A patient is rushed to the emergency room. After a brief evaluation, the medical staff will immediately start hooking them up to IV bags, Holter monitors and the like in order to try and save their lives.
If those medical professionals are to have the best possible chance of saving their patients, it’s imperative that they have access to the right medical equipment, exactly as and when they need it.
But, have you ever stopped to think about the complex processes involved in ensuring there are always enough blood bags ready and waiting for the patients that need them?
While many people don’t even know what enterprise resource planning (ERP) is, the truth is that even something as simple as ensuring enough medical supplies are delivered before they’ll be needed, involves the invisible workings of ERP. In fact, whether you realise it or not, ERP is at play in just about every aspect of our day-to-day lives.
ERP Puts Fresh Milk in your Fridge
Think about this: in order for you to wake up in the morning and pull a fresh bottle of milk from the fridge, there is a pretty complex process that needs to have taken place. For starters, the dairy that produced the milk is not necessarily the actual location from which the milk originates. Rather, the dairy likely has to first collect that milk from several farmers. The minute that milk is collected, it has to be scanned onto the main business system so that the dairy can see exactly how much milk they have and the number of bottles with which they’ll be able to supply your local supermarket.
Payment from the dairy to the farmers also needs to be quick and seamless, so that the delivery of the milk is not hindered by network delays or transaction problems. And in order for that milk to remain fresh, the turnaround time of this process needs to be really quick, which is effectively achieved by tracking the milk’s stock movement across physical or virtual locations using lot traceability. It’s also critical for the temperature of the milk to be tested so the producers can tell whether it will last long enough to be consumed as milk. If not, it may be more effectively used as yoghurt or cheese.
But, all of these critical checks and procedures need to be driven and co-ordinated by one very smart system. That’s where ERP comes into play. The ERP system enables traceability, recording vital data on the milk’s production cycle, from purchasing through to inspection, manufacturing, stocking and sales. And it’s there at work behind the scenes at almost every touch point in our daily lives.
Essentially ERP is all about driving efficiency, and therefore, improved customer experience. And as the expectations of consumers start to rise, so even more sophisticated ERP systems will come into play.
AI has Upped ERP’s Game
SYSPRO’s latest release, for example, has artificial intelligence (AI) built into its system. This means it can help businesses make well-informed decisions in real time so that they can enhance their performance and the overall customer experience that much more.
Say a particular business supplies restaurants with perishable food items. Without an ERP system it would be very difficult for that company to evaluate what needs to be delivered where, and by what time. In fact, ERP is almost essential to the supplier’s ability to ensure those food items arrive where they need to be in the quickest time possible.
And now, with the help of AI, that company will be able to analyse which routes are the quickest, and perhaps even more importantly, it can also predict what items the restaurant will need by analysing current business trends, and ensure that those products are readily available.
The result? A far more efficient service.
At the end of the day, ERP may sound like a fancy term for an arbitrary system, but the truth is there are a million different ways it affects us each and every day.
Something to think about as you sit comfortably on your carefully-selected office chair and sip a cup of freshly-brewed coffee.