You may have come across the terms ‘MRP software’ and ‘CRM software’ before, and they have taken on different meanings for different people. Both are powerful tools, and when integrated together with management reporting in cloud software platforms, offer an even more effective management solution for SMEs.
MRP, or materials requirements planning is the name for tools that help you plan which parts/components/products you’ll need available to meet demand for kitting / manufacturing / assembly. In particular, it should help automate the process of identifying potential shortages so that these can be address before they become a bottleneck. Shortages typically result in delayed completion of a build and or dispatch of an order.
Not only does this delay let the customer down, but it will also result in additional labour costs.
Delayed jobs typically have to be shelved whilst the missing item is sourced, and then restarted. Other jobs have to be rescheduled and plans changed, eating up peoples time, and resulting in other delays.
MRP software that includes stock/inventory management features can help you avoid these problems, and also streamline the administration of purchase orders, good received and invoice reconciliation. In addition many modern MRP systems will link directly to an accounts package such as Xero, Quickbooks Online and Kashflow and Sage, removing the need for time-consuming rekeying of data.
MRP and Stock Management systems will let you track stock movement history, stock valuation, set minimum order quantities and minimum stock levels. In addition MRP can act as Supplier Management System, handling approved suppliers, linking multiple suppliers and prices to a part/component/material, and providing reports on the supplier performance. With manual systems, it can be hard to track how often supplier deliveries are late, or incomplete. Modern MRP software with integrated purchase order processing will let you access this information instantly, so that you can address problems with suppliers early.
CRM, or customer relationship management software comes in many different shapes and sizes. In essence a CRM should allow you to store and update your customer information and interactions.
Today CRM has evolved to include business processes, and there are CRM systems that cater to specific industries such as manufacturing, equipment dealers and distributors. CRMs should help your team stay on top of new sales enquiries, qualified opportunities, quotations and orders. Most good CRMs include Task management features so ensure that follow-ups are not missed.
For plant/equipment manufacturers and dealers, a cloud CRM software solution will also include an asset register, a record of all serial numbered products sold. The equipment asset register can link a product to a customer, store it’s location, warranty date, and maintain a record of service calls and jobs for each machine.
Integrated CRM and MRP systems offer additional advantages. For a start you will pay less than having 2 separate systems, but more importantly, the integrated business processes will allow you to manage end to end customer journeys, from initial enquiry, to quotation, order, purchasing and scheduling, build and/or dispatch, invoicing, and onwards to servicing and asset management.
Flowlens integrated cloud CRM and MRP software is on such solution. Watch our webinar to learn more and request a trial.