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Is your business ready for an ERP solution?

Implementing an ERP solution is something you’ve probably considered at some point for your business. It’s a smart, strategic investment – and a good one doesn’t come cheaply or easily. But the advantages of investing in the right ERP solution at the right time can be invaluable, perfectly positioning your business for growth and expansion.

Your business doesn’t need to be in distress to warrant an ERP solution. Quite the opposite, most businesses are doing well when they choose to switch because even though they’re growing, with an ERP platform in place, they could be growing even faster.

So how do you know when you’re ready to be considering an ERP solution for your business? By working with a number of businesses around Australia and New Zealand, I’ve noticed these tell-tale clues that signal that a business is ready to benefit from ERP software.

I’m sharing three of them in this blog:

  1. You’re not able to get the business data you need quickly and easy.
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1 Without easy and quick access to business critical data, you’ll lack the information you need to plan strategically for the future

 

Either your current systems aren’t tracking the information you need, the data is inaccurate, or difficult to extract. By not being able to access the right information at the right time, such as stock on hand, or monthly sales performance, you have little or no ability to get the business-critical data you need to forecast and plan strategically.

With the right ERP solution, you can get a holistic view of business operations at any time to help you plan more effectively for the future. Other members of your staff will also have access to the information they need to better serve customers and make more sales. For example, with an ERP your sales team will have access to a customer’s full order history, and be able to proactively find more opportunities for upselling and cross-selling other products in your range.

  1. Your current systems don’t support more complex activities.
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2 Multiple systems and databases make complex tasks even more difficult for staff tasked with manually configuring them.

 

You constantly find that your current systems are incapable of handling more complex tasks – such as forecasting, generating purchase orders, KPI generation, or import costing. Your team is having to repeatedly carry out this tasks manually, or find and master new tools to help them complete these activities – wasting valuable time, energy, and resources. Overall, your current system can no longer support vital business activities and is negatively impacting your growth.

An ERP solution integrates your business processes into one platform. So if it’s taking your staff ages to find, consolidate, and analyse information to perform more complex tasks – it’s already simpler if all the information is in one database. What’s more, the right ERP solution should be able to crunch the numbers and automate these processes for you – saving your staff time, but also providing you with more accurate outputs.

  1. You lack the resources to handle what your current system can’t.

 

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3 Don’t rely on short term band-aid solutions, it’ll result in a lot more trouble down the track.

Many businesses try to avoid implementing an ERP solution by hiring more staff or installing additional add-on systems when they need new functionality. Eventually, this approach is guaranteed to result in more pain than gain.

Constantly hiring and training additional staff to do work that is best left to software will eventually lead to low staff morale and high staff turnover. Resulting in even higher HR costs to your business. Installing smaller, add-on systems to alleviate some of the growing pains is also a short term solution. Eventually the IT costs of integrating and maintaining these systems will catch up with you. And you’ll also have to invest in training staff to use multiple different systems.

Rather than adding more staff and software to an already ineffective system – you’re better off considering an ERP solution that can be customised to grow with your business.

If you’re experiencing these challenges in your business, it might be time to consider an ERP solution. If you’re looking for something that’s customisable, powerful, yet user-friendly – consider HARMONiQ.

HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software is an all-in-one ERP solution that includes financials, inventory, sales, marketing, and more.

  • With advanced reporting functionality, HARMONiQ can easily generate the data you need for forecasting, KPI generation, and more.
  • HARMONiQ is built with a beautifully designed interface that’s user-friendly. Empower your staff with all the tools they need to grow your business and better serve your customers, including workflow automation, targeted marketing, and built-in customer relationship management software.
  • Business growth is not an issue. HARMONiQ is built for the long-term, so you can add to and customise your platform as you grow.

To see all this in action, book in a demo. We’ll take you through a customised demo, showing you exactly what HARMONiQ could achieve for your business. Click here to tell us what you’d like to see more of.

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If you want to gain better control of the sales processes in your business, click here to organise a demo to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to your business.

4 ways Australian businesses are leveraging process automation for competitive advantage

In competitive industries such as manufacturing, distribution, or wholesale businesses, continuing to rely on how things have always been done can be the fastest way to being left behind. This is why many Australian businesses are leveraging process automation.

While operational change can be daunting – it can often involve a significant investment of time and finances – the benefit of updating your processes and leveraging the right technology, greatly outweigh such costs.

While working with many Australian businesses to help them take some innovative steps towards leveraging process automation, I’ve observed some impressive examples of how they are using technology for a competitive advantage by:

  • Increasing staff productivity;
  • Streamlining their reporting;
  • Better managing suppliers; and
  • Improving customer satisfaction.

I’ve compiled a few of them here, so you can find out how to spend less time on manual and administrative tasks, more time on income-generating activities, and also become more effective at driving revenue for your business.


If you’re looking for new ways to be leveraging process automation, why not join the Automate Your Business Workshop in your state. Registration is free – and in two hours we’ll cover how to:

  • Identify the key areas of your business that will most benefit from automation
  • Minimise lost sales and unnecessary costs by eliminating a few manual processes
  • Automate marketing and communications while retaining a personal touch; and
  • Improve your strategic decision making through increased visibility and accountability in your business.

Register in your state now:

  1. Brisbane – 26th July, 3PM to 5PM
  2. Melbourne – 27th July, 3PM to 5PM
  3. Sydney – 28th July, 3PM to 5PM
  4. Perth – 11th August, 3PM to 5PM

Register Now


Here are 4 clever ways businesses are leveraging process automation to their advantage:

  1. Use systems that integrate rather than isolate

While I’ve just talked about how technology is the best way to improve efficiency in your business, it’s important to remember that the wrong technology can also be your downfall.

While it may be necessary to have a variety of different systems providing point solutions, having multiple systems working in isolation can create a range of inefficiencies, such as having to:

  • Import and exporting data between systems;
  • Enter the same data multiple times;
  • Deal with errors and inconsistencies; and
  • Make decisions without whole-picture visibility of your businesses.

Businesses that use software that integrates all aspects of the business (accounting, inventory management, customer service, eMarketing, etc.) can easily identify, and eliminate instances in which staff duplicate their efforts, make errors, or repeat data entry. It also provides staff the opportunity to use a single sign on. So you can minimise time wasted on these mundane and easily automated tasks.

Ask your software vendors if they can offer you the ability to automate the integration of your key business systems. While this is not the ideal solution – managing multiple integrations between solutions can become quite tedious as a business grows – it can make a real difference in the short term.

If your software vendors can’t deliver such integration, or you want to get it right from the word go, ensure that any business management system you implement provides a single platform for all your key functions to achieve optimum efficiency, visibility, and control.

  1. Outsource your reporting – to your software!

Monitoring your KPIs through robust reporting is a great way to ensure your business stays on the right. But to do this, you often need to dedicate significant resources towards data compilation and analytics.

However, savvier businesses know that this doesn’t always have to be the case. You no longer require a full-time staffer to crunch the numbers, conduct analyses, and keep you on track. You can make your business management software do it for you!

By making full use of their reporting tools, leading businesses generate reports to ensure their financials are on track, to hold sales staff accountable for their targets, and to generate pipeline analytics. So not only do they track how they’ve done in the past, they also use data to plan intelligently for the future.

If you already have a business management system, make sure you’re fully utilising your range of reporting tools. If not, make sure that a strong reporting and analysis capability is part of what you demand in your next business management software investment.

  1. Proactively encourage better service from your suppliers

In industries such as your own, it’s quite common to deal with numerous suppliers every day. And I’m sure you’ll agree it can be quite laborious to chase them up every time you’re out of stock, or they’re overdue on their deliveries.

Best-of-breed businesses have found ways to simplify this altogether. Here are a couple of examples of how businesses have leveraged their software to manage their suppliers more proactively:

  • Whenever they are out of stock, the system will automatically trigger an email to the supplier, and can even send reminders if the shipment if not received by a certain date.
  • Another solution is to set up a DIFOT (Delivery-In-Full-On-Time) report that ranks suppliers according to their performance. The right system should not only automate the generation of the report for you, but can also send a notification to your suppliers to keep them motivated to deliver the best service to you.

These are a few examples of set-it-and-forget-it tasks that can encourage improvements in the level of service you get from your suppliers, while also saving time for your staff. And of course, while this particular example relates to supplier relationships, this is far from the only application for such automation.

  1. Keep your customers engaged with regular communication at minimal effort

Businesses frequently rely solely on staff to action follow-up tasks and respond to customer enquiries, but on occasion, a task will fall through the cracks, an opportunity will be missed, and your customer service record may be compromised as a result. In a situation where you depend heavily on referrals and return business, this can be a serious problem.

This is where I’ve seen businesses that use their CRMs (Customer Relationship Management systems) intelligently achieve significant advantage in customer satisfaction. Some examples of what they do:

  • Automatic follow-ups to quotes;
  • Targeted emails to touch base with existing customers every few months; and
  • Prompt repeat business by triggering personalised follow-up emails to customers who have deviated from their usual buying habits.

By using a CRM to automate these tasks, you could be saving time and effort for your staff, while also continuing to maintain meaningful relationships with your customers and driving increased sales!

As strong advocates for automation, we’ve helped businesses leverage technology to increase their efficiency and profitability with our HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software.

HARMONiQ is a unique platform that gives you:

  • Integration between various aspects of your business by incorporating accounting, inventory management, sales orders and customer relationship management modules into one easy-to-use solution;
  • The ability to track key performance metrics, as well as pipeline analytics, allowing you to forecast your outcomes and make more informed decisions;
  • Visibility over inventory and supplier performance, and allows you to automate tasks such as generating alerts for out-of-stock items or late deliveries; and
  • Automation of simple selling and sales support tasks, such as sending follow up emails for quotes, or setting reminders for follow up calls.

These are just a few of the ways HARMONiQ can help you optimise your business processes. As a truly customisable and scalable software, you can leverage HARMONiQ to drive significant efficiencies, while also ensuring that the software will continue to grow alongside your business.

If you would like to discuss how you can start leveraging process automation and other great technology to achieve significant efficiency improvements in your business, please call me on 02 9542 2000.

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems, and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If you want to gain better control of the sales processes in your business, click here to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to your business, or click here to get in touch.

Business process automation: How to get the most out of your staff

Some business owners seem to regard business process automation with suspicion – they don’t want to see their companies taken over by bots…

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But in reality, without the ‘bots’ many of the world’s biggest, most profitable companies would never have got where they are today.

When business process automation is well-planned and implemented, results show that it vastly improves productivity, makes staff happier – and brings down your costs.

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I’ve seen some great examples of business process automation done right in Australia and NZ, and I want to share them here.

Here are 2 important ways business process automation can help you get the most out of your staff.

  1. Use business process automation as a tool to empower staff

Smart automation isn’t about replacing staff in your business – it’s about freeing up their time by eliminating manual, repeatable tasks. By taking these mundane activities out your staff’s day, they can concentrate on tasks that require their personal expertise, face-to-face interactions, or innovative thinking. These are the things that automation just can’t do, but can really make a difference to the revenue generated for your business.

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So how do you do it? Firstly, look for business management software that brings all aspects of the business into one system, because it instantly makes staff more efficient – they only have to enter data once, and then it’s replicated across the business.This also works wonders for minimising human error and duplicate data.

Sophisticated workflow functionality in your business management system will also allow you to automate simple tasks like sending quote follow ups on behalf of your sales team. While this is a relatively simple workflow, it’s a crucial step in ensuing that no opportunities fall through the cracks.

HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software is an all-in-one system that allows you to automate processes around accounting, inventory, sales, marketing and reporting. It has both simple and complex workflow functionality to help you get the most out of business process automation.

  1. Replicate best practices across the business

Business process automation doesn’t have to be limited to technical, mechanical tasks. You can even automate customer service or sales procedures.

Many companies invest quite heavily in building great customer service processes for their business according to best practice, but then struggle to achieve consistency across multiple offices, teams or staff members.

To overcome this, you can actually build these best practice processes directly into your business management system – so that your staff know what steps to take in any scenario, eliminating poor decision-making due to insufficient training, or rash actions made in the moment.

HARMONiQ allows you to do this for almost any scenario. One example could be when a customer lodges a complaint. You can set up a process that would immediately alert the key account owner and the director of the company. This will then trigger a task for the director to get in touch personally to sort out the issue. The process can even be automated to send the customer a discount or voucher for their next order – whatever the best next step is!

So to summarise:

  • Ensure you automate with the mindset to empower your staff, not replace them. Eliminate the manual, tedious tasks to let them dedicate more time for revenue-generating activities.
  • Leverage automation on important, but manual tasks to ensure they’re done right every time. The ‘bots’ can help keep your business on track.
  • Use pre-built workflows to ensure your staff replicate best practices in everything they do and uphold your business values in every interaction.

And finally, don’t be the last to automate. Businesses, both big and small, are embracing process automation and seeing the benefits. Don’t let your competitors leave you behind.

HARMONiQ is a powerful platform for your business, allowing you to:

  • Empower your staff with staff with one source of truth for all data, and great tools for automating follow-up tasks and increasing efficiency.
  • Easily segment and assign contacts and accounts, including visibility of all communication and activities against any client record.
  • Build both complex and simple workflows directly into your platform, making all best practice processes accessible and repeatable across the whole team.

If you’d like to find out how Australian and NZ businesses are using HARMONiQ CRM to achieve process automation – let me know. I’ll organise a quick demo to show you some of the great things HARMONiQ can do for your business.

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Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If you want to gain better control of the sales processes in your business, click here to organise a demo to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to your business.

4 ways the right business management software can help you deliver the best possible customer experience

The skill every company wants to master is excellent customer service. Because once you’ve got someone hooked on a great customer experience, they’ll keep coming back for more.

However, if they’re disappointed with your service? Most disgruntled customers probably won’t even complain – they’ll just leave. And what may result is an unexplainably dwindling customer base, a drop in (or disappearance of) referral business, and a reduction in the lifetime value of a customer.

But there’s a simple way many businesses have turned that around:

There are many, many opinions on what makes a company truly great at customer service. Having worked with wholesalers, distributors and large retail companies across Australia and NZ, I’ve seen some really great examples of stellar customer service. And if you asked me what they were doing right, I’d say…

…it’s not just the product, or the people they hire, or even their training programs:

It’s their technology.

The most innovative and forward-thinking companies are fully embracing all the ways technology can help bridge gaps in their customer service – and being quite clever about it.

Here are 4 ways the right business management software can help you deliver the best possible customer experience.

1. Don’t just be good, be consistently good.

No matter what anyone says, the real secret to excellent customer service is consistency. If your customer’s experience is volatile, good on some days and terrible the next, it’s likely to reflect poorly overall.

You might have invested heavily in building great customer service processes according to best practice, but you’re struggling to achieve consistency across multiple offices, teams or staff members.

From my experience, the companies with the most consistent customer service have business management software with built-in customisable workflows that ensure all staff follow a proven process that delivers a great customer outcome each time.

This allows a business to not only design a unique customer experience process to match their brand and company values, but most importantly, makes sure it gets reinforced and followed every time.

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Don’t leave your customer service to chance. Empower your staff to deliver exceptional customer service by investing in building great processes directly into their day-to-day software.

So for example, if you’re onboarding a new customer, your staff will have a process built directly into their software telling them exactly which steps to take. You could trigger a pre-built welcome email from the CEO after the initial onboarding, or a follow-up email to see if they’re happy with the service after they receive their first order.

If you empower your staff with great processes and a business management system that guides them and holds them accountable, then consistently good customer service suddenly becomes a breeze.

 2. Arm your staff with reliable and centralised data

Most companies collect mountains of data about their customers. They know what makes them tick, what they buy, and how often they buy it. What most companies can’t do is make meaningful use of any of this information. Why? Because it is stored in a multitude of locations – in different software, on a range of spreadsheets, or even simply in the memories of your sales people.

Without one centralised location, data is stored in a multitude of locations – whether it be software, spreadsheets, or in the memories of your sales people.

Without one centralised location, data is stored in a multitude of locations – whether it be software, spreadsheets, or in the memories of your sales people.

By storing all this information in one centralised system, it instantly streamlines every interaction you have with your customers. So it doesn’t matter which customer calls up, or which customer service rep takes that call, they’ll always be armed with the most up-to-date information regarding that account.

To drive real centralisation in your business, look at implementing an all-in-one business management platform. These systems automatically integrate data from all aspects of the business everything, from Accounting to Inventory, and Marketing, giving you and your staff one source of truth for all customer information.

3. Embrace the automated responder

One thing most customers really hate is when a company takes too long to reply – or worse, fail to reply at all.

Now no business ever intends to annoy their customers by doing this – in reality, their follow-up processes are just too complicated and time-consuming. Moreover, staff have no visibility over who has been responded to, and who hasn’t – leading to a few unlucky prospects being completely overlooked.

More and more companies are embracing automated responses to remain responsive to customers, but at scale, ensuring every enquiry is followed up.

Automated responses give your buyers the answers they need, when they need it, rather than having to wait for hours or days for a response from your team – and that can make all the difference.

Automated responses give your buyers the answers they need, when they need it, rather than having to wait for hours or days for a response from your team – and that can make all the difference.

The right software platform will allow you to record every enquiry that comes in, assign it to the correct account, and automatically notify a staff member to respond. You can even go a step further and program an automated response, such as a quote follow-up for small deals, to automatically send a personalised response to each relevant customer or prospects.

Not only will it provide your customers with a seamless experience and a realistic expectation of when they can receive a response, but it’ll also buy your sales people a little time to concentrate on the bigger and more valuable deals.

4. Make things personal

Nothing improves a customer’s experience like making them feel like an individual among the masses. However, this can be a challenge – especially when you have hundreds or thousands of people in your database.

A good place to start is by populating all your communications to your customers with a few details, such as a name or company name – especially your automated responses. These simple touches can make a huge difference in how they engage with your content.

Even the smallest personal touch can make a huge difference for your customers – and the right software will make it too easy to pass up.

Even the smallest personal touch can make a huge difference for your customers – and the right software will make it too easy to pass up.

The right business management software should also let you segment your databases to tailor your messaging for your customers. So you can send targeted messages to customers based on where they’re located, what product they buy, or when they’re likely to be due for a re-order.

So, to summarise: Best in class businesses are achieving consistently exceptional customer service by putting clever technology to work for them. You can do the same by:

  • Leveraging pre-built workflows for specific customer service scenarios (like the onboarding process, or after the first purchase) to ensure that the process is completed consistently every time, delivering a high level of customer satisfaction
  • Capturing your customer information in a centralised location that is accessible to your whole team, empowering them with the information they need to drive more value from your customers, while delivering far better customer service than before.
  • Automating the simple things (like quote follows up, and thank you emails) – to help you be more responsive to your customers, and to take the pressure off your staff to do everything themselves.
  • Combining your customer knowledge with sophisticated communication tools that can help you talk to your customers like the individuals that they are, but at a far bigger scale than you could do on your own.

I’m sure you’ll agree that customer service is not something you want to leave to chance. So if you’re serious about making improvements in how you engage and sell to your customers, and are looking for a software solution for the job, let me introduce you to HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software.

HARMONiQ is a unique platform that allows you to:

  • Build both complex and simple workflows directly into your platform, making all customer services processes accessible by all staff.
  • Provide your staff with one source of truth for all customer information, and an easy way to manage their follow-up tasks and provide personalised customer service every time;
  • Automate simple selling and sales support tasks, such as sending follow-up emails for quotes, or setting reminders for follow up calls to ensure no customer gets left behind; and
  • Seamlessly segment your contacts, create targeted marketing lists, and ensure your contacts get emails with messages targeted specifically to them, complete with personal touches such as First name and Company Name.

These are just a few of the ways HARMONiQ can help you optimise for exceptional customer service. As a truly customisable and scalable software, HARMONiQ ensures that the software will continue to grow alongside your business. To learn how else HARMONiQ can help you optimise for exceptional customer service, click here to organise a demo.

If you would like to discuss how you can start leveraging great technology to deliver exceptional, consistent customer service, please call me on 02 9542 2000 or email me at drew@micronet.com.au.

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If you want to gain better control of the sales processes in your business, click here to organise a demo to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to your business.