How good is the information flow in your business?
The new source of Power; is not money in the hands of a few, but, Information in the hands of many” – John Naisbitt
Every Business is Information Business. Information is vital for every business to succeed. How effectively every company captures information, analyzes information, and uses this information is vital to assess their current performance and make strategic plans for the future. How good is the information flow in your organization?
What is the information flow?
Information flow is the exchange of information between people, processes, and systems. Companies should set up systems and processes to capture information across all their departments, locations, shop-floors, units. When accurate and reliable information is available to relevant employees across the organization, it improves communication and collaboration across departments and locations, and, they can analyze this information to make informed decisions.
What are the signs of improper information flow?
Do you face any of these situations in your company?
- You are unable to obtain information when required?
- You spend a significant amount of time in data reconciliation & preparing reports?
- You are unable to quickly refer to past records and track trends?
- You are unable to provide information to the right people to make informed decisions?
- You are unable to set business rules & companywide policies?
These are clear signs of Poor Information Flow in your organization
How ERP Software ensures good information flow across your organization?
Implementing an ERP Software provides a centralized and synchronized database and a “Single source of accurate information”. It provides a mechanism to define processes and information flow in the organization. This helps to ensure effective horizontal flow, frontline flow, and vertical flow, of information.
Horizontal Flow: Information is gathered in real-time data in digital format, & stored in a centralized system. Everyone in the company has real-time, accurate visibility of operations. This improves the communication and collaboration across units, locations and helps to implement company-wide rules & policies
Frontline Flow: ERP Mobile apps provide field staff and line employees; ability to access the required information & features to enter & update the necessary information into ERP directly from remote locations. This ensures that the information is always up-to-date and accurate.
Vertical Flow: ERP software provides Senior Management one glance dashboards, for being able to view entire business information in a snapshot. ERP Mobile apps provide various reports, notifications, alerts for approvals even when they are on the move. All this facilitates timely actions and informed decisions.
Why is it important for your business to have a good information flow?
1. Informed decisions
Everyone in the company is required to make decisions, small ones, or big ones. Accurate information will lead to good decisions and vice versa. Convert your managers into leaders. Equip them with key information, to make timely and informed decisions.
E.g. If a company has procurement policies in place and inventory control mechanism implemented via ERP, using this information, the store manager can decide when to raise a request for materials; purchase team can decide from whom and at what price to procure. Similarly, Accounts can settle the bills and clear dues without the intervention of senior management.
2. Gain a competitive edge
By keeping abreast of the latest information in your business and your industry, you can gain a competitive edge. You can trade this information to increase your revenue, or reduce your expenses or reduce risks.
E.g. you may analyze customer trends and introduce a new line of products or services which will generate additional revenue for your business. OR
You may analyze various reports and take corrective measures to achieve cost reduction in procurement costs, maintenance costs, etc OR
You can take a calculated risk of maintaining a Lean inventory and procuring a “Just-in-time” inventory when you have accurate insights into your inventory. This helps reduce inventory holding costs.
3.Improve Productivity, Speed Up Processes
Having accurate information about your processes and the cycle times, helps you carry out extensive analysis to find out areas of delays, blockages, wastages, etc and overcome them.
E.g. You may implement an eProcurement software to eliminate paperwork, time-consuming manual activities like sending RFQ, checking emails, preparing comparative statements, and follow-up for approvals. All this will save a significant amount of time and effort in your workforce. This will improve productivity, speed up processes, reduce cycle time.
4. Employees can work on value addition work
When employees routine mundane activities are digitalized and automated, they will have more free time to perform value-added tasks such as working on areas of continuous improvement to save time and efforts.
E.g. Finding alternate raw materials for improving production costs, building a healthy supplier database, developing good relations with customers to gather feedback and enhance customer experience, etc. All of this will help improve your brand image and loyalty.
5. Build a Corporate IQ
Gathering and sharing information within an organization is crucial to building the corporate IQ. When companies establish a mechanism to gather the companies data from all processes and departments of the organizations it develops Corporate IQ with data gathered over a period of time and provides an analysis of past trends. This information becomes the basis to make decisions such as identifying areas of continuous improvement, introducing product innovations, reducing cycle time, enhancing customer experience, and so on.
Good information flow is vital for every business. You can plan to build a company-wide information system to define & roll out business processes. Then you gather information from processes and provide relevant information to respective stakeholders for analyzing this information. Then, You can make timely and informed decisions to improve operational efficiency & profitability of the company.