Doing business in the energy domain isn’t a simple task. Companies have to perform diverse operations ranging in their complexity, fully comply with multiple requirements, effectively meet customer demands, maintain and monitor producing facilities, and much more. Meanwhile, the global community places more demands on the energy sector, calling for new approaches in customer services and implementation of innovations, e.g. switching to green energy production, providing a more personalized customer experience, and more.
In this context, energy companies have to put much effort into business management, ensuring that everything is working as intended. For this, many of them turn to ERP systems that provide effective management capabilities and facilitate many management processes. In this article, you’ll find out why a solid ERP system is an essential part of successful business management, and what the advantages of using ERP in the energy sector are.
What’s ERP Software and Why Do Energy Companies Need It?
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is a digital platform for business management utilized by companies from various industry domains. These platforms unite suits of various business applications, which vary depending on the needs of a particular company. In ERP, companies can find the tools that help manage common business processes and effectively share data between company interior departments and their business partners.
As energy companies have to handle many processes, ERPs are indispensable for their effective workflow management and control. For example, with ERP, energy businesses can effectively monitor and manage their finance, energy production and distribution, supply chains, customer services, and much more.
Benefits of ERP Systems for Energy Manufacturers
With ERP systems, energy companies can perform the most basic business-related tasks and automate many of them. Usually, ERP systems for energy manufacturing businesses include the following modules:
ERP system represents a hub that unites various applications for doing business. This system has a centralized database and all the participants involved in energy production and distribution can quickly access the data from any part of the world. Moreover, ERPs can simply integrate with third-party apps and share with them the data from ERP databases. Therefore, the complex energy structure is backed up with the relevant data across all company’s departments and business partners, ensuring its quick exchange and accuracy.
Asset management in the energy business is one of the most vital tasks as even minor players depend on their proper operation. Any company should keep their machinery and utilities in their best condition, and this can be done with accurate management and tracking. This way, companies can guarantee the right functioning of each asset, prevent any breakdowns or downtimes in time as well as maintain strict control over their business processes.
With a project management feature, energy companies will be able to streamline their production, distribution, and selling projects, ensuring that all of them are completed on time and within budget. Apart from effective project management, this module can help energy businesses to simplify many processes, e.g. management of joint ventures, fulfilling financial obligations, performing effective cost control, complying with international regulations, and much more.
Supply Chain Management
By using a supply chain management feature, energy companies can simply plan, execute, control, and monitor their supply activities. For example, they can effectively manage the physical aspects of their supply, including energy storage and transportation, control data exchange with each supply chain participant as well as work with customer demands, providing them with as much electricity as they need, and much more.
All these modules can help energy companies effectively manage every aspect of their business, significantly facilitate complex processes, and largely automate many of the repetitive tasks. Moreover, ERPs allow companies to make effective decisions based on the comprehensive, well-structured, and highly-visualized data provided by these apps.
Apart from the basic functionality, energy companies can include in their ERPs some industry-specific features. For example, they can be:
- geospatial planning – it can provide the data depending on geolocation; this way, companies can improve the efficiency of regional energy distribution by analyzing assets management, production, and distribution in the scale of a particular region;
- graphical engineering – it allows companies to visualize each business management aspect from real-time order tracking to materials usage and procurement, to assets building and maintenance, and much more;
- services for customers – energy companies can improve their customer service by empowering their ERPs with proper CRM services; this helps to improve interaction with clients, better understand their needs, and provide more personalized services.
Why Choose Custom ERP Software Development vs. Off-the-Shelf Solution
ERP systems are super-important for energy companies. They help companies to manage their assets, monitor supply chains, predict and timely eradicate any production or utility malfunctions. When a company decides to launch an energy ERP, they have to choose between prepackaged solutions and custom system development.
A ready-made system is a great quick solution for the companies that only start operating on the energy market and have a small range of buyers. They don’t need to manage complex assets and a standard set of tools will satisfy most of their business needs. However, as the business grows it becomes more demanding for the digital solutions the energy company uses. It requires more management tools and more processing power as the customer base, supply chains, and assets base grow.
Custom energy ERPs work great for the companies that build their business strategy with a long-term vision in mind. It means that though a custom-developed solution may seem much more expensive than a ready-made one at the beginning, the investment will pay off many times in the long run. Energy companies can include in their custom ERP systems the functionality that they exactly need at a particular stage of their development and later add more features as the business develops. This way, companies can start with a much cheaper solution and later just add and pay for more features as they’ll need them.
Unlike off-the-shelf solutions, custom ERP systems are simple to scale and they grow together with the business, its customer base, increasing the complexity of business processes and supply chains. This way, the company with a custom solution doesn’t have to search for new software and transfer accumulated years of work data in a new app as well as spend time on their staff training as it never reaches the limits of its app.
Moreover, ready-made ERPs are provided on a monthly and yearly fee basis whereas custom system development requires substantial investment only during their development. This way, a custom ERP system can come at the same price as an off-the-shelf solution in several years while providing much more convenient functionality.
Enterprise resource planning systems are an essential element for effective business development. It’s especially valuable for energy companies as with its help they can significantly alleviate many complex production and distribution processes, integrate all the business data in one place as well as provide a more personalized customer experience.
When considering an ERP system for their business, energy companies usually have to choose between a custom and off-the-shelf solution. Ready-made solutions can be a great option at the beginning of a company’s development, however, in the long run, custom solutions start providing more advantages. Custom ERP systems are much more flexible, easy to scale, and contain only those tools that will be useful for a particular company.