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Three Examples of Companies That Used ERP Software for a Competitive Advantage

Written by CAL Business Solutions on Mon, Jan 21, 2013
ERP Software Shoot out

Some companies feel that implementing a new ERP solution has advantages only for the finance department: credits and debits. In fact, the right ERP solution can give the entire company a competitive advantage.  I love hearing real stories of  companies meeting business challenges with solutions that puts them ahead of their competition.

Here are a few examples compiled recently by The ERP Software Blog:

Beverage Distributor Expands Nationally

Talking Rain is a beverage distributor based in Washington State.  What struck me about this company was the amount of time they were wasting with manual processes in their old system. To correlate customer purchases to the appropriate accounts, staff needed to manually enter the data from separate tables into a spreadsheet and then further analyze it. To perform historical analysis, employees would once again have to type information from the ERP system into a spreadsheet and then compare it to the same data from a year before. Simply extracting the data for even a month’s worth of company transactions could take as long as 15 minutes. That time really added up in lost productivity, not to mention the frustration experienced by employees.

Now that Talking Rain has installed a new ERP solution (Microsoft Dynamics NAV) all the company information is within one system, instead of on countless spreadsheets. The company leadership gains holistic insight into the business. The president of the company, Kevin Klock, says that now he has “a true, global view of the business.” 

Of Talking Rain’s 100 employees, 12 people in key roles across accounting and manufacturing are in and out of the ERP system every day.  They are using the solution for accounts payable, accounts receivable, financial reporting, and manufacturing planning and scheduling. That includes handling all inventory turnover, from initiating production orders to scheduling, consuming, and shipping those orders.

The company expects their closing time to be cut in half, going from 8 to 10 days to 4 to 5 days. Now they can perform ad-hoc reports and queries within minutes, not days. They have reduced out-of-stocks, delayed shipments, and the risk of losing invoices and orders, all of which adds up to a much better experience for customers.

They are seeing double digit growth in revenue and expanding nationally without adding additional headcount. Each person is able to be more productive with the new system. And that is certainly a competitive advantage.

Device Manufacturer Goes Green

Another great example is a device manufacturer who wanted to go green, stop using so many paper documents internally, and simplify the approval process.

This company implemented a new ERP system (Microsoft Dynamics GP) with configurable workflows. This means that instead of printing out paper documents and sending them to everyone for review, they now send electronic documents, and they are automatically sent to the right people, via email, to get their approval. These approvers can review and approve documents directly from email using a smart phone, tablet, or PC, making it possible to approve transactions even when they are away from their offices .The approvals are stored in the ERP system as electronic signatures with date and time stamps so they have proof in case of an audit.

Before implementing this workflow system the company assigned one of their inside sales reps to walk sales orders around the office for credit and other approvals. He spent about sixteen hours each week getting signatures. Now, the sales rep is back at his desk full time focusing on making money for the company. The cost of the workflow implementation was paid for in the first month with the increase in revenue generated by that rep. Not only is the company proud to be green, they are taking the competition to the cleaners.

This company managed to “go green” in a great way. 

Civil Engineering Firm Controls Project Costs

Professional services companies can benefit too. MacKay & Sposito is a civil engineering consulting firm that was having difficulty measuring which projects and segments were most profitable and they decided to implement a new ERP system (Microsoft Dynamics SL.)

By connecting the company’s entire business, including project, financial, and materials management, they have improved cash flow and profitability on a job-by-job basis.

To control project costs and maximize resource utilization they now track performance at the sector level and make adjustments to stay within budget. Microsoft Dynamics SL gives executives the reporting they need to measure their performance against established goals and focus business development efforts to maximize profits.

The firm has reduced month-end closings from five days to two days and now does payroll in only two hours twice a month. To top it all off, their estimators are more precise with bids because of having easy access to historical data; this gives them a competitive edge in winning more profitable contracts.

Did these examples strike close to home? Hopefully they will give you some new ideas of what the right ERP software could do for your organization.

Get More Great Examples

You can see more examples in the white paper: 25 Brilliant Ideas to Outsmart Your Competition with Microsoft Dynamics ERP available for download at

Too busy to read? This white paper can also be downloaded as an MP3 file to play at your desk or on your favorite mobile device.

By Anya Ciecierski, CAL Business Solutions

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