The Ever-Expanding Scope of ERP Reporting in 2014

Users of ERP systems want to be driven by data. They are looking for objective evidence of trends and one of the areas where ERP reporting evolves is in the use of statistics. Not just ‘How many did we sell”, but what has been the average number sold recently compared to last month. Where was last month compared to the trend of recent sales? Can we find a correlation between sales of that product with another reliable statistic?

One of the main purposes of reports is to aid in decision making. At the executive level ERP reporting can now arm the top managers with trends and data both within and outside of the organization. This supports choices such as whether to invest in a new expansion plant or to sell in another country. Reports can also use objective data to lead a buyer to place an order with supplier A or supplier B.

The Ever-Expanding Scope

Businesses are aiming today for increased collaboration with customers as well as suppliers. Sometimes a business will collaborate with a competitor if a piece of some business is better that no business at all. Increasingly reports are shared in the cloud. Data is kept where partners can all access the same data and develop meaningful reports each from their own perspective.

There are many types of reports we all use. Some are so commonplace we might not think of them as a report, but the invoice we deliver is not just a form, but a true report. It contains specific data related to a transaction and is customized for appearance and possibly even as a marketing tool on the side.

Users of ERP systems want to be driven by data. They are looking for objective evidence of trends and one of the areas where ERP reporting evolves is in the use of statistics.

We all have recurring reports. These are shown to us regularly at meetings around the first of any month. These are what most people think of when they use the term “report”.

There is something we want to look at carefully today. How do we get our data? We create an ad hoc report. Often these will have several iterations until we capture the information we want excluding other non-important data.

Dashboards are becoming an important style of ERP reporting. These might be the daily KPI that the mahogany row folks wait for. They also might be the ongoing progress of a project or a summary of hours worked in your department this week. These can be generated with the touch of a key as needed or designed to refresh every few minutes automatically.

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Tom Miller

About the author…

Tom completed implementations of Epicor, SAP, QAD, and Micro MRP. He works as a logistics and supply chain manager and he always looks for processes to improve. He lives near San Francisco Bay in California and can be found on the water in his kayak or on the road riding his motorcycle. Contact Tom at customerteam@erpfocus.com.

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Tom Miller