At this point, most logistics firms fully understand the value ERP platforms provide for their operations and, by extension, their bottom lines. However, many such companies continue to trudge along using ERP software they adopted years ago or more, having seemingly configured the legacy systems they had to what they think are their exact specifications – often by trial and error – over long periods of time.
However, experts note that today's ERP options are often significantly more effective for logistics businesses than those they might have adopted even five years ago, so looking into whether an upgrade makes sense now is probably a good idea.
While adopting or upgrading to modern ERP solutions can seem like a daunting task, industry experts note that it's one that typically pays for itself in terms of ease, efficiency and actual return on investment quicker than many might expect, according to In the Black. And while there is certainly a ramping-up process that comes with such adoption, the good news is that those upgrading from legacy systems will likely be able to easily import large swaths of old data to make that process go more smoothly – and quickly.
"Traditionally, most ERP systems were monolithic models and quite antiquated," Xero Australia managing director Trent Innes told the site. "They tried to be everything to everyone, but modern-day ERP systems now give you the chance to choose the application that's best suited to you. The barrier to entry is also a lot lower. Historically, ERP systems required large upfront investment in infrastructure and implementation, whereas now they're just different applications. The cost to deploy is much lower, as they're mostly subscription based and you only pay for what you need."
ERP for inventory management
Under modern platforms, logistics firms have the power to put every aspect of their supply chain data management under one roof, so to speak, according to Modern Machine Shop. This can be crucial because it ensures nothing falls through the cracks, and allows decision-makers or workers on the floor to track an item from the second it comes into a facility to when it leaves again. And in the cases of companies with multiple locations, this kind of software can even track items from one facility to the next.
A modern feel
In addition, there are two other benefits today's ERP brings to the table that legacy systems simply can't, MMS also noted. Perhaps the more important of these is usability; because many legacy systems have been so heavily configured that new employees or other unfamiliar users may struggle to understand how to obtain the information they need. Not so with new systems, which are designed with usability in mind.
Along similar lines, when it comes to making data accessible, it should be noted that modern ERP also tends to be cloud-based, which can further be a boon to logistics firms with multiple locations, but also provides for greater ease of use throughout any facility.
It's vital for logistics decision-makers to at least consider all their options for modern ERP adoption, so that they can ensure their companies are getting the most out of whatever systems they use going forward.