Retail ERP systems have the capability to produce powerful reports that give you a complete picture of your company, from historical data to profit projections for upcoming years. In fact, there is so much data available, that it can be overwhelming just to find the important pieces of information you need to make critical decisions.
There are some steps you can take to reduce this mountain of data down to something more manageable—and usable.
1) The first thing to think about is, how many reports do you really need? Yes, the ERP system can generate a report on any subject (and you are probably on the distribution list), but do you really NEED that report?
Let’s face it: You’re probably most interested in sales, costing, inventory, and transfers—about five or six reports in all. Depending on the number of stores and sales volume, different retailers may need more or less detail – but the important information in the reporting is the same for just about every retailer.
2) Once you have identified which pieces of information you actually need, take a look at the reports that are currently being generated to see if any of them can be consolidated or eliminated. Do you have a Business Intelligence (BI) tool generating some of the reports while others are coming from your ERP system? Do some reports require additional handling in Excel? Do all the reports need to be printed or can you survive with just a dashboard of data (something most ERP systems offer these days)? It is likely you will find that the number and complexity of the reports can be greatly reduced, while simultaneously making the information you need more accessible and actionable.
3) Not all reporting tools are made the same, even if they ultimately furnish you with the same data. For instance, most of the information you can glean from your ERP system can also be obtained from BI tools. While most ERP systems can generate a myriad of useful reports out-of-the box and allow even more reports to be created through customizations, they are generally not as flexible as BI applications when creating and modifying customized reports.
Make your life simpler: Cut down the complexity of your reports and look at only the data you need for your short-term and long-term business goals. This simple step will help you get the most benefit from what your ERP and BI systems have to offer – and make at least one part of your life less stressful.
Thomas Nielsen is a presales consultant with ArcherPoint. For nearly 20 years, Thomas has held leadership roles in private industry and within Microsoft Dynamics NAV Partners including Tectura and AVF Consulting, working exclusively with retail organizations and specializing in Dynamics NAV and LS Retail installation across Europe, Asia, and Australasia. Thomas holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Administration and a Master’s in Information Technology. He is a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) and a Certified LS Retail Consultant.