Vendors and service providers are needed in today’s complex supply chain. The days of complete in-house operations across the globe are long gone.
In fact, it’s more common today for companies to outsource a large portion of their in-house needs. Those who provide these services are known as vendors, suppliers, or contractors. When dealing with third-party providers, monitoring their performance is needed. However, it can be a bit of a difficult and time-consuming task that is better left to a What is known as an ERP system.
Investing in an ERP (alongside a firm partnering with a 3PL such as Redwood Logistics) is an excellent way to monitor the performance of your vendors, suppliers, carriers, and other third-party agents that help your company with business operations or services. So, what exactly is an ERP, how is it beneficial, and what KPIs can it monitor and track for logistics-based companies?
What is an ERP System?
To streamline the process of reviewing the performance of vendors or service providers, many successful businesses trust enterprise resource planning software technology to manage performance.
An ERP system is built on a centralized database that permits a business to manage the flow of information. It is a combination of individual components that permits a logistics business to oversee its operational and administrative environment. It is designed to automate many of the daily business functions used in monitoring performance. There are multiple segments within business operations that a customized ERP solution can monitor including:
An ERP can be configured with accounting tools that automate tedious and time-consuming tasks. Some of the solutions available within an ERP system include automatic invoice distribution and processing, accounts receivable, payroll, and more. This permits a business to review the performance of vendors and suppliers on a financial basis – ensuring they stay on top of invoices, payments, and more.
The human resources section allows you to maintain accurate contract records, vendor agreements, tax forms, income, and other HR specific areas. Beyond monitoring and measuring vendor performance or contractor specifics, it also keeps files organized. This is beneficial as it can be used in-house for employee HR record keeping.
ERP platforms also provide multiple manufacturing-related monitoring services. For example, a company can keep track of all suppliers and vendors associated with making the products they sell. If an order is sent to a supplier, this tool can track performance standards, expected delivery dates, and even quality control monitoring.
Even more importantly, the platform allows you to track any delays in the fulfillment or supply chain process of vendors and suppliers. It’s a powerful tool that can be used in negotiations when contracts expire.
Many businesses depend on 3PLs or fulfillment centers to maintain and ship goods to consumers that purchase online. The inventory management tools within almost every ERP system allows a business to maintain accurate inventory levels while monitoring how well the 3PL connects with customers on order fulfillment.
The Benefits of Integrating an ERP System
An ERP can be designed and configured to meet the specific needs of any logistics company. Regardless of what type or size of business you operate, it offers any supply chain business multiple advantages including:
An ERP system is easy to scale. It’s designed on a robust platform that allows customers to increase tools and user accounts as needed. This is a powerful advantage for companies that deal with seasonal shifts in sales, hiring, or retaining vendors on a part-time basis.
The ERP can be configured to run reports that are customized to your standards. This sort of organization is especially important when reviewing the performance of individual vendors, as each has unique KPIs that help you understand their level of performance.
Easy to Access
Many ERP solutions are built on cloud-based platforms, allow you to connect to the system remotely. This flexibility offers you the ability to update vendor records while visiting facilities, at meetings or after receiving documentation from other stakeholders.
Reduced Operational Costs
By automating many of the administrative tasks associated with vendor monitoring and performance reviews, you can save money on payroll. The ability to keep vendors accountable and responsible for standards can also help save money by reducing mistakes.
Want to learn more about how an ERP system could be beneficial to your supply chain strategy?