Report highlights importance of ERP systems

July 23, 2013

Epicor Software Corp., a provider of business software systems for manufacturing, distribution, retail, and service organizations, has announced that a new IDC Manufacturing Insights report has uncovered how important a customer-oriented strategy is for successful manufacturers. The report also highlights how crucial enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are in helping all manufacturers improve their customer experience.

The white paper, entitled "Get Customers Inspired: How Modern ERP Can Support Greater Customer Experience," comprises answers from more than 460 enterprises across multiple sectors, including industrial machinery and equipment, high-tech, and metal fabrication, covering 13 countries.

In companies with 100 to 1,000 employees, more than 90 percent of respondents indicated that their ERP has limited, little, or no contribution toward the delivery of a good customer experience. Conversely, nearly 75 percent of large manufacturers with 5,000 employees or more indicated that their ERP is a vital platform for delivering a good customer experience as it connects the back and front office operations.

Only 30 percent of respondents indicated continued relationships were influenced by meeting product expectations, and only 6.5 percent based continued business with a supplier on their ability to support and deliver a product. Conversely, for sellers the focus is less about cost and more about delivering a good product and service to customers. Respondents are working hard to meet product/service features and function expectations (60 percent) and believe their customer will continue buying if they greatly deliver and support their product and service (29.8 percent).

"Many companies continue to describe good customer experience in terms of products or service features and functions rather than the service level that they deliver at any touch point during the entire relationship," said Pierfrancesco Manenti, head of IDC Manufacturing Insights research practice in Europe, Middle East, and Africa. "This includes, for example, the ability to deliver the perfect order — right quality, quantity, location, and due date — and the range of aftermarket services supporting the initial product. An enhanced customer experience paves the way for customer loyalty and longer-lasting relationships between supplier and purchasers — a win-win situation for all parties."

The research also uncovered that manufacturers can improve the customer experience by investing in a modern, fully integrated, flexible ERP system that streamlines operational processes and connects back office with front office by offering integrated CRM, warranty, and aftermarket functionality, according to Epicor.

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