The Impact of Inventory Control on Cash Flow

How Tighter Inventory Control Can Improve Cash Flow

The Impact of Inventory Control on Cash Flow

A healthy cash flow is crucial for businesses, especially during challenging economic climates when many are concerned about their near-term future. In uncertain times, businesses often experience a reduction in revenue, while expenses and operating costs remain constant or even start to rise. Without adequate cash reserves, businesses may struggle to meet their financial obligations and finance teams need to go back to basics, carefully review their finances and properly manage their cash flow.

For any business that buys and sells products, inventory control plays a huge role in cash flow. It’s key to ensure that you have the necessary resources to sustain operations and meet demand, but this can result in money being tied up in inventory. If you’re looking to optimise your cash flow, minimising expenses related to buying, holding and selling items is key, and the importance of improving inventory management shouldn’t be underestimated.

Fortunately, having tighter inventory control can help to improve cash flow and if you’re concerned about the current economic climate, now is the time to focus on your inventory. Below we have explored how inventory management can help with cash flow and how NetSuite can support inventory-related savings.

The Impact of Inventory Control on Cash Flow

Inventory is a significant investment for companies and managing inventory levels can have a direct impact on cash flow.

One of the main ways that inventory control affects cash flow is through the cash tied up in inventory. When a business purchases inventory, it ties up cash that could otherwise be used for other purposes. Additionally, maintaining high levels of inventory can result in increased storage and holding costs, which further drain cash reserves. On the other hand, too little inventory can lead to lost sales and lost revenue. If a business is unable to meet customer demand due to low inventory levels, customers may take their business elsewhere.

Effective inventory control involves finding the right balance between having enough inventory to meet customer demand and minimising the amount of cash tied up in inventory. By finding the right balance, businesses can maximise their financial resources and better position themselves for long-term success.

Revolutionising Inventory Management with NetSuite ERP

Businesses can use technology to help manage inventory levels and optimise cash flow, like NetSuite. Inventory management software can provide businesses with the insight they need into their inventory levels and help to identify opportunities for cost savings. By using technology to manage inventory, businesses can make informed decisions about when to order inventory, how much to order and how to allocate resources more effectively.

NetSuite’s comprehensive Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution provides businesses with financial management and inventory management in a single system. This enables you to see how your inventory is affecting your financials, and it makes it easier to understand the impact that these two key components have on day-to-day business operations as well as one another. 

Analysing Sales Data

A popular strategy for effective inventory control is to analyse sales data and identify products that are slow-moving or have a low-profit margin. This enables you to reduce the inventory levels of those items and concentrate on items that contribute most to your bottom line.

NetSuite will help you to strategically manage your inventory levels and minimise the amount of cash tied up in inventory without losing sales or sacrificing customer satisfaction. The user-friendly dashboards make it easy to access real-time data and the consolidated reporting enables you to analyse historical data. It will be easy to track things like sales trends and margins, so you know which SKUs are profit-makers and need to be pushed.

Forecasting Demand

To prevent you from ordering too much or too little inventory, it’s essential to have accurate forecasts. When you order the right amount of specific items, you can ensure that you’re able to meet demand but you’re not stuck with unsold stock, increasing your bottom line.

When you use NetSuite ERP software to your advantage, you will have access to the mission-critical data you need to make better decisions. You can create accurate reports about inventory levels and performance, and use these to support purchase decisions. It will be much easier to ensure you have the right amount of inventory at the right time and NetSuite forecasts can meet the complex needs of different businesses.

Monitoring Inventory Levels

Having ‘safety stock’ is important regardless of which sector you operate in. However, incorrect or outdated safety stock targets can result in holding too much stock. When money is tied up in safety stock, it can’t be used elsewhere and inventory levels could be draining cash reserves.

Integrating NetSuite software into business processes can help you to monitor inventory levels and ensure that safety stock is kept up-to-date. By taking into consideration things such as historical and seasonal demand as well as supply chain predictability, the accuracy of safety stock targets can be improved. NetSuite can also calculate reorder points, helping to ensure you’re always holding the right amount of inventory.

Improving Inventory Data

To improve inventory control, it’s essential to ensure the numbers in your system match on-hand quantities. Far too often inventory isn’t accounted for and businesses don’t have accurate data, which causes an abundance of problems later down the line.

NetSuite ERP can be used to increase the reliability and accuracy of inventory data, and it will be easier than ever before to update inventory records. You can perform cycle counts as well as full inventory counts with this smart business software, and counts can be adapted to your specific needs. When you account for inventory properly, you can avoid discrepancies and make decisions based on accurate inventory data.

Reducing Fulfilment Costs

When you operate across multiple locations, knowing the location of your inventory is crucial and it can help to support fulfilment decisions. By shipping from the best locations, you can reduce shipping costs and boost your profit margins.

Using a comprehensive ERP system like NetSuite can help to improve real-time visibility across locations. You can also save a considerable amount of time and effort by removing the need for manual order reviews, and the system will automatically assign orders to the best shipping locations. Making better fulfilment decisions won’t just reduce shipping costs, but it will also reduce shipping times which can have a knock-on effect on customer satisfaction.

Working With a NetSuite Business Partner in Ireland

Ultimately, improving inventory management is key to improving cash flow and it’s undoubtedly worthwhile focusing on inventory control if you want to free up cash for other purposes. If you’re interested in NetSuite business software and you’re wondering how it can benefit your operations, don’t hesitate to contact our team at OSSM. We collaborate with businesses across a range of industries and help them to overcome unique challenges.

As a trusted NetSuite Solution Provider in Ireland, you can rely on us to deliver flexible and long-lasting cloud solutions. Our team will happily assist you with your NetSuite project and help you to establish the best solutions to your needs. We can even provide you with a NetSuite product tour to help you determine whether it’s the right option for your business.

Why not explore our NetSuite Guide?

Download our guide: Where Warehouse Management and Finance Collide, where we have explored some common problems associated with basic warehouse management systems. 

On June 20th, we will host a webinar to help businesses maximise inventory ROI with NetSuite.

The following topics will be discussed:

• Key Challenges for Distributors
• The Critical Role of Inventory Planning
• Precision Forecasting
• Efficient and Green Warehouse Management
• The Impact on the Bottom Line

See link to register: https://ossmcloud.ie/ossm-webinar-from-chaos-to-control/

About the Author

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Naren Sompalli

Naren holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from BNM Institute of Technology. As a NetSuite specialist, he is involved in implementation at OSSM, collaborating with a team of experienced consultants. Naren conducts workshops for solution implementation and delivery, providing technical support and expertise.

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Exploring AI for NetSuite

In today’s technologically advanced world, staying ahead in business means embracing the latest technologies that can drive efficiency, enhance decision making and foster innovation. Artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a powerful tool for businesses, proving to be an invaluable asset for every day operations across a variety of industries. From streamlining complex processes to providing deep insights into trends, AI’s diverse capabilities are transforming the business landscape.

Among the applications of AI in business, its integration into existing software has been particularly beneficial, especially those that aren’t as technically advanced. NetSuite continually adapts and updates its range of products to incorporate the most advanced technologies and AI is no different. The NetSuite 2024 Release 1 offers new AI capabilities and is designed to enable businesses to benefit from AI without the cost and complexity of navigating new systems. The new and improved NetSuite products are revolutionising business management, enhancing performance and helping teams achieve more.

The Role of AI in Today’s Business World

AI is more than just a buzzword, it’s transforming how businesses operate. With its ability to learn and adapt, AI helps businesses stay at the forefront of efficiency and innovation. Not only does it automate routine and repetitive tasks, speeding up processes and reducing the likelihood of human error, but it also processes large volumes of data with ease. With the help of AI, employees can focus on more strategic activities, increasing overall operational efficiency.

The application of AI ranges from automating customer service with chatbots to optimising supply chain management, enabling common business processes to become more refined and responsive. The integration of AI is here to stay and it will continue to redefine the business ‘norm’, with both general and industry-specific advancements impacting day-to-day operations.

AI’s Integration into NetSuite

For businesses already using NetSuite, the integration of AI into systems can result in more streamlined and effective operations. AI enhances various features of NetSuite, from Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) to Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and the new upgrade is being rolled out at no additional cost to businesses.

By updating existing NetSuite products with AI, businesses don’t have to become AI experts. They can continue to use the software systems they are familiar with, but benefit from everything AI has to offer. Whether it’s managing finances, sales or HR, operations can be streamlined and deeper insights can be provided, all without having to get your head around new, complex technology. Your entire business can benefit from the way NetSuite works and AI can improve operational outcomes across departments.

New AI Features in NetSuite

Evan Goldberg, co-founder of NetSuite, recently discussed the evolution of NetSuite and embracing AI with CFO Thought Leader, highlighting AI’s indispensable role across industries. Whether businesses already have NetSuite or are considering upgrading their existing software to a smart, flexible and cloud-based solution, here are some of the new AI features that can support daily workflows and improve business performance:

  • Generate Personalised Content

One of the biggest benefits of AI is that it enables more personalised experiences for users, by learning from their interactions with the system. This means NetSuite can now offer tailored recommendations specific to the needs of each business, including creating contextual and personalised content. NetSuite Text Enhance is designed to help improve employee productivity and it can assist with content creation for everything from product descriptions to customer support communications. This generative AI service uses NetSuite data to create first-draft content for employees, speeding up daily tasks.

  • Produce Forecasts

AI predictive algorithms in NetSuite now provide advanced analytics that help in forecasting trends and making proactive business decisions. This capability allows businesses to anticipate market changes and customer needs more accurately. NetSuite Planning and Budgeting now benefits from Intelligent Performance Management (IPM), which is powered by machine learning. Using predictive algorithms, businesses can monitor forecasts, uncover trends and improve predictions about future performance. AI-based analysis also enables businesses to identify anomalies and take action to rectify them.

  • Analyse Data

Within NetSuite, businesses can collate important data and generate reports that enable them to uncover insights. Using these reports, businesses can improve the decision-making process and achieve desired outcomes. NetSuite Analytics Warehouse uses prebuilt AI models to deliver deeper insights. By providing access to a collection of dashboards and quickly building reports, AI offers enhanced visibility and helps employees identify patterns and opportunities within data. Uncovering insights, such as key drivers of revenue growth, can simplify various sources of data and support ongoing business success.

Investing in NetSuite Solutions

As AI continues to evolve and become more sophisticated, its integration into business solutions like NetSuite is inevitable. It’s fair to say the enhanced capabilities provided by AI not only improve the efficiency and effectiveness of day-to-day business operations but also provide opportunities for innovation and growth. For businesses wanting to gain a competitive edge and thrive in a saturated market, investing in NetSuite products and using AI to your advantage can have a significant impact on both short-term and long-term success.

Contacting a knowledgeable NetSuite consulting partner is the best way to implement NetSuite into operations, ensuring the software meets all of your business requirements. At OSSM, we have a team of highly experienced NetSuite experts and we genuinely care about the outcomes of the projects we work on. We can guide you through the integration of NetSuite into operations and help you leverage the new AI capabilities, transforming your business’ capabilities. If you have any questions about NetSuite solutions or our implementation services, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team.

About the Author

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Roger Gribbin

Roger Gribbin is an IT professional with over 25 years of experience in various roles, involving assisting customers with selection projects for ERP, CRM, and BI, as well as hands-on implementation and project management in medium-sized organisations in Ireland. He currently serves as the Sales Director for the Noledge Group, which comprises OSSM, a NetSuite Solution Provider, and Envisage, a Sage 200 and Sage Intacct Partner.

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Top 7 Proven Strategies for Successfully Scaling Your Business

Scaling your business is a transformative step towards achieving sustainable growth and enhanced profitability. When you strategically expand your business operations, you open your organisation up to a wide range of benefits including economies of scale, greater brand recognition and increased market share.

No matter the size or stage of your business, scaling encourages innovation, attracting top-tier talent and elevating your organisation into a formidable industry player. As you continue to expand, the potential for increased revenue becomes substantial too. Ultimately, embracing scalability both future-proofs your business and unlocks opportunities for diversification. In this blog post, we have explored seven top strategies for scaling your business and elevating it to the next level.

1. Going International

Expanding internationally is a logical progression for a business demonstrating product-market fit and success in its home market. Venturing into global markets, however, poses challenges. If international expansion is on the agenda, then it’s important for a business to ask key questions about currency conversion, transaction consolidation, shipping options and costs, taxation (like EU VAT), and compliance with local regulations such as GDPR.

Adopting NetSuite OneWorld is an effective strategy to streamline your operations across multiple countries and currencies. It can enable your organisation to evolve into a global player, facilitating the transition from local to global operations.

NetSuite OneWorld enables businesses to manage multiple subsidiaries, business units and legal entities from just one ERP solution. It supports 27 languages and 190 currencies, so it’s simple to work with customers and suppliers around the globe. With country-specific configurations, you can ensure compliance with local accounting, tax and regulatory requirements too.

2. Building Processes that Scale

Achieving rapid growth necessitates a shift in operational processes to accommodate increased sales, customers and staff. For example, when a distribution business experiences accelerated success, it can lead to a surge in daily orders and the need for a larger warehouse. When this occurs, the old way of doing things simply doesn’t work anymore.

Manually downloading orders and using spreadsheets to track inventory is no longer possible. As a result, there is a need for consolidation and automation. This is where NetSuite’s solution comes into play. With this cloud-based software, a rapidly growing retailer can stay on top of all financials, inventory, order management, e-commerce and advanced analytics in one solution.

Steps can be automated in the order-to-cash and procure-to-pay processes. And, connecting sales, inventory and financials can provide valuable insights into the relationship between these core business drivers. All in all, businesses that grow rapidly need to invest in tools that provide them with real-time, comprehensive data and automation.

3. Expanding Product & Service Offerings

Expanding product and service offerings is another proven growth strategy. When executed correctly, it effectively meets current customer needs and attracts new clientele. Possible diversification avenues include exploring adjacencies, adding capabilities to existing offerings or introducing related products/services.

A hybrid approach, integrating services with products (or vice versa), can enhance revenue streams and stabilise cash flows. Another noteworthy trend is the rise of “second engine” or “engine 2” growth, where investment in a second core business leverages assets from the initial core to drive expansion.

If your business is contemplating product expansion, it’s crucial to ask questions about the problem solved for customers and why it persists, the current market and the advantages offered, who your competitors are, your organisational readiness, and how you’re going to measure successful product or service expansion.

4. Acquiring & Integrating Businesses

The fourth strategy, acquiring and integrating businesses, can pose critical challenges and opportunities for fast-growing companies. While acquisitions offer avenues for growth, they also entail risks and complexities in blending products, cultures, systems and business models. Leaders facing such decisions must carefully consider factors like deal pricing and the level of integration between the acquiring and acquired entities.

Approaches to integration vary, with some businesses tightly blending operations and others maintaining a more independent structure. Key questions to ask include the acquired company’s values, the extent of operational and data integration, and areas for mutual learning.

5. Prioritising Education Around Technology

Technology can play a pivotal role in fostering business growth. But, to achieve this, it’s important for companies to emphasise the need for comprehensive employee training on their technological systems. Effectively upskilling or reskilling the workforce has a hugely positive impact on innovation, productivity and market competitiveness.

A Deloitte survey in 2022 highlighted that organisations fostering a strong learning culture were significantly more likely to innovate, be productive and lead in product/service launches. NetSuite can address this challenge with NetSuite Learning Cloud Support (LCS), which offers continuous education to enhance users’ proficiency in the NetSuite system.

6. Tapping Private Equity or Venture Capital Investment

Entering the world of private equity or venture capital investment is a significant shift for CFOs and their companies, with growth taking centre stage. Despite a recognised need to turn data into actionable insights, a report by Accordion reveals a gap in CFOs’ ability, with only 17% deemed excellent in this area.

However, 80% of investors acknowledge CFOs’ effectiveness in using value levers for robust growth. CFOs are urged to play a larger role in identifying growth opportunities, aligning with investor priorities, emphasising key performance indicators (KPIs) and providing reliable data.

Strategic and operational enhancements, supported by unified data systems like NetSuite OneWorld, are crucial for maximising private equity returns in 2024. The focus lies in balancing cost-cutting and fuelling future growth to navigate the evolving exit market landscape.

7. Divesting to Reinvest

Lastly, leadership teams can strategically divest non-core segments to drive long-term growth. This is a move synonymous with “rightsizing” and rather than being solely about reducing costs, it’s about refining focus, structure and product mix for future success.

Bain & Company’s study of 2,100 public companies reveals that those engaging in focused divestment outperformed inactive counterparts by 15% over a decade. Essential divestment questions surround your strategic goals, the financial benefits, market favourability, deal specifics and robust data management during due diligence.

Speak to a Trusted NetSuite ERP Partner Today

At OSSM, we are a leading NetSuite partner based in Ireland, offering a comprehensive suite of NetSuite software solutions, including industry-specific software and robust reporting tools. Alongside our expertise, these solutions aim to revolutionise business capabilities. We enhance informed decision-making through the world’s leading cloud ERP software.

Our groundbreaking solutions cover financial management, inventory management, manufacturing, order processing and field service management. This empowers businesses to oversee operations in real time within a unified cloud-based platform. We are committed to efficiently and cost-effectively implementing the globally adopted NetSuite ERP system, ensuring transformative benefits for businesses.

On March 20th, we hosted a webinar discussing ways in which you can scale your business with NetSuite.

The webinar delivered valuable insights for businesses looking for a new Finance/ERP system to accommodate their expansion plans or are currently using NetSuite and wish to collaborate with a local solution provider.

See the link to the webinar: https://youtu.be/wzo2EdAnFGg

Key Additions To Any CFO's Checklist

Key Additions To Any CFO’s Checklist

Key Additions To Any CFO's Checklist

The role of a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is dynamic and demanding. This position is at the heart of an organisation’s financial operations and it has changed a lot over the years. A CFO’s day-to-day activities encompass a vast range of responsibilities, from monitoring key metrics to strategic financial planning. However, there is always more that can be done to drive a business forward. After all, the CFO plays a pivotal role in shaping the financial health and overall success of the organisation.

For CFOs looking for ways to not only improve their organisation’s financials but stay abreast with other aspects of the business and cement themselves as strategic stakeholders, we have created a list of key additions to a CFO’s checklist. While there might not be enough hours in every workday for these tasks, finding time to incorporate them into your workload can help to improve your professional performance as well as the performance of the business.

Host Frequent Meetings With Team Members

There is no denying that communication is essential in business and as they’re in a leadership role, a CFO should keep in touch with their team. To improve communication throughout your department, it’s beneficial to host meetings with your team on a more regular basis. Not only do these meetings provide you with an opportunity to support your team with any concerns they may have, but it enables you to offer coaching to aid ongoing development.

In addition to hosting meetings within your department, you should find time to stay up-to-date with other aspects of the business too. Improving communication between departments can help others to understand how they impact the overall financial performance of the business. By openly discussing with different departments how their decisions can affect cash flow for the whole business, you can ensure everyone is on the same page. Improving communication can have a positive impact on financials moving forward.

Automate More Processes and Daily Tasks

All CFOs should be using technology to their advantage on a day-to-day basis. Automating time-consuming and error-prone tasks is a great way not just to improve productivity, but boost the organisation’s bottom line. During financially challenging times, automating business processes can help to reduce the need for hiring more employees too. You may be surprised by just how many different tasks you can automate with the right technology.

It’s not just the finance department that should be automating tasks either. Introducing more efficient ways of working throughout the organisation can have a huge impact on budgets. So, new software and systems should be seen as an investment. Using technology throughout the whole supply chain can assist with everything from inventory management to faster decision-making, boosting overall business performance.

Be Proactive on Social Media

In this digital day and age, it’s more important than ever for CFOs to maintain their personal brand. Using platforms like LinkedIn, CFOs can stay up-to-date with the latest financial news and get involved in conversations with other industry professionals.

Regularly updating your LinkedIn profile with qualifications and awards is always beneficial, and you should be proactive in connecting with other financial professionals in your industry. In addition to commenting on other professionals’ posts on LinkedIn, consider writing your own posts. This is a great way to engage with other CFOs and boost your profile. Think of social media platforms like LinkedIn as a modern alternative to networking events.

Keep in Touch With Other Departments

As mentioned above, a CFO needs to communicate with other departments and educate them on the impact their decisions have on the business as a whole. However, as head of the finance department, you should also take some time to learn more about the struggles faced by different departments and the inefficiencies they’re experiencing.

Encouraging the whole finance team to engage in conversations with people from other departments can provide you with invaluable insights into what’s going on in the rest of the organisation. Simple ‘water-cooler chats’ during coffee breaks or lunches can help you to learn more about the challenges, priorities and goals of different departments. As a CFO, this puts you in a better position to collaborate with others and make decisions that benefit the business.

Provide Analytics Beyond the Finance Department

Tracking a range of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) across the business can help you to understand how the organisation is performing in real time. Not only should you be tracking financial KPIs, but there is an array of operational KPIs that can help to improve business processes and support data-driven decision-making.

Helping other departments understand the data and analytics that are available to the finance team, and use these to improve their operations can have a positive impact on the business. Providing departments with KPI graphs, for example, can simplify information and help to improve their understanding of current performance from a financial perspective. When you provide different departments with straightforward analysis of KPIs, you can ensure that everyone is working together toward the same goal of improving the bottom line.

Invest in New Technologies

Should you find that your technology is no longer working efficiently for your business, investing in new systems can transform your day-to-day operations. When trying to automate more processes, you may find that you don’t currently have the capabilities to streamline everyday tasks and this can highlight the need for new technologies. With such a huge array of options on the market now, there is a software solution that can improve every aspect of your business.

Making the right technology investments at the right time can transform the way different departments operate and in turn, the organisation’s financial situation. Implementing powerful and intelligent software like NetSuite has proven time and time again to change the way organisations do business. NetSuite solutions can improve efficiency by simplifying and streamlining complex processes across various departments. Not to mention, these flexible, cloud-based solutions offer unparalleled transparency. By bringing a new level of intelligence to your organisation, NetSuite can boost your bottom line.

As a modern-day CFO, adding the above tasks to your checklist can help you to ensure you remain a strategic advisor that’s benefiting the whole business. Remember, finance directly impacts every department and CFOs can improve an organisation’s long-term profitability and prospects. If you’re interested in finding out more about how you can use technology to support both financial management and business management as a whole, contact our team at OSSM.

We are leading NetSuite consulting partners. Our expert team understands that all businesses have different problems and our consulting services can help you to determine the best systems for your specific needs. The creative and flexible NetSuite solutions we provide can help to improve your business both now and long into the future. We genuinely care about the outcomes of our projects, and we are passionate about helping our clients implement changes within their organisation.

Click below to download this guide to the top 20 best KPI’s for your business:

Tracking Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Business Success

The Importance of Tracking KPI’s

Tracking Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Business Success

We run our business based on a core set of KPI’s relevant to our business and our industry. The value of being able to spot deviations at a glance and be able to tweak as we go means that there are no big shocks, just some small bumps that need smoothing out every now and then. Staying on track is so much easier to achieve when there is a track to follow in the first place.

Before we get deeper into this topic, let’s first of all take a look at what KPIs actually are. KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators, are performance measurements that allow businesses to track the progress of their goals and objectives. These indicators are hugely beneficial as they are used to assess the effectiveness of strategies, operations and performance.

Understanding and tracking KPIs is key to not just meeting objectives, but business growth as a whole and the more you can learn about the success of your current operations, the better a position you will be in to drive your business forward. Making data-driven decisions without KPI data can be time-consuming and complex.

Below we have shared our thoughts on KPIs and have listed some widely used KPIs that are worth tracking, regardless of what industry you operate in.

Why should businesses track KPIs?

KPIs are more than just numbers, they’re an invaluable insight into how well your business is performing and they can provide you with an accurate snapshot into various aspects of your operations. By tracking KPIs, you can better understand your strengths and weaknesses, measure progress and make any necessary adjustments to stay competitive. Having a core set of KPIs to identify areas for improvement can help you to make better changes to day-to-day operations and ensure your business stays on track.

As well as analysing your own performance, KPIs are a great way to compare your business against your competitors and industry standards, helping you to make better and more informed strategic decisions to help you stay one step ahead.

What can KPIs be used for?

There are many different types of KPIs and they can all be useful for different reasons. Most commonly, KPIs are used to monitor the following:

  1. Performance: Financial & Operational
  2. Satisfaction: Customer & Employee

Every business has a different way of operating, so the KPIs you should track will be dependent on your overall business goals as well as the goals of different departments, teams and employees KPIs can also change over time, usually as your business objectives change and they can help you to determine whether you’re achieving your current goals.

We would suggest that it’s good practice to track both high-level KPIs that focus on overall performance and lower-level KPIs that focus on individual departments. Similarly, you should also track both leading and lagging KPIs, so you’re reflecting on past results as well as predicting future results.

How do you track KPIs?

Spreadsheets are great for so many things but tracking KPIs is not one of them. They can be time-consuming and prone to errors. It’s much easier to use tried-and-tested ERP software, especially as your business grows and you have more complex KPIs to track. Solutions such as NetSuite can provide you with all of the key data you need to calculate and track KPIs. KPI dashboards can be easily set up to present you with the information you require in real-time.

The integrated reporting and analytics capabilities within systems such as NetSuite make it easy to track KPIs and reporting will be more streamlined. You can even set up regular reports that provide you with the up-to-date data you need, so it couldn’t be easier to measure success.

Which KPIs should businesses be tracking?

While KPIs will be business or industry specific, here are a few KPIs that are relevant to most businesses.

It’s recommended that businesses track financial KPIs, such as; ‘operating profit margin’ which shows the percentage of profit you make from operations and ‘budget Vs actual’ which compares your actual spend against budgeted amounts. Some operation KPIs are also incredibly useful, such as; ‘sell-through rate’ which compares the inventory sold to the amount of inventory ordered from a manufacturer and ‘perfect order rate’ which measures how many orders are shipped without issues like damage, inaccuracies or delays.

Using NetSuite solutions to track KPIs

If you’re interested in finding out more about how NetSuite solutions can make it easier for you to track important KPIs, get in touch with our team at OSSM today. We have many years of experience helping our customers implement NetSuite software into their business operations and we provide solutions that completely transform what they do and how they do it. NetSuite’s SuiteSuccess software includes a bundle of pre-built industry-specific KPI’s built on best practices that can help set you off on the right track, quickly.

As an experienced NetSuite Partner in Ireland, we match our team and their expert skill sets to our customers’ needs and we provide tailored advice to help them overcome challenges. We’ve a huge amount of experience in the Manufacturing, Services, Distribution and Field Service sectors and we can provide you with a flexible and scalable NetSuite solution that helps you to track crucial KPIs and remain competitive in today’s fast-paced world.

To get a full list of the 20 most widely used KPIs that every growing business should track, download the NetSuite business guide below.

Best Field Service Management Software

10 Common Questions We’re Asked When Businesses Start The ERP Journey

Best Field Service Management Software

There are so many advantages to investing in an ERP system and it’s something that the vast majority of businesses will decide to do at some stage. ERP solutions can manage your business and operational requirements in a smart and efficient way, and they are highly flexible, powerful and insightful. Cloud-based ERP systems are often the first choice for many businesses looking to improve efficiencies and reach their full potential.

Before deciding to go ahead and invest in a new business solution, many organisations have the same concerns and ask us the same questions. So, to help any businesses interested in starting an ERP journey, below we have answered some of the questions we’re most frequently asked.

1. We’re not a huge business, are ERP systems too big for us?

Lots of small businesses worry about implementing an ERP system, but it’s key to remember that ERP systems can scale up and down in line with your needs. When you’re choosing software for your business, you shouldn’t just think about the current size of your business either, you need to think about your growth plans and ambitions too.

The real question businesses should be asking themselves is; ‘will we be able to scale up with the systems we have today?’. Think about things such as resource availability and how many processes are being carried out manually, and consider whether your current software will be able to meet your future needs.

It’s worth noting that systems such as NetSuite ERP can give your small business a competitive advantage. Being small and staying small but being able to run your business efficiently without the heavy reliance on individuals, which can often be the case in owner-managed businesses, is undeniably advantageous.

 2. How do you know when it’s time to change systems?

Simply put, if your internal systems and processes can be improved, then it may be time to consider the move to an single platform system such as a NetSuite solution. If the delivery of your products/services is being impacted by a lack of automation, inconsistencies and errors or your team is spending too much time on manual and spreadsheet-based tasks, investing in a cloud ERP system will be very beneficial. If you can’t see your business performance in real time without spending time compiling data from various sources, this is another sign that you should change systems.

Sometimes the answer to this question is really obvious and sometimes until you take stock of what you’re doing, you won’t realise just how much you need a new system. You may even wonder how you’ve managed this far with the systems in place.

3. How long does a typical ERP project take?

This is a tough question to answer as all ERP projects are different. Here at OSSM, our clients range from organisations with a few users and basic requirements to clients with larger more complex projects. The simpler projects can be implemented in a short number of weeks, while the larger projects may take months or even years to fully complete.

Best practice would suggest that having the right team in place and the preparatory work completed prior to beginning the project will ensure that time and effort are optimised on both sides. An example of preparatory work includes documents such as system requirements including current processes along with “to be” process mapping.

Another key factor in determining the length of a project is what the internal project team looks like, and time commitment and resource availability is key to a successful outcome. There doesn’t need to be a full-time team dedicated to the project, although we have found this is good practice. However, the skills and experience of your team will come into play. In our business and when advising clients, we would always advocate putting the best team available onto the NetSuite ERP project.

Ultimately, commitment and project buy-in must come from the top down. Ensuring resources have the space and freedom to immerse themselves into the project will be critical, particularly for larger projects.

4. Should we go with a basic implementation first and then add on the bells and whistles? Or should we do it all in one go?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to ERP implementation and each project is different. Our experience would suggest that a phased implementation is the best way to implement a new NetSuite software. However, if essential processes and requirements must be included as part of Phase 1, then we will ensure that they are in place.

We have seen examples of where ERP projects were sold at a very basic level, but the core requirements of the client have been pushed out to a future phase. In our expert opinion, this is not good practice and while it might make sense from the NetSuite ERP partner’s point of view to keep initial implementation costs down, it doesn’t solve the problem for the client.

5. What skills do we need in-house to ensure a successful project delivery?

We’ve touched on this above, but you should really have departmental representation on your project team. Typically, projects are finance-led, so certainly Finance representation would be the minimum requirement. For larger organisations and more complex projects, we commonly see IT, Sales and Operations representation on the project team too. Apart from skills, experience is hugely important. Having people who know and understand your business and your processes very well is a critical success factor.

6. What does project commitment look like?

Typically, we think project commitment is about having that buy-in from the top and understanding that the individual/s on the project team will be given the freedom and space to put their best foot forward to push the project along internally. Project commitment is an investment in time and effort to ensure a successful outcome.

Project ownership is also critical. We always point out at the outset of an ERP project that we are facilitating the project for our client and that it is ultimately their project. Our job is to project manage and make sure that milestones are met, but the projects with the most successful outcomes are the projects where the client has embraced the ownership of the new system.

7. What are the key ingredients for a successful project?

There are a few points we could make that would point to a successful ERP project, including;

– Having the right project team in place on both sides

– Having a detailed requirements document

– Having a realistic project plan in place

– Understanding the time commitment involved

– Setting realistic expectations from the outset

– Great communication between client and partner

– Top quality project management on both sides

– Understanding the importance of a good set of data – this is often underestimated

8. When is the best time to implement an ERP system?

Often, the best time to start your ERP journey will be dictated by external factors, such as the existing system going “end of life/support” or timing to coincide with other internal projects. However, in all cases, there will usually be a clear cut-off such as a month-end/year-end. If you need any guidance in this regard, a NetSuite ERP partner will help you to determine when you should start implementing new software into your business.

9. Should I go directly to the ERP vendor or should I work with a local partner?

Sometimes, there is a misconception that going directly to the ERP vendor means you will get a higher calibre service or a better price. This isn’t necessarily the case though as a local partner will bring additional value-added services such as industry expertise, local knowledge about taxation, reporting and legislation, as well as being on the ground. Never under-estimate the power of the relationship.  

In the case of OSSM, we work very closely with our clients as we don’t implement hundreds of projects each year. We prefer to focus on the outcome of the project, providing exemplary implementation and support services, and having happy reference clients. Our expert team will become part of your internal team for the duration of the project and we build and develop our working relationship over the long term.

10. It’s a big investment for our company, how do we know we’ve chosen the right ERP partner to implement it?

It can be difficult to know which NetSuite ERP partner you should turn to for assistance, but having reference clients can help you get some comfort from your chosen partner. Reading reviews and testimonials can give you an insight into what it’s like to work with a partner.

Here at OSSM, we always insist on carrying out a pre-implementation scoping workshop before taking an order for NetSuite software too. This gives clients the comfort that;

– We have fully understood their needs

– They are happy working with our team

– They will be left with a detailed scoping document, which becomes the basis for the project implementation, should they decide to go ahead. If they decide not to proceed, they can walk away with the document without having invested in the software.

We think it’s important that the client is comfortable with both the project plan and our team before deciding to go ahead. From our perspective, we also look to get reassurances during the scoping workshop. We hope to satisfy ourselves that;

– We would be happy to take on this project and there is a good alignment between the client’s requirements and our proposed solution

– We feel confident that the client has the resources in place to deliver this project successfully

– There is the commitment and buy-in from the top

On occasion, we have turned down projects in the past where we felt the alignment wasn’t there. It’s far more important for us to do a good job and have a happy client rather than going for the quick win just to clock up another order.

Starting your ERP journey with a reliable NetSuite ERP partner

If you’re looking for a NetSuite ERP partner that can provide you with a comprehensive ERP implementation service, don’t hesitate to contact us at OSSM. We work in partnership with businesses to help them improve their operations with a fully integrated suite of NetSuite cloud software solutions and we can help you to overcome any problems you may be facing. We pride ourselves on supporting clients throughout their ERP journey and as a reliable NetSuite ERP partner, we will help to transform your business and even catapult it to the next level. Get in touch with our team at OSSM if you have any unanswered questions about ERP solutions.

If you are planning to upgrade your ERP system but are unsure where to start, why not get in touch with a member of our team? 

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