Red flags can be hard to spot. When you’ve become so used to the day-to-day and are comfortable with how things are going, red flags can disguise themselves as normal goings-on. Totally acceptable behaviour that you’d rather keep putting up with than be forced to confront.
No, we’re not talking about your relationship. We’re talking about your business software.
The system that’s been supporting you for years (maybe decades) and everyone in the business is used to. But lately, it isn’t quite meeting expectations. Instead, it’s holding you back a bit. Not pulling its weight.
Software is not always perfect – but what is the difference between needing a tweak and a complete upgrade? Luckily, the answer is pretty clear-cut. If your software is flying these red flags, it might be time to break up.
5 business software red flags
1. Manual workarounds have become the norm
Your business software is there to make things easier for you, not harder. If you’re doing too many tasks and processes outside your existing system because it doesn’t have the capability, that’s a big red flag. Still passing around pieces of paper and storing information in Excel? It’s time to take another look at your software.
2. None of your systems talk to each other
You’ve got lots of different systems and applications that help your business operate… But none of them talk to each other. So, you have to jump in and out of them and run multiple reports to have full visibility. Integration is now a foundational business software feature – so yours should have it.
3. Every time you grow, you hire
Business is doing well, with more sales coming in and orders being shipped out. But every time your sales get a little boost, you have to hire more people to fill them all. Sound familiar? Well, it’s not necessary. The right software can enable 20-30% more turnover with the same number of people. It can also offer more automation and capability directly to your customers, limiting the number of customer service roles you need to fill.
4. You keep repeating repetitive tasks
Do you find yourself (and your staff) doing the same tasks over and over and over again? Every day, week, month? Automation is one of the best tools businesses have at their disposal. If your business software can’t automate repetitive tasks to save you time and effort, it’s time to upgrade.
5. Control is slipping
In warehouse and distribution businesses, stock is one of the highest costs. As business grows, so does stock. Managing that investment is vital to the financial health of the business. Could your system help you accurately and easily control stock management and spend if it got significantly bigger, or would it crumble under the pressure?
Can you ignore the flags?
These red flags have always existed. There would be hundreds of businesses out there operating every day while experiencing one or more of these issues. However, it’s recently become much harder to ignore (and manage) them.
The global pandemic and the continuous flow on impacts (supply chain disruption, high rates of resignations, shortage of talent) is magnifying issues in the warehouse and distribution industry, making it much harder to control certain areas of business.
If one thing changes – say a manager left or a supplier had serious delays – it can impact the entire business. Purchasing management, stock management – anything you need to control inventory suddenly becomes harder.
Ignoring these issues might be ok in the short term, but staying efficient and competitive will prove difficult down the line.
What does fit-for-purpose business software look like?
Ok, so there are a lot of challenges that old software can bring. But what can you actually get if you upgrade?
Usually, red flags start appearing when a business grows, as what you can’t do becomes more obvious. However, if you know your software can keep up with your growth, you don’t need to worry about being held back – you’ll be able to scale without breaking your software or established processes.
Improved customer satisfaction
Say yes to your customers more often and see customer experience skyrocket. If your systems are living in the past, they can’t meet modern expectations of customers, and you’ll have to say no to them a lot. But swap that out for the latest and greatest modern capabilities and make life easier for everyone.
More profit opportunities
It’s pretty simple: the more control you have over your business and customer information on hand the more you can scale. Unhindered growth, better selling, happy customers, and less manual work lead to greater profit opportunities and fewer surprise costs down the road. This is important to remember when weighing the cost of a software upgrade against the potential gains/losses of staying put.
Finding the right fit
Software red flags are easy to get used to. So, every now and again, look at your systems and ask, is my software keeping up with new things (email and SMS capabilities, integrated workflow, on-demand reporting)? Am I finding myself wanting to say yes to my customers more often? Are operations really as efficient as they could be?
If you realise your business is experiencing more than one or two of these red flags, it’s definitely time to start exploring other options. A great place to start is the free ERP Automation eBook which will help you explore ERP and if it’s the right fit for your business.
While many businesses will face these red flags, not everyone will. If your software and software vendor is growing right alongside your business, then you’ll have software that will be able to continue to support you even if you evolve.
This is one of the reasons we designed HARMONiQ, a scalable ERP that evolves with your business, so there’s no need to keep upgrading (and no risk you’ll start falling behind). If you’re interested in seeing HARMONiQ in action, you can book a demo free demo here.