The acronym ERP is widely used in the business innovation world but at the same time there are many people who have no idea what it means or its importance. Yesterday while attending the official launch of SYSPRO in Kenya, one of the well-known providers of ERP in the world, I kept on thinking why ERP is not well understood. ERP is an acronym for Enterprise Resource Planning.
An ERP system automates and integrates core business processes such as taking customer orders, scheduling operations, and keeping inventory records and financial data. Think of a system that has the capability of helping a business do the following:
- Define business processes and ensuring they are complied with throughout the supply chain
- Protecting critical business data through well-defined roles and security access
- Plan the work load based on existing orders and forecasts
- Provide the tools for great customer service
- Translating data into decision making information
From the above, the low level of adoption of ERP in Kenya, should be viewed as something to worry about or an opportunity for the providers. It also one of the reasons why SYSPRO, a South African ERP solutions provider, decided to open an office in Kenya, which by extension will serve the region. According to Mark Wilson, Managing Director, SYSPRO Africa the newly established office, based a long Mombasa road will support SYSPRO’s local partner ecosystem and customer base in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Ethiopia.
SYSPRO solution targets the customers in Manufacturing and distribution across the different industries. Ms. Sally Kahiu while representing Phyllis Wakiaga, The Kenya Association of Manufacturers CEO, noted that automation within the manufacturing industry – particularly its value chain will lead to efficiency, lower cost of production and result in increased competitiveness of products at the local, regional and international markets.
In the market where manufacturers often complain about the high cost of doing business, this is one route that can help in reducing cost. There have been a lot of talks on how Kenya has improved the ease of opening a business in the country, but the more important part would be to improve the environment in which the businesses operate in. In terms of Manufacturing it is not a secret that our neighbors and in particular Ethiopia, has moved ahead of us. This is a discussion for another day but something that our policy makers need to be concern about going forward.