Today, many logistics and industrial companies are coming around on the idea of adopting a modern ERP platform that can help them better track every part of the supply chain and boost their efficiency as a result. However, despite the potential for these systems to unlock stronger operational capacities, many companies say they also recognize they’re not doing enough to actually reach those better standards.

A recent poll of industrial companies across North America found that only about 1 in 6 with an existing ERP system were collecting mobile data on their operations via the internet of things, according to a new poll from IFS. In addition, that relatively small number of companies that began using IoT technology to get a bird’s eye view of their processes tended to have better outcomes, which leads industry experts to wonder why there’s a disconnect here.

The data IoT devices collect was also far more likely to be used in assessing other aspects of the business to make better determinations about ongoing needs and to further cut costs.

“Are your planning and maintenance systems robust enough to make real time decisions using IoT-sourced data? Many are facing the reality of having to answer ‘no,'” said Rick Veague, IFS chief technology officer for North America. “We have seen examples of companies coming to us because their incumbent software is not able to administer and use IoT data to achieve the gains they want to realize.”

What’s needed
Cloud ERP is widely considered to be the best path forward for modern adoption these days, in part because of the power the cloud and IoT can bring into the fold, according to Sal Laher, global chief operating officer of S/4HANA Cloud at SAP, writing for CIO Dive. The benefit of the cloud is that it allows more users to get involved in data collection, which in turn boosts their efficiency because they can get up-to-the-minute data on how best to complete any given task at hand.

That’s not to say cloud-based ERP doesn’t take time to be properly set up and reach full capacity, but the turnaround time on those efforts is often quite small in comparison with what used to be required, Laher noted. On-site ERP platforms could take as much as a year to be fully implemented, but cloud-based options can be completed in as little as 12 weeks.

Ensuring a smooth transition
When companies start the transition to ERP, one of the biggest efforts they should undertake is finding out all the peripheral investments they need to make to wring the most out of the new system, and make sure everyone knows how to use them, according to TG Daily. Proper training is often key to getting as much as value as possible out of such a platform in the shortest amount of time. But simultaneously, it’s also important for companies to be realistic about what they can expect right away, especially if they’re upgrading from an older legacy system that may have been extremely customized.

There’s no single “right” way to put a new, modern ERP platform into place, but the more companies can do to ensure a smooth transition, the better off all involved will be going forward.