COVID-19: Thriving at Home – An Opportunity for Digital Transformation

John WaldronArticle, Blog

COVID-19: Thriving at Home – An Opportunity for Digital Transformation

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Though it has been a hot enterprise topic for many years already, in these unprecedented times, digital transformation is taking on brand new meaning.

In just a few weeks, the emergence and subsequent global spread of coronavirus COVID-19 has changed the world as we know it. Travel plans scrapped. Social and business gatherings cancelled. Factories at a standstill. Supply chains ground to a halt.

Times of upheaval are always times of radical change, and many organisations are preparing for (or are already facing) inevitable disruptions that could affect business in the long-term, including labour shortages, supply issues, reduced working hours, and lower demand for goods and services. On top of this, as governments move into the “delay” stage of their strategies to combat the spread of the virus, social distancing techniques are being encouraged (or even demanded), which include urging employees to work from home wherever possible. As such, leaders now face the additional challenge of managing their teams remotely. Most families, of course, are now quarantined in their homes together, so employees are facing more distractions than there might otherwise be — especially as anxieties run high about their loved ones‘ health and safety, the inevitable pressures and tensions of self-isolation, and the uncertainty over just how long this is all going to last.

But even as organisations embrace remote work policies to safeguard their employees, they must also take measures to protect their operational viability if they are to come out the other side with as many customers, partnerships and jobs still intact as possible. For many companies, this will require the rapid deployment of digital business solutions — powerful communication, collaboration and data sharing tools like metasfresh Open Source ERP, that will allow them to keep scaling, growing and maintaining profitable relationships with both internal teams and external partners throughout these uniquely challenging times, and beyond.

Indeed, the ability to develop and rapidly deploy workable strategies and tools for connecting with employees, customers, and business partners in the global supply chain will, in all probability, be the difference between those companies who weather this storm, and those who don’t. In other words, in the new reality of coronavirus, the imperative to digitally transform the enterprise has gone from important to urgent in the blink of an eye.

Supply Chain Visibility

Companies that have previously been slow to move away from legacy tools and processes and embrace digital transformation will now find themselves at an even more pronounced disadvantage to those who are already digitally mature. Before the pandemic struck, such slow-moving companies may not have necessarily been hurt by taking a measured approach to digital transformation — though pressures to digitalise in order to remain competitive were undoubtedly increasing. But as remote work becomes the new normal, and as real-time data into inventory, productivity, finance, workforce availability and supply chain functionality become more critical to business operations than ever before, being digitally well-connected is as much a matter of sheer survival as it is of competitive advantage.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software provides these digital connections. Its very purpose is to integrate processes, applications and data across business functions and provide a centralised, shared database that supports multiple functions used by different business units. metasfresh ERP is one such system — an agile and flexible business solution that helps organisations meet their digital transformation goals. Combining analytics, automation and big data, metasfresh ERP provides the central instance of planning, control and execution of all business processes, and can be accessed on any device with a modern browser, meaning it is the ideal solution for remote teams.

As well as being a global health crisis, COVID-19 is also a supply chain crisis. Even when the spread of the coronavirus was still limited to the industrial region around Wuhan, China, it quickly became apparent that the supply chains of many companies much further afield would be impacted by production losses there. Naturally, as the virus has spread around the world, so too has its impact on productivity and many more supply chains worldwide.

Organisations must now build resiliency into their operations. To do so, they need visibility — and the digital tools and technology that provide it. In a recent review of the situation, McKinsey & Company identifies a set of six issues that require immediate action across the end-to-end supply chain in response to COVID-19:

Fig.: There are multiple immediate, end-to-end supply-chain actions to consider in response to COVID-19

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Accelerating Digital Transformation with metasfresh Open Source ERP Software

ERP systems can provide the necessary insights and data into all of these areas — and much more besides. With the help of a modern ERP solution like metasfresh, organisations can keep track of all of their resources — material, financial, and human — by digitalising critical business data, centralising it, and making it accessible to all team members at all times, no matter where they are. Thus, businesses are not only able to continue operating, but keep scaling and growing, even in these challenging times.

The beauty of an ERP software solution like metasfresh is that it gives organisations the 40,000-foot view of everything that’s going on in the company. Comprised of a powerful suite of strategic business process management tools, metasfresh ERP integrates all facets of the enterprise — including supply chain management — into one, comprehensive information system.

Having a centralised, remotely accessible single source of truth is important at the best of times, but nothing short of crucial in the current, constantly evolving environment. Why? Because, not only is up-to-the-minute data vital for measuring fast-changing demand signals, tracking production, distribution and resource capacity, identifying alternative suppliers, securing logistics capacity, and marrying it all up with potentially tightening financial capabilities — but all team members across all departments need to have the necessary means to continue collaborating and doing their jobs effectively even while working from home as well. metasfresh ERP gives them these capabilities.

It must also be acknowledged that other companies will be accelerating their own digitalisation initiatives to ensure business continuity during COVID-19 — and they will be looking to work with partners that can match their capabilities. As such, not only do you and your remote team members need instant access to accurate and up-to-the-minute data on every aspect of your business — accounts, orders, inventory, shipping, invoicing, and other information — your customers and partners will expect easy access to that data as well so they can track and analyse it in their own systems. This is, in effect, the digital supply chain. Where the physical supply chain consists of products, the digital supply chain contains all information about those products. It brings together all the systems, applications, processes and data in the physical supply chain, uniting all stakeholders with visibility, transparency, and the ability to collaborate seamlessly — capabilities that no company can be without in these turbulent times.

Final Thoughts

Global disruption is upon us, and businesses must now adapt. Though we may be forced to keep our physical distance from our employees, colleagues and business partners to ensure their health, digital collaboration tools and software will keep us close and operational. More than this — they will be the saving grace of livelihoods and businesses that may have otherwise had to throw down the shutters for good.

metasfresh ERP will help your remote teams continue to work together and collaborate more effectively — in both times of trouble and times of growth. Providing in-depth intelligence on your supply-and-distribution systems, key insights into which employees are needed for which operations, and connecting all departments and company data under one, fully-integrated system — metasfresh ERP is your fast-track to digital transformation, helping you steer your company through these difficult times and out towards renewed growth on the other side.

Since 2006, we have been developing our metasfresh ERP software non-stop with open source components and under the open source licenses GPLv2 and GPLv3. Our mission is to enable each and every company to access a powerful ERP system that supports digital transformation and fuels corporate growth.
Despite these times of crisis, you can always count on us here at metasfresh to be there for our customers and interested parties when needed. We are happy to present metasfresh to all those interested every Thursday at 3pm in our free online webinar. Get in touch today for more information and insights.

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