Having the right Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to help manage your business in a constantly changing environment; will provide visibility across your business allowing you to make informed decisions and remain agile.

Will we ever forget the past two years? The answer to that is likely ‘no’, sadly for reasons no one could have foreseen or made any business plan for. These years brought sadness for many families and a strain on public services, and also put untold pressure on businesses, supply chains, manufacturing processes and customer order fulfilment. Predictions, anticipated challenges and forecasts all flew out of the window.

Tackling any of the above issues would have been challenging enough under ‘normal’ circumstances, especially if an organisation hadn’t got the right ERP software to assist, particularly with visibility and access to real-time data across the business. But throw in a global pandemic, with the extreme changes it brought and associated uncertainty, even chaos for many sectors which is still rumbling on.

This article delves into how Sage X3 can assist businesses in the management of supply, processes and delivery; all critical when fast occurring challenges are thrust upon you.

Data visibility

The changes that occurred over the past years have tested supply chains and businesses to their limit. The ability of businesses to respond to changing demand, lack of materials and other supply chain pressures could have been hampered by a lack of data visibility.

Such a lack of visibility can be caused by several factors:

  • Having to consult multiple systems
  • Data locked in a myriad of spreadsheets
  • No visibility or poor management of stock lead-times
  • Time consumed trying to run and then interpret reports

Woman looking at Sage X3 screen

These factors can lead to disruption, erode business foundations and drastically affect your bottom line – as well as many knock-on effects such as reducing customer retention, capital being tied up in either the wrong stock or stock in the wrong place and the spiral of trying to manage growing issues from all of the above. But how can Sage X3 help?

Sage X3 is an ERP system that is based on real-time information, enabling visibility across the business with finance, operations, manufacturing and inventory data and processes all in one system. Whether or not you have multiple companies, local or global sites or locations, Sage X3 can manage all of these ‘out of the box’.

Data is available in real-time across the organisation, allowing you to see accurate information not just for finance but, for instance, stock levels, purchasing and customer orders enabling you and your team to make informed decisions.

Visibility drives efficiency. With Sage X3 there are reduced risk of errors, a reduction in time to perform tasks and an ability to make informed business decisions based on actual data.

Streamline processes

Business Process Management: “The discipline of managing processes (rather than tasks) as the means for improving business performance outcomes and operational agility. Processes span organisational boundaries, linking together people, information flows, systems and other assets to create and deliver value to customers and constituents.” – Gartner.

Without the right processes in place your business can descend into chaos. With Sage X3 you can stop this from happening.

Sage X3 CRM Screen

This ERP system allows you to streamline core processes to accelerate the management of business across procurement, manufacturing, inventory, sales, customer service and financials. The system is highly configurable, allowing you to configure it to support your industry-specific processes, from manufacturing and distribution to business services. You will also be able to adjust processes in the system when needed, which many businesses found extremely useful over the past year.

Sage X3 provides visibility across processes and real-time data; streamlining standardised processes across your business and providing accurate information for decision making.

Cashflow visibility

“Never take your eyes off the cash flow because it’s the lifeblood of business.” – Sir Richard Branson, business magnate, investor, author and philanthropist.

One of the many challenges faced by businesses, particularly with the effects of the pandemic, is an accurate cash flow status, and the disruptions to the global supply chain just perpetuated that issue.

Businesses can struggle to gather strategic insights about their cash position due to:

  • Inflexible software
  • Data silos (including disparate systems, spreadsheets etc.)
  • Inability to drill down to the transactional level of their data

Cash forecasting and cash flow reporting can be painful, with lots of time wasted on manual data collection and reporting. With Sage X3 you can get your real-time cash position on demand by generating a cash forecast as and when you need it based on the open items posted within the system. Define any documents you want to consider in the system, such as:

  • Purchasing requests through to receipts
  • Sales from quote to shipment

Cash flow reporting screen in Sage X3

Sage X3 enables insight into your cash position by Company or Group of Companies by bank account, unit of time or currency. Here shown using Sage Enterprise Intelligence, the Business Intelligence (BI) module for Sage X3.

Better cash management allows for, amongst other benefits, optimised purchasing. Streamline your cash flow by automating billing and credit control processes. Consolidated data delivered by Sage X3 allows you to monitor current and future cash flow.

Gain competitive advantage through customer service

Today’s customers are more empowered than ever because they can access any information about any products and services through the internet in real-time, across the globe, ‘24/7’. Combine that with the sudden demand for more and different products due to the pandemic, followed by a shortage of materials, resources and higher supply chain costs; businesses faced a perfect storm in trying to deliver outstanding customer service whilst dealing with unprecedented circumstances. We may be slowly moving out of the initial effects of the pandemic but those challenges remain and new ones are surfacing.

Without visibility across the business, it’s impossible to provide outstanding customer service:

  • Sales teams need to know inventory levels and where stock is held
  • Customer Service departments need to know issues with shipping, stock and refunds when speaking to customers
  • The factory floor needs to know demand in order to plan production

If all of this information is in disparate systems, orders may not be fulfilled on time, customer complaints may not be dealt with quickly and the right stock levels probably won’t be visible let alone maintained.

Sage X3 offers a single version of the truth across your business; each employee can see the information relevant to them in real-time.

Sage X3 provides detail of stock in all locations around the globe. If you have stock in locations that don’t match demand, standard Sage X3 functionality, intercompany transfers or intersite transfers, enable the ease of movement and management of that stock as needed.

For manufacturers, Sage X3 provides further standard functionality to enable the ability to change to manufacturing to stock for different locations instead of manufacture to order, or vice versa.

And finally, to Brexit. Some UK exporting manufacturers may already have had sites in the EU, that supply the local market. The configurability and flexibility of Sage X3 make it easy to adjust safety stock levels at each local site to allow for longer delays exporting from the UK to local EU markets.

This ability to manage stock, allow users to access information pertinent to their roles and have visibility across all of the business are the core building blocks to providing outstanding customer service.

Summary

Sage X3, as a business management system, is no ‘magic wand’ to the multiple challenges businesses face – whether exacerbated by unforeseen circumstances or not. However, Sage X3 can provide a ‘single version of the truth’ for the business, coupled with the visibility and flexibility needed to meet and overcome business challenges.

Download the Sage X3 capabilities brochure to find out how you can gain more visibility across your business.