Submitted by Larry Bellehumeur on 

For many small business owners, this posting may not have a lot of value, especially if you use a spiral notebook to keep your inventory (or like some, do it all in your head!).  Large organizations (from large enterprises to government) use these systems to allow them to effectively share information across all teams, increasing productivity while reducing duplication of work.  It makes it possible for organizations who have tens of thousands of employees, millions of customers and countless assets to function.

However....could the implementation of a massive M2M solution improve the deployment of such an ERP system?  Without a is how:

Better Customer service

How many times has one of your customers called for information and you have to tell them:

  • “Let me get back to you, I don’t have current information”
  • “I think this is accurate, but I don't know for sure"
  • “My system doesn’t have that information”

M2M solutions allow your ERP systems to have real time information (whether it is pushed from the field on a scheduled interval or pulled from the field as needed) to allow all of your service teams (customer service, sales, support) to have better information.  This helps allow you to fix more issues the first time, improve your service levels to your customers and give you an advantage over your competitors

Real time = better decisions

Your team is being sent out to a repair at one of your key customer locations.  They start to think....”what could be the issue?”  Since they don’t know, they try to plan for every possible situation, bringing tools that they may not need, not being sure that they have the right parts and not knowing if the problem will require other departments to fix.  Does this sound familiar?

If it does, an M2M solution will give you better information to make these decisions.  First, all of your teams will know what is going on with your assets while things are going well!  You’ll be able to fix problems before they happen, reducing the amount of calls in the first place.  However, things to break and an M2M solution won’t prevent every call.’ll know what the issue is, know what parts will need to be fixed and will even be able to perform things like software upgrades/resets over the air to reduce downtime.

Improve inter-departmental communication

One of the common issues among big companies is a lack of communication among the departments.  Customer service is not aware that maintenance has taken certain products off-line so they are not able to proactively notify their customers.  Sales is not warned that a demonstration platform has been taken off-line and they end up looking foolish during their big presentation......I think we could go on and on about this!

ERP solutions were designed (and do very effectively) help to improve the communication between the different departments, but they are only as good as the information being fed into them.  M2M solutions take them to the next level.  Customer service can set up alerts that notify them if something has been taken off-line, so they are aware even if maintenance does not tell them.  Sales can be made aware that a key platform / device is offline automatically, so that they can change their presentation to a key customer.  

Reduce costs while improving productivity

A few ways that M2M can improve the effectiveness of an ERP solution include:

  • Entering in data automatically......reducing clerical costs and improving its effectiveness.
  • Providing better usage inventory control get a better idea of potential usage patterns real-time, which allows them to better project future stocking service better understand seasonal usage patterns to better optimize service engineering get real-time error codes from devices to better predict failures / improve design of current/future products.  While ERP systems can do all of these things, they do it better with M2M!
  • Better alerts to finance of customer issues (so that they have the chance to modify customer invoices to reflect downtime or increased usage).  M2M also allows for faster input of data into the system, to allow for faster billing cycles (improving cash flow)

In short, ERP systems have been providing tremendous value to organizations for a long time.  There is a tremendous ROI for companies to implement these systems to improve their business.  M2M solutions allow for real-time information to be used, which takes these great platforms to a new level.

At Novotech, we look forward to the privilege of helping you with determining how an M2M solution can help your ERP deployments.  Let us know how we can help!