You are shopping in your neighbourhood supermarket. You want to pick up a bottle of wine but can’t make up your mind. After standing in front of the wine sector for a while your phone pings. It’s a coupon of 10% off for a wine that you haven’t tried yet but is similar to a wine you bought from this shop last week.
“Great, thanks!” – you think and pick up the bottle. You pay right there with your phone because you don’t want to queue up at the cashier. And it’s Covid-23 season – so better not to come into too close contact with people.
Your phone rings again. This time you receive a notification that Manchego – the famous Spanish cheese – would go well with the bottle of wine you just purchased. And it’s just in the next aisle, so you pick that one up, pay again with your phone before you leave the supermarket to enjoy your wine and cheese.
Sounds futuristic? Read on… (TL;DR skip to the end of this blog and watch the demo)
Foundation for Growth
We are in an era of tough market competition when customers are becoming smarter and are demanding more customized products and services. Nowadays, consumers have the opportunity to research a product well from several providers or dealers before making any purchase. If you fail to impress them at the initial stage, you will most probably lose them forever!
Do you know that 71% of customers feel irritated when they don’t receive a customized shopping experience? Consumers expect brands to know and understand them better and realize their unique preferences and requirements. According to yet another study, 91% of customers say that they prefer shopping from brands that provide personal recommendations and offers that are relevant to them and their needs.
Image Source: Bloomreach
To deliver personalized and more efficient customer experiences, it’s essential that you digitize your core business processes, starting from manufacturing to selling. Traditional processes involve manual operations of vital processes, which are vulnerable to human errors and hence, reduced productivity levels.
Besides, human-led processes are slower since there are repetitive tasks involved. Implementing a digitized solution and adopting Industry 4.0 technologies, you are sure to give a competitive edge over your rivals. Using these intelligent and advanced systems, you can automate all your critical business processes and save your valuable resources, like time, money, and labour force.
Modern businesses need an advanced and intelligent ERP system that enables them to keep up with the dynamic market where customer demands and buying trends are constantly changing. Manufacturers are facing various challenges to cater to each of their consumers’ unique needs while maintaining quality and user experience.
A Brief On Industry 4.0
Industry 4.0, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is the name given to the digital transformation of manufacturing processes, which has paved a new way towards increased productivity. This digitization enables businesses to deliver more customized products tailored to meet specific customer requirements. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is the step from automation and computers to the cyber-physical system and the internet of things.
The 4th Industrial Revolution aims to boost efficiency by integrating M2M (machine-to-machine) communication and IoT (Internet of Things) on a large scale to increase automation and improve self-monitoring and communication. It encourages the production of intelligent machines that can identify and analyze problems without human intervention. Industry 4.0 refers to the convergence and applications of nine digital technologies (the Nine Pillars of Industry 4.0)
- Industrial IoT
- Augmented Reality
- Cyber Security
- Cloud Computing
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Advanced / Autonomous Robots
- 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing
- System Integration
- Big Data and Analytics
For the successful implementation of Industry 4.0, you need efficient ERP systems to securely host and manage all vital business data and information from the production stage to the purchase in real-time. You need to gain more agility and flexibility in your manufacturing and delivering operations to cater to modern-day digital customers.
SAP Business One is one such solution that can handle large amounts of information and streamline your business procedures like logistics, inventory management, customer service operations, and back-office functions.
What is SAP Business One?
SAP Business One or SAP B1 is an integrated business management solution that enables SMEs to better operate their core processes, such as accounting, inventory, and sales. With this ERP software, you can gain enhanced control over your business by streamlining and connecting your key operations.
Using SAP B1, you can drive profitable growth with features like:
- Integrated business intelligence
- Cloud or On-premise deployment
- Quick and efficient deployment
- Integration with the advanced SAP HANA platform (a high-performing in-memory database designed to boost your real-time and data-driven decisions and actions).
SAP Business One integrates all your working business operations, such as production, purchasing, distribution, sales, financial management, inventory management, project management, CRM (Customer Service Management), and field service. This fully-equipped software eliminates one’s need for adopting multiple solutions for various business processes since it integrates all your business modules under one roof. Besides that, you can install SAP B1 software either in the cloud or on a server.
Notably, SAP Business One was designed by keeping in mind that SMEs and startups would generally require a simple ERP platform to manage their day-to-day functions and not the large complex ones that large enterprises might need.
Key Features of SAP Business One
1. Purchasing and Inventory Control
The software helps improve purchasing practices and optimize costs. It enables you to track and manage the entire supply chain and the entire order-to-pay cycle, such as invoices, receipts, payments, and returns. The platform also offers solutions like streamlined procurement processes, master data management, accounts payable, accounting, and warehouse integration.
2. Sales and Customer Management
You can efficiently manage the complete customer lifecycle sales process, starting from the initial contact to the final purchase, and even after-sales support and service. Hence, you can gain a detailed overview of your prospects and consumers, thus allowing you to understand their specific needs better.
3. Financial Management
SAP B1 can automate your accounting tasks and perform banking activities effectively. You can also integrate financial operations with other core processes to accelerate transactions, thus improving cash flow. The ERP system also reduces errors, improves margins, and encourages businesses to make more profitable decisions. The popular financial tools available on SAP B1 are banking and reconciliation features, a fixed asset management solution, accounting, and financial reports and analysis.
4. Business Intelligence
Through this, users can create customizable and accurate reports in real-time based on data extracted across several business modules. Furthermore, you can generate reports using the intuitive tools provided, data visualizations, and analytics having predefined metrics.
SAP B1 provides teams with intuitive mobile access, allowing them to view reports and analytical data in real-time, manage sales, track inventory, handle operational activities, and service tickets. Moreover, you can receive alerts and notifications, and complete approvals from your Android or iOS mobile device.
6. Analytics and Reporting
You can generate reports in real-time, allowing you to track progress and performance. Having real-time data at hand captured from the application’s dashboards and reports, you can also make informed decisions.
Benefits of Using SAP Business One
Whether you use on-premise or cloud deployment or even access your business operations from the mobile app, SAP Business One has multiple benefits for all, which are as follows:
- Direct access and control over your vital data
- Compliance with your business data security policies
- Employ existing IT resources and infrastructure as well as your internal hardware
- Less dependence on internet connectivity all the time
- Customize your business processes more effectively
- Perpetual licensing with more optimized ownership costs in the long run, although the initial costs might be high.
2. In the Cloud
- Hassle-free and affordable deployment
- Safe and secure access from your browser anytime, anywhere
- Involves subscription licensing, which means no capital expenses
- Manage critical business processes in your preferred Web browser
- Gain access to updated functionality without the need to rely on your in-house IT team
3. Mobile App
- Have instant access for your team players who need a system to view and update data from anywhere, and at any time, as per their convenience
- Allows field workers or employees on the road to work more productively
- Offers comprehensive sales and service features
- Has integrated analytics to help you make more data-driven decisions in real-time.
Also Read: SAP Business One: Cloud or On-Premise?
How Does SAP Business One Help with Your Industry 4.0 Solutions?
To offer the maximum agility to your business functions, ERP providers are restructuring their service modules to mould them into the digitally transformed environment. SAP Business One is the most sought-after system that facilitates seamless Industry 4.0 transformation of your business. You need a solution that enables you to adapt and implement the latest market trends and innovations, without affecting business continuity.
SAP B1, with its numerous modules made to streamline your business functions, is continually improving its services and products to offer end-to-end digitization of your company. To transform your business into a ‘smart factory’, you need to handle vast amounts of data related to your manufacturing processes, starting from production to purchase.
Hence, SAP Business One, with its efficient support for endless business modules, you can automate your critical tasks. By connecting and integrating several systems, the platform allows smoother information exchange between devices and modules. Thus, increasing efficiency and reducing wastage of valuable resources.
To unlock the full potentials of Industry 4.0, SAP Business One allows you to:
- Connect production with your end-to-end processes across the entire supply chain
- Focus more on your customers, collect valuable input from them, and address their individual needs and preferences
- Reinvent production by adapting to priorities and delivering more customized products and services
- Improve scalability and agility across your processes and intelligent assets
- Synchronize sales, logistics, and service with production, allowing you to work collaboratively as a team towards a unified goal
- Empower your employees to manage complex tasks with greater efficiency, and handle unforeseen situations with confidence
- Take care of your employee health and safety by encouraging the use of IoT-powered monitoring, real-time analytics, and geo-fencing.
A great example of the application of this is the use of beacons, connected with SAP Business One to provide personalized recommendations to customers based on their behaviour in the shop.
- Customers can place orders directly from the phones
- Shop managers can track traffic based on heatmaps
- Customers receive personalized recommendations in real-time, based on their behaviour (e.g. a customer buying wine via his mobile phone in the shop might be given a recommendation to also pick up the perfect cheese that goes along with it – in real-time)
- All apps are hosted in the cloud
The technical architecture of such a set up can be seen here:
More information on this example, and a video on how this could work, can be seen in the blog within the SAP Community and finally (as promised at the beginning of this blog), here is the video:
WATCH: A SmartShop prototype with SAP Business One, IoT and Cloud Platform
SAP Business One is one of the best solutions to enable a smoother business transformation and implementation of the Industry 4.0 model. Besides streamlining your processes efficiently, SAP B1 also tracks your employee performance and whether everyone complies with your business policies.