which takes place along with the process of implementation. This is the phase where the company trains its employees to implement and later, run the system. Thus, it is vital for the company to choose the right employee who has the right attitude- people who are willing to change, learn new things and are not afraid of technology and a good functional knowledge.7. TestingThis is the phase where one tries to break the system. One has reached a point where the company is testing the real case scenarios. The system is configured and now you must come up with extreme cases like system overloads, multiple users logging on at the same time, users entering invalid data, hackers trying to access restricted areas and so on. This phase is performed to find the weak link so that it can be rectified before its implementation.8. Post implementationOne the implementation is over, the vendor and the hired consultants will go. To reap the fruit of the implementation it is very important that the system has wide acceptance. There should be enough employees who are trained to handle problems those crops up time to time. The system must be updated with the change in technology. The post implementation will need a different set of roles and skills than those with less integrated kind of systems.However, an organization can get the maximum value of these inputs if it successfully adopts and effectively uses the system.Answer 2:Ellram and Cooper (1993) defined SCM as “an integrating philosophy to manage the total flow of a distribution channel from supplier to ultimate customer.” A more recent definition from WhatIs.com states that “supply chain management is the oversight of materials, information, and finances as they travel through the supply chain from supplier to manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, and customer.” Implementing effective supply chain management using powerful SCM solutions will allow businesses to optimize the three key flows in the supply chain: product flow, information flow, and financial flow.Improved product and material flowTime-to-consumer is a crucial indicator of product flow efficiency. The less time it takes for goods to reach the end customer, the more efficient the product flow. However, there are many other factors to consider such as the quality of the materials or goods that reach customers, the supply and demand balance, shipment options and costs, and inventories.Effective supply chain management enables companies to improve product flow through accurate demand and sales forecasting and also improve inventory management to arrest the bullwhip effect and avoid underproduction. SCM also minimizes delays and allows full traceability and visibility into the movements of goods from the supplier to the customer. SCM enables working strategies that can accelerate time-to-market and optimize business speed, while ensuring high level of product quality.Seamless information flow”The effective SCM requires not only the integration of material flows but also the integration of information flows in the supply chain (Frohlich & Westbrook, 2001; Trent & Monczka, 1998).” Today, with customers constantly demanding for real-time response and easy access to product and other supply chain content, information flow should be uninterrupted. Intermittent and insufficient information flow due to a fragmented supply chain can lead to poor supplier and customer relationships and huge costs – to the tune of £1.2 billion per year, according to Oracle.Companies with effective supply chain management can remove the bottlenecks to supply chain information flow. It can help them evaluate the quality of information sharing, then implement solutions to best fill the gaps. SCM helps design effective best practices to facilitate different types of supply chain information that usually come in different formats and structures. SCM also enables accurate, timely, complete, and relevant information flow to avoid missed opportunities and possible risks.Effective and seamless information flow addresses information distortion and miscommunication and promotes enhanced collaboration and relationship value among supply chain stakeholders. It also helps improve visibility into all transactions and accelerate generation of supply chain insights through past reports creation.Enhanced financial flow Another pain point for supply chain players is how to improve cash flow in the value chain, which involves “thousands of invoices and payments in a given year.” The unpredictability and variability of financial inflows and outflows can add more complexity to the inherently complex supply chain financial flow.According to Visa, generally, financial management challenges are (1) slow processing due to manual and silo processes; (2) unreliable, unpredictable cash flows because of lack of timely information; (3) costly processes due to compliance and lack of employee empowerment; (4) high Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) caused by invoice reconciliation delays; and (5) suboptimal credit decisions due to manual processes for setting optimal limits.Implementing supply chain management can help companies address all these cash flow challenges, allowing them to carefully evaluate their current processes, identify the weakest links that slow down and hamper financial flow, and determine the right solutions to address the problems.By optimizing product, information and financial flow, companies can proactively create and seize new market opportunities and mitigate risks that can negatively impact their entire business. With an effective supply chain management system in place, enterprises can comprehensively and continually assess their processes, identify and fill all the gaps, lower costs, competently evolve with ever-evolving supply chains, and enable quicker decision making.Supply Chain Management process plays a huge significance in running key operations for almost every organization. Without a successful supply chain, processes could halt at the floor level and ultimately bring down the results. For so many decades, supply chains have gone through a journey of their own from being so simple to recently developed algorithm based ones. With ever-evolving supply chain concepts, supply chain management process has become a dedicated function. Supply chain managers are given the responsibility to ensure that supply chain, be it external or internal, is efficient and cost-effective both. But another question that comes up is how they do it? The mechanism to be followed for effective supply chain management process involves five basic stages explained here.PLAN – Planning is the strategic part of supply chain management process, to find out a best possible blueprint of how to fulfill the end requirement. SCM managers should identify a list of key components like plant location & size, warehouse designing, delivery models, IT solutions’ selection etc. Not only this, supply chain management process would be incomplete if key matrices like transportation cost modeling, warehouse efficiency models etc. are not developed.SOURCE – At this stage of supply chain management, the emphasis is on to ascertain the most reliable of suppliers for raw materials so that production process would never jeopardize. But challenging conditions do arise during operations, supply chain managers must ensure key pain points of supply cycle are always being tracked to keep the engine running. Holisol believes that contractual framework as well as selection of a capable supplier is one thing, but there should be a tangible system in place for the continuous development of suppliers which would boost their efficiency as well.EXECUTE – This is the stage where well designed processes are implemented so that a perceivable shape is given to existing plans in the form of manufactured products which are ready for testing, packaging, and delivery. Not only this, results at this stage are quantified so that maximum possible efficiency is achieved. Holisol’s specialists design cost effective IT solutions which enable customers in building excellence and improving efficiency at the execution stage of the supply chain management process.DELIVER – Supply chain when reaches this stage, the managers have a task at hand to deliver the product/service in the right quantity, at the right place and right time by employing suitable carriers. Supply chain managers should be fully equipped with modern IT tools to keep a track on warehousing networks, inventory models as well as invoicing and payment receipts.RETURN – Returns’ handling is the last step of supply chain management process. It not only involves reviewing returned products for quality purposes but also managing their inventory. At the ground level, supply chain managers should deploy their resources supporting them with technology for faster pickups, quicker replacements etc. Returns management should be a value enhancement measure in the eyes of supply chain managers and they must ensure every desirable measure is taken for maximum possible efficiency.
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