Solutions Review spoke with Wendy Dessler about paring ERP with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning and how those tools can improve the way companies use ERP systems.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) have the potential to reshape the world as we know it. Due to the exponential advancement in these areas, the world ten years from now could be nearly unrecognizable compared to now. One of the significant impacts of AI and machine learning has been the possible improvements to ERP software. In this light, we spoke with Wendy Dessler, who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. Below, she’s provided us with some effective ways to improve ERP with AI and machine learning.
Catching Problems Before They Occur
When a system goes down, it costs a business valuable resources, such as productivity, time, and money. Through machine learning, not only can the cause of a problem be identified quickly, but it’s also possible to predict– and thus prevent– a problem as well. Machine learning creates this kind of advanced preparation for ERP. As technology advances, the ability to prevent shutdowns and wasted resources will become better; diagnostics will prevent rather than diagnose.
With machine learning, you can pull tailored data to provide detailed insights and analytics on important metrics. For example, this could be an in-depth look at the buying behaviors of a certain demographic of customers so that you can tailor your offerings for better conversions. If you run an online store, the metrics you pull could pertain to how long a customer spent on a particular product page.
With the right technology, you could use this information to create a tripwire at checkout or send an email reminding customers of the object they desire. Your advanced analytics give you the power to create that will drive your business. It’s one thing to be able to pull data from a system.
Analytics and algorithms play another significant role in ERP: forecasting capabilities. By searching through the data collected, AI integrations can make predictions that will improve your ability to forecast for upcoming periods. It will be able to detect seasonality in your business, making recommendations about increasing or decreasing production accordingly. If you drill down, it will also be able to look at customer history and identify any behavior patterns, allowing you to predict future order quantities.
Besides being convenient and cutting down on the resources used to create forecasts that may or may not be accurate, machine learning and AI in ERP streamline your business processes. By manufacturing the required amount of inventory, you’re reducing the risk of over or under production. This means fewer inventory storage issues and no costly small-scale productions to make up a difference. Ultimately, AI in ERP means lower costs and higher revenue.
Improving Interdepartmental Processes
Putting an ERP in place that bridges the gap between inventory, sales, and accounting can be a daunting task—finding one that connects these different aspects of a business without flaws is near impossible. However, with AI and machine learning, these processes can be simplified and create a streamlined, centralized platform for customer relationship management, reporting, product lifecycle, and sales. The more efficient a business runs, and the less reconciliation required between the various aspects of that business, the more successful that business will be.
One of the most important considerations regarding having an ERP with machine learning capabilities is the identification of new opportunities for sales and marketing. AI and machine learning allow a business to identify purchasing behavior and hone in on who is buying what. They may find that there is a viable target market that has been left in branding and marketing schemes. By identifying this group and catering marketing efforts toward them, they may achieve greater market share and vastly improve the business’s revenue.
Identifying Inefficient Production Processes
AI and machine learning help improve the manufacturing portion of a business through integration with an ERP. AI can identify any processes or practices that are inefficient, mechanically or otherwise, and help manufacturers develop a viable solution that will save resources. The ability to predict a problem before it occurs will keep things running smoothly, reducing the risk of increased energy usage or damaged, unusable goods.
Furthermore, AI can identify processes using an unacceptable amount of energy and thus reduce consumption during the manufacturing process. Predictive diagnostics can reduce the need for test runs that also contribute to energy usage and wasted resources. In a nutshell, AI and machine learning assist the manufacturing process from conception to shipping.
Improving Customer Service with Virtual Agents
Virtual agents are the AI and machine learning tools that were once dreamed about in science fiction. With the proper integrations, they can train employees and guide them through complex processes and even provide customer service. Integrating AI into ERP systems gives an extra focus on customer service, as they can see what their customers are asking about in real-time, while a virtual agent answers all the pertinent questions. Rather than having a customer service rep handling a queue of disgruntled customers, consumers can ask questions about their order, and the AI will provide the information upon request.
When it’s all said and done, AI and machine learning can reshape a business, making it more efficient and profitable. In this modern era, it’s not whether you can afford to incorporate AI and ML into your ERP– it’s whether you can afford not to.
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