The Benefits Of Automating ERP

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Paper documents. They’re everywhere. Piled on your desk, stacked in drawers, filed in cabinets, paper-clipped, Post It-noted, scanned and mailed. It seems that you can’t escape those mountains of paperwork.

The heaps of paperwork can prevent business processes from operating efficiently. Invoices are paid late, errors are caused by manual data entry, documents are lost and who knows what happened to that purchase order.

Paper is wreaking havoc around the office, and here are the facts to prove it:

According to a Prism International study, an average of 2 to 7 percent of documents are misfiled, resulting in handling costs of $120 per document. Executives and their staff spend 150 hours per year looking for these misplaced documents.

These statistics just prove the point that paper is nothing but a detriment in the office. But there’s a silver lining to these scary stats. Research from organizations such as The Aberdeen Group, IOMA and PayStream Advisors has shown productivity gains of as much as 82 percent in companies that automate their ERP solution such as Microsoft Dynamics with a document management and workflow solution.

Here are some of the benefits of automating your ERP solution:

  • A Paperless Option: Many companies have found themselves saving time and money by eliminating paper from their AP and/or AR departments. Accumulating too much paper is expensive, causes clutter and can lead to mistakes being made due to losing, misfiling or misreading documents. A Paperless ERP solution eliminates the stacks of paperwork by storing everything electronically, making managing invoices, purchase orders and other documents more secure and more time-efficient.
    • Real world example: One pharmacy chain found the need to implement a paperless ERP due to an impending merger. Despite doubling in size, they were able to go 100 percent paperless in the new merged AP department. In doing so, they were able to keep the same number of AP employees they had before the merger due to the decrease in time it took to process documents, which saved them money.
  • Increased Productivity: Every company wants to be more productive, especially when it comes to invoice processing. A Paperless ERP solution can help a company manage more documents in a more timely fashion by eliminating manual data entry and automating business processes. This means that more can get done in less time.
    • Real world example: A steel distribution company reported a 20 percent increase in the number of invoices that they were able to process after implementing a Paperless ERP solution. Additionally, they cut their daily RNI report down from $8 million to $1 million, proving that, with the help of an automated ERP, productivity was increased and the company could accomplish more on a daily basis.
  • Improved Accuracy: Manual data entry can lead to a host of errors in a company. Automated processes limit the amount of keying-in that you need to do and manage the rest electronically, reducing the risk of type-os and misread handwriting.
    • Real world example: One company chose to integrate a document management solution to automate their ERP system and found that accuracy was greatly increased. The company has 12 field offices, and it was often difficult to keep track of which office and which accountant had invoices, and how much the invoices were for. After they automated the invoicing process, all of their invoices were scanned and stored electronically for everyone to see. This made auditing more pain-free and allowed for more accuracy in their accounts payable department.
  • Cost Savings: By reducing paper and streamlining business processes in the AP department, cost savings is a guaranteed benefit of an automated ERP solution. Invoices are more likely to be paid on time, fewer paper documents need to be printed, faxed and filed in expensive filing folders and cabinets. In addition, the number of errors caused by manual data entry will drop and procedures will become more accurate, which means more money in your pocket and less money in late fees, extra staffing and trying to fix mistakes.
    • Real world example: A hospital was able to save $100,000 per year by archiving reports generated by host computers, documents produced on personal computers and imaging files on an integrated electronic report management (ERM) system. The hospital has greatly reduced the expenses of microfilming, printing and distributing these documents while reducing the time required for accessing them to just a few seconds.
  • Timely Payments: When invoices are sitting in stacks on employees’ desks, there’s no indication as to when they need to be paid, causing payments to be made late. A Paperless ERP can help keep your office organized to ensure that payments are being made on time and that invoices are being approved by the proper person.
    • Real world example: A bank with multiple locations utilized a document management solution with their ERP and now receives all invoices at their central location. Since invoices are being processed electronically with the ERP, they can see which ones have priority and need to be paid immediately. Each invoice has a path and an approval process has been put in place so that invoicing procedures are more transparent to all branches.
  • Real Time Visibility: Searching through a filing cabinet for one specific document can take up half a day. With so much paper to sift through, you’re bound to waste hours of precious work time. A Paperless ERP solution not only helps eliminate that paper, but makes sure that you’re not spending your workday looking for an answer that can be easily looked up with the click of a mouse. Real-time results means that answers to questions and the visibility of documents is at your fingertips no matter where you are.
    • Real world example: A large food producer and distributor implemented a Paperless ERP and found that employees no longer had to look for those elusive paper copies of documents anymore. Whether they were in the office, the field or at home, they had all the resources they needed to answer questions right on their computers.
  • Go Green: These days, everyone is looking for a way to be a little more environmentally friendly. A Paperless ERP is beneficial in that it reduces paper which, in turn, reduces waste. By keeping documents organized electronically, it diminishes the need for filing cabinets packed with paper.
    • Real world example: A broadcasting company wanted to complement their green company culture with a Paperless ERP to help reduce their environmental footprint. The company offered incentives to its employees for being energy efficient, but the whole company received a multitude of incentives when they went paperless with a document management solution that integrated with their ERP.

We can’t argue with the testaments of these real-life companies that have reaped the benefits of automating their ERP solutions. Between the cost-savings and the positive effect on the environment, automating paper processes has proven to be a valuable asset to any business in any industry.

Alyssa Kadansky is the marketing communications specialist at Metafile Information Systems, Inc.

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