Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak affects the world, but how can your business be saved by ERP systems? Are they a solution in this world-crisis?
The Coronavirus virus (COVID-19) spread has reached all the corners of the world to each continent (except Antarctica), affecting how people work and how they run their lives. It has brought out both the best and worst in people as they deal with the panic and fear in the face of a global pandemic. What people do not know often scares them, and this is why companies (the leadership) need to have a broad view, examining long term goals and how they can be achieved. For example, many factories in China (the epicenter of COVID-19) had - at first - closed their doors but are now slowly reopening their businesses, and are taking necessary precautions. Take for example Apple Inc.: China is a critical market for Apple and out of the 42 stores in China, 38 of them have already reopened their doors.
Due to the global nature and scale of the crisis we are facing, a lot of suppliers, contractors, subcontractors and clients you are working with will be more understanding if projects are delayed and if most of your team starts working from home - but first things first: you need to make sure you can run your business from any place at any time, not just from the office.
ERP systems are a godsend in this particular situation! They can be your lifeboat in the event of a Coronavirus outbreak at your company’s location as they are cloud-based and allow you to function entirely remotely. With the help of an ERP system you will be able to track all your resources (informational, human, machine, money/cash-flow) and have them readily available, just a few clicks away. Having The right fit-solutions to your company’s needs is possible.
Making sure that your employees are healthy is a basic of the Health & Safety programme measures reinforced by any HR team. Instead of your team members coming in sick and spreading the disease, make sure that they have the necessary means to do their jobs from any given location.
Offer them the opportunity to work remotely from home - making sure your business still gets the attention it needs while the employee is happy that they can rest more and not spend time in transit (where there is a higher chance for infection by Coronavirus). A cloud-based ERP system, allowing you to create and track your projects,with all information in one place, readily accessible by all team members,, is key for ensuring your company will survive the COVID-19 outbreak and any future unseen events.
The cloud-based ERP system of your choosing should be able to track projects, one by one, and allow you to view high-level details through Dashboards (setup according to your processes, allowing you to see how far the projects have progressed and how much they are worth to you). It will give you Budget Control and make sure you can send/receive invoices online and plan your expenses accordingly. The cloud-based ERP system will help you stay on budget and increase your projects’ profitability, by allowing you to make decisions in real-time.
Considering the amount of paperwork that still exists and the fact that we are living in “The Roaring 20s”, a new cloud-based ERP solution should also act as a Document Management System - helping you and your team to stay organised and have all information readily available at any time from any place. The system can allow you to grant access according to department, so each has access only to what is needed. More than one person will be able to access the data at the same time and changes can be viewed immediately, so if someone from the on-site team uploads a photo/pdf file of the job, you would immediately see it attached under the project your team member is working on. The power of cloud-based solutions is unlimited!
Reduce the number of employees that you have on-site while digitizing tasks to the max - your employees can clock-in/out on the tasks distributed to them online (even through their own phones/tablets). With a perfect-fit cloud-based ERP system,you can create in advance a Schedule of Works that holds all the tasks for your contractors/subcontractors/employees. They will be notified and will go on-site when their task is due - clock in when they arrive and clock out when they finish the job. You will even be able to track their location via GPS. Once they clock out, you can verify the hours spent on the task and approve the cost, which will immediately be transferred as an expense to your Financial Dashboard. All is done online, without the need for a Project Manager to meet with the teams executing the tasks.
Of course, your team will need to meet up at some point, with the need for other measures - washing hands and wearing masks to prevent spreading the disease - but it’s our wish to show here that a cloud-based ERP system can minimise human interactions. It will allow you to run your business as usual, by making sure there are fewer interruptions. Meetings can always be done online, through systems that allow video-calling and video-conferencing. It is true that we will always need human interaction to help things run smoother, but for the time being, we recommend precaution and looking towards the future: a future where your company is present and flourishing!