ERP Business Continuity Planning for Ups & Downs of COVID-19

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This Company is Struggling to Meet Huge Increase in Demand During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Business Continuity Planning and the Right ERP Solution Could Help.


All across the United States, companies are facing unprecedented challenges as a result of COVID-19. Business continuity is front of mind for many CEOs as they try to keep their businesses afloat under these difficult circumstances.


Most of the focus when it comes to business continuity planning is on how to survive crises, like the COVID-19 pandemic or natural disasters. But there’s another side to business continuity that’s often overlooked: how does an organization ensure that it’s in a position to take advantage of something good? When an opportunity presents itself, how can a company be prepared to answer an unexpected influx in sales?


A Business Continuity Lesson from the COVID-19 Pandemic


During COVID-19, many of us are currently working from home, only leaving the house for much needed outdoor exercise. Looking for a good excuse to spend a bit more time outdoors, I recently decided to get a new bicycle. I’d always wanted a classic beach cruiser bike, and the current situation has given me an excuse to finally pull the trigger and order one.


But when I went to purchase a bike online, I found that virtually every retailer was out of stock. It took a lot of determined searching before I finally found a website with exactly the sort of bike I wanted—and the bicycle was actually in stock.


This company was a classic American success story. They started out in the CEO’s garage back in 2005, and had since grown to a business with over $8 million in annual sales. Their bikes were a little expensive, but given that they manufacture them in the USA, I felt like it was worth the higher price tag. I placed my order and eagerly awaited the arrival of my bike, which according to the company, would be in about 7 days.


A Disappointed Customer 


More than four weeks later, my bike still isn’t here.


At first, I felt like the delay was understandable. Lots of companies are struggling to keep up under these difficult circumstances, and I figured this business was no different. But at the same time, their website indicated that the bike was in stock, and that typically it arrived within a week.


I decided to send an email to customer service, and the auto-response I received offered a detailed explanation of what the company was going through. Since the onset of the pandemic, their inbox had exploded with more than 3x the normal number of inquiries. They were trying to prioritize emails from customers who had already placed an order, but it was still taking them up to 5 days (or more!) to respond. They’d hired more staff to try to keep up, but despite their best efforts, had been forced to shut down online orders for at least two weeks. What’s worse, an error with their outdated inventory system meant that they’d sold more bikes than they actually had in stock.


ERP for Business Continuity 


A lot of companies out there have seen a dramatic decrease in demand over the past few weeks. It’s not easy to stay in business when sales suddenly plummet.


But in this company’s case, there had been a massive increase in demand for their product due to the pandemic. It’s a best-case scenario -- except for the fact that they weren’t prepared for this sudden opportunity. As a result, they’re losing sales and potentially damaging customer relationships.


At AKA Enterprise Solutions, we have decades of experience providing businesses with custom tailored ERP solutions. I’ve seen how businesses can benefit from a scalable, cloud-based solution like Microsoft Dynamics 365. A business continuity plan coupled with the right ERP solution would have put this company in a much better position to take advantage of the unexpected opportunity presented by the pandemic.


COVID-19 has been a wakeup call for businesses throughout the country. Having a business continuity plan in place is absolutely essential—for the unexpected good AND bad. If you’re looking to develop such a plan, AKA can help: click here to contact us now.


Doubting whether now is the right time to invest in a new project? Read 3 Reasons Why the COVID-19 Era is the Best Time to Move Forward with Your CRM Software Project.


AKA specializes in making it easier to do business, simplifying processes and reducing risks. With agility, expertise, and original industry solutions, we embrace projects other technology firms avoid—regardless of their complexity. As a true strategic partner, we help organizations slay the dragons that are keeping them from innovating their way to greatness. Call us at 212-502-3900!

Article by: Amy Spencer | 212-502-3900

Amy leads the marketing team that is responsible for go-to-market strategies, messaging, and demand generation for AKA’s financial services and life sciences practices, as well as the company’s cross-industry offerings. She is also responsible for the processes and systems, such as marketing automation and CRM, that the team employs to align marketing with sales for a greater impact. Amy earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from The College of New Jersey and has 25+ years of experience driving the marketing strategy and execution for technology and professional services firms.

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