Mobility layers to ERPs in 2016 is what ERPs were to the industry in the year 2000. ERPs gained popularity in the mid 90s after the Gartner group presented them as the solution to all operational functions in government offices, large scale industries and NGOs. The expansion happened in 2000, when CRM sand SRM solutions took over along with web based real time management.
Enter the year 2010, mobility solutions were fast replacing web solutions owing to their accessibility and convenience. Now we are looking at mobility apps to take us to the next level of productivity and optimization in conventional industries as well as modern setups. Establishing a need for a mobility layer is not the objective of this blog. It is universally accepted now that having mobile ERP increase productivity. Some studies claim that over 76%of users have agreed to better productivity owing to mobility solutions at work.
The objective of this blog here is to discuss how a mobility layer on the top of a two or three tier ERP solution is the next big thing for your business. This blog explains how PLC apps, administrative operation apps, or inventory management, distributor management mobile apps with mobile interfaces are just as good at managing big data and more accessible and manageable than their desktop counterparts.
First let’s understand what kind of ERP solutions can adopt mobility and what industries they cater to:
Manufacturing a product or a service is the primary step in any industry. Manufacturing physical goods is very different from manufacturing software or services but all product cycles have a dedicated cycle time, from the first step of planning to the last step of execution. The most difficult task is to coordinate amongst different teams that are involved. Especially now, when waterfall lifecycles are getting replaced by efficient, parallely running processes under Agile.
Mobile apps and mobility solutions can be used for project management or for production control. These are like mobile SCRUM boards.They give cross team visibility into the processes and help teams coordinate better.Better coordination leads to better time management and resource planning. This reduces cycle times and production cost by reducing wastage in terms of time and money.
Project management apps can also be used to supervise better. Managers can thus understand pain points in the production lifecycle, apply solutions and quickly gauge results with accessible data.
Supply chain management is imperative to industries such as FMCG and Pharmaceuticals.
After the manufacturing, the storage, logistics, distribution of produced goods comes under supply chain management. At this step ERPs for Distribution management, Inventory planning, Batch management are needed. These services can be mobilised with a mobile presentation layer added to the top without making any change to the database layer and business logic layer.
Since data associated with these processes is sensitive it is advisable to keep a centralized data base management system that is highly accountable. However, the presentation layer should be mobile and easily accessible for higher visibility, better planning and round the clock management. Similarly batch management for perishable goods can also be fast-tracked using mobile solutions thus preventing wastage and saving money.
Large scale conglomerates have large scale operations and a huge number of employees. Running functions like Finance, HR, Janitorial services or Maintenance bleeds money when they are mismanaged. When a business is based out of several geographies, running these operations is expensive. Add to that, chinks like mismanaged funds, miscommunication and the absence of centralized supervision make these daily activities harder.
All industries need administrative functions to run smoothly. They make for less frustrating, happier workplaces. They also help in taking care of essential tasks such as travel bookings, employee attendance management, handling employee grievances etc.
The retail industry is one industry that’s heavily dependent on its human resources. Quality salespersons across stores and a uniformity in customer services is essential to maintain a brand image.
A classic case of how mismanaged administrative functions can cause successful businesses to fail is the American retail chain: Sears. Sears was the yester years’ Walmart in North America. In 1992 they suffered a non profit making quarter, a first after 1929’s great depression. A closer look at the issue and it was found that an acquisition by K-mart and massive cost cutting by the new management caused administrative functions to fail. Employees started feeling disengaged and unmotivated.The stores looked shabby with chipped paint and malfunctioning lighting. Like that, a huge name in retail came tumbling down.
Cost cutting may have caused the administrative functions to fail at Sears. But the major takeaway from here is that you cannot neglect administrative functions without suffering losses. Luckily, these days, quick, round the clock mobility solutions help in not only managing these functions but optimizing cost with greater insights into data and resource planning.
Mobility solutions can be built like a presentation layer atop any ERP solution. ERP solutions come in a two tier or three tier architecture and in both these architectures the presentation layer is distinctive from the business control layer and the database layer.
The best part is that even if you maintain a centralised DB, or host it on a private cloud, it can be linked to the presentation layer, not compromising the security at the database layer. As a precaution you could employ your own security measures to keep your servers and data safe. There has to be no third party involvement beyond the business logic layer except necessary data calls in real time and no storage beyond the cache memory.
Also as mobility experts we advice well researched UX and great UI to make mobility solutions convenient and accessible. Professionally designed apps can increase productivity and poorly designed apps may cause productivity to fall. Reach out to us at Affle AppStudioz for a mobility solution consultation.
We’ll cover more on mobility layers to different type of ERP solutions in the next blog, stay tuned. Communicate with us through the comments section below and send us queries specific to your business here.
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