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Enterprise resource planning - in and out of the contact centre

Thu, September 22, 2022

Enterprise Resource Planning - Understanding Customer Demand

For many companies, finding a balance between resources and customer demand is a delicate balancing act. Fluctuating demand levels for your products or service will impact the resources needed. Being able to effectively manage this so that you can always meet demand and peak periods, whilst keeping costs down, is a goal many businesses struggle to meet.

However, it isn’t simple and may take time to find the ‘sweet spot’, especially in sectors where demand fluctuates a lot more throughout the year. This is where intelligent resource planning can provide businesses with an efficient approach so that less guesswork is needed when trying to understand customer demands and how best to meet them. So, what is intelligent resource planning, and how does it contribute to a better customer experience overall?

Why Intelligent Resource Planning?

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) helps to identify and allocate resources that make a business process as efficient and cost-effective as possible. In service chain management, it will help to ensure promises and commitments made to customers are kept, and service levels and CX are delivered to a high-quality standard. Using the latest software developments and technological advancements available, businesses can strategically plan how best to use available resources and ensure the whole company runs seamlessly using intelligent solutions. How well and efficiently a company runs has a direct impact on the customer experience, so an increasing number of companies are seeing results from taking this advanced approach to resource planning.

After the implementation of ERP, 49% of companies said they had improved all business processes

Being able to forecast effectively has always been a skill that, when accurate, can ensure the long-term success of your brand or business. Resource planning covers many aspects that require efficient forecasting from hiring enough staff to fulfil workloads, to staying within budget whilst developing and delivering your unique service or product on time and to a high quality. Depending on the demand at any given time, being able to balance between having excess resources or a shortfall of resources is vital, as either situation will impact your current and future plans. Intelligent resource management effectively automates many processes and provides a much faster way to forecast demand, so that your business can reduce costs and, ultimately, maximise profit. Due to the advantages it brings, the global ERP software market is expected to reach $78.41 billion by 2026, an increase from $35.81 billion in 2018. This is reflective of the rising need for efficiency within business processes and how important understanding customer demand is for many global brands in the last few years.

The ERP software market was valued at $40 billion in 2020 and experienced accelerated growth due to the pandemic.

How Intelligent Resource Planning Can Boost CX

The three main benefits gained from ERP include reduced processing time, increased collaboration and having a centralised data system. Having all of these can enhance many aspects of your business, including the customer experience your brand provides.

Happier customers – the more efficient the process, and the quicker this is, the more satisfied your customers will be with the outcome. The customer journey becomes more streamlined for both the sales and aftersales processes, providing more accurate updates, such as with delivery times and inventory checks, and even complaint handling by resolving issues faster.

More intelligent customer service options – when customers contact you, they can receive the answers they’re looking for faster, either through automation with conversational commerce or by enabling your agents to have all the information to hand to reduce call duration and wait times. This all helps to deliver a truly omnichannel approach through multiple channels.

Improve NPS and review scores – if you’re providing a more streamlined service thanks to intelligent resource planning that keeps customers happy, this will reflect in the feedback you receive, helping to improve NPS scores, create advocates and increase the number of positive reviews received.

75% of enterprises reported that ERP helps them engage with customers in real time, with 72% being able to deliver a multi-device, omnichannel customer experience.

How Technology Makes Intelligent Resource Management Possible

Whilst manufacturers (47%) are the largest portion of companies looking to implement intelligent resource planning software, followed by distribution (18%) and services (12%), other sectors are also seeing the benefits, with retail (3%), government (3%), and healthcare (3%) businesses seeking solutions. Here are some of the ways intelligent resource planning is now possible for many businesses:

Cloud Computing – enables the delivery of hosted services online such as storage or the use of applications through the web rather than an in-house approach. The cloud ERP market is expected to experience large growth within the next few years, having been valued at around $44.83 billion in 2020, it’s poised to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.6%.

Big Data – the handling of big data is made possible by advancements in intelligent solutions, allowing businesses to work with much larger volumes and velocities of data than ever before, all through cloud-based systems which are much more cost-effective. This has made resource planning and predictive analytics become much more informed and able to help brands make better decisions. This has also made the ERP market much more competitive, pushing innovation forward.

Internet of Things (IoT)We live in a connected world where multiple internet-enabled devices can help businesses and customers get a clearer picture of what’s going on. For manufacturers, being able to have fully connected machinery has ensured more accurate analysis of data during production, and given them the ability to see issues in real-time before they happen. A fully connected eco-system improves resource planning like never before, and has helped create smart factories that were once just a pipedream.

Machine Learning - 53% of CIOs in the UK are seeking more intelligent ERP systems that include machine learning, AI, and automation. This is because the advancements in machine learning provide better analytics, meaning better forecasting, and the ability to process tasks much faster that once took up much more time and resources. Working alongside the IoT provides a fully connected, seamless experience.

Workforce Planning – The Key to Meeting Demand

You can have all of the latest developments in software and resources to hand, but if a business doesn’t have the workforce to support it, the result will greatly impact CX. With workforce planning, businesses can align their recruitment strategy with the demands for the business, so that when peak demand arrives, the resource is already in place and your service is unaffected.

It’s a fine balancing act that will provide several benefits for businesses who do it well, with some larger organisations having a dedicated team to exclusively manage this. Advantages to workforce planning can include:

Saved resources – identifying where recruitment is needed and prioritising skills required, can reduce costs related to poor recruitment habits and hiring the wrong people.

Identify issues – discover where the risks are and where improvements are needed, such as a skills shortage that needs addressing urgently.

Retention – not only does the focus need to be on hiring the right people but retaining staff too. Initiatives around employee retention and EX can do wonders for helping to keep people with the skills you need at your company.

Insights – focusing on workforce planning enables you to gather valuable insights to help develop your workforce and actively make changes where needed.

Happier staff – being able to forecast well and plan accordingly will ensure a happier workforce and higher productivity, as well as improved CX.

As a business grows and employs more staff, it’s imperative to continue planning and understanding the needs of both your workforce and customers. Identifying any gaps in the process that may be an obstacle to growth and consistency can only be achieved when implementing strategic workforce planning – one that is proactive and thinks about the future. Goals become harder to achieve if careful planning isn’t in place, and having a workforce that includes the talent and skills you need to succeed is critical.

With retention, it’s all about understanding the reasons why employees are unhappy or considering leaving. Gathering insights on the labour market, in general, can help to identify trends and how the roles you have are evolving across the market. This way, you can plan effectively to minimise the risks of having a skills shortage, especially during peak demand periods, proactively working on filling that gap before this happens. Many companies find retention difficult, with 63.3% of companies saying retaining employees is harder than hiring, which highlights why effective workforce planning is vital.

Of course, rather than being in a cycle of hiring to ensure your company doesn’t lack the skills needed, working on retention and EX can reduce the strain on resources. Having engaged employees can solve a lot of issues that help meet customer demand and avoid slipping standards with CX. Engaged employees are more productive, happier, and will provide better customer service, as well as stay in your company longer. It’s no surprise that companies with a highly engaged workforce are 21% more profitable, so strategic workforce planning that doesn’t neglect the employee experience is hugely beneficial.

Putting Focus on the Overall Customer Experience

50% of companies are planning to or are already implementing ERP solutions

The time to start incorporating intelligent resource management solutions is now, with brands that don’t act risking falling behind their competitors further and failing to meet customer demand. Companies that lean on intelligent solutions will ultimately provide a better service to their customers, meaning there is a higher chance for those who don’t to experience dwindling customer loyalty.

At Ventrica, we understand this which is why as a BPO provider we help brands deliver a better, more intelligent approach to CX. We can assist and ensure your peak demand periods go according to plan, providing an extension to your service that ensures the customer experience is maintained.

To discover more about how Ventrica can help your business improve CX and deliver efficient customer services, please contact us today.

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