Article Series

Pandemic Exposes Cracks in Retail Technology

Crack 1 – ERP System Fitness

Oct 22, 2020
   |   by 
Rick Boretsky

The pandemic has forced many retailers to the realization that the foundation of their system is negatively affecting their competitive effectiveness. In this blog series, we explore five cracks in the system foundation that might be holding you back. The first is the fitness of your ERP system.

Your ERP system may have been getting long in the tooth before the pandemic. Now, with changing retail consumers, these limitations and endless workarounds might be causing real pain and competitive disadvantage.

Is it time to consider replacing your legacy ERP? Or can a clever team provide effective alternative strategies?

To help take an objective look at its fitness, consider the state of your ERP by evaluating the following:

Accuracy – Can you count on inventory accuracy down to SKU location level?

Robustness – Can you update your ERP dynamically or within a reasonable delay?

Flexibility – Can you maneuver your pricing and promotional activity without system constraints?

Scalability – Can you take your ERP across borders, into new store brands, and/or digital strategies?

Responsiveness – Can you interact with your suppliers to modify plans and order commitments based on market realities?

Extensibility – Can you easily leverage your key enterprise tables such as product, location, inventory, and customer to keep pace with digital innovation?

We have found that a clear-eyed assessment of your ERP will result in clarity on its fitness to take on the challenges of pandemic retailing. We deploy three strategies to address our clients’ ERP shortcomings:

Strategy 1. BANDAID. First, you must identify the pain. Is it pricing, scaling, inventory accuracy, or the need to expand into new opportunities? RIBA-Aydept has spent several years shoring up ERP weaknesses for many retailers.

Sometimes we change the code or find good workarounds. Other times we will stand up a whole new version of your legacy ERP to address a new opportunity. But while the Bandaid approach can often be effective, it can also be perilous, leading to unintended consequences or discontinued support.

Strategy 2. SURROUND. In this strategy, we work with our clients to encircle the legacy ERP with point solutions that address shortcomings. For example, we developed our PO Express application to fully address the dynamic workflow between our clients’ merchants and their suppliers.

In the retail software marketplace, you’ll find an abundant selection of best breed point solutions that can enhance your aging ERP; Pricing automation, Mobile POS, Mobile Apps, Planning/Allocation, Analytics, AI, RFID, Product Life Cycle Management, Forecasting, Replenishment, and many more.

We can help integrate your legacy ERP with Best of Breed, surrounding the patient with new and powerful limbs while the old heart keeps pumping.

Strategy 3. REPLACE. This strategy can seem daunting and high risk, especially now when business outcomes are so unpredictable. But you can replace your ERP project in the hands of an experienced team with disciplined project management and masterful data integration. RIBA-Aydept will help with the system selection in a simplified RFP approach, right through implementation and integration. Our message is that ERP replacement may not be as costly as you think. What is really at stake for most ERP replacements is nothing less than competitive viability.

RIBA-Aydept is fully competent to discover the right strategy for you. Simply put, our data integration team and disciplined project managers hold the promise of better outcomes at less risk and cost. We’re available to help retailers of all shapes and sizes tool up for the era of pandemic, which is likely to change retailing forever.

Our next blog in this series addresses what every pandemic retailer needs: a fully integrated order management system.

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