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How To Get More From Your Retail ERP Reports

Report showing business data

Less is more when it comes to getting the most out of your retail ERP reporting. In other words, hone in on the information that produces a clear snapshot of your company, and don’t get bogged down by reports that blur the big picture.

That’s the key to unlocking the power of retail ERP reports — distinguishing quality over quantity. Use the following two tips to get more from your reporting.

  1. Streamline reports that focus on key metrics: Many retail ERP solutions are capable of creating hundreds of out-of-the-box reports, but retailers only need the reports that efficiently communicate pertinent information.

    Essential ERP reports cover inventory, sales, transfers and costing. In general, about six reports could address the necessary details of these metrics. Depending on the size of the business, retailer needs could vary on the level of detail; however, the key metrics remain the same for any general retailer.

    To narrow your ERP reporting to those key metrics, start by gathering all the current reports you produce. Include information currently being given to operations management up to the C-suite. Then find ways to combine or replace reports with standard retail ERP system functions, such as displaying the report or dashboard rather than printing it out, exporting the data into Microsoft Excel, or transferring certain reporting responsibility to a business intelligence (BI) tool.

    Identifying the reason for each report is the key to streamlining the reporting processes. Let’s say that after examining your current reports you find that one report in particular is being used to evaluate business processes other than what it was intended for. Instead of continuing to produce that report with your retail ERP system, you could replace the report with a system display view. Employees who need that metric can then obtain the information by viewing it on an ERP system display, which is more efficient than creating an ERP function to make and print out that report.

  2. Know when you need a report produced by a BI tool or an ERP solution: Retailers can use technology like BI tools or retail ERP solutions to efficiently create reports.

    Let’s take a look at both technologies. While some retailers use ERP systems to produce as many reports as possible, others rely more on BI tools to analyze and create core ERP reports. The reduced cost of BI tools in recent years has fueled this movement, providing more access for retailers to consolidate, create and layer data.

    BI tools have greater flexibility than retail ERP systems to create and modify reports. Let’s say you set up your BI tools to pinpoint loyalty program customers who bought a red T-shirt, blue T-shirt and black pants. However, you change your mind and want to identify loyalty customers who only bought a blue T-shirts and black pants. BI tools enable you to modify your existing reporting tasks and change your reporting on the fly.

    However, creating specific reports through a retail ERP system requires setting up a program function for each reporting task. For instance, a retailer would need to create a separate reporting function that gathers data on loyalty customers who bought a red T-shirt, a blue T-shirt and black pants, and an additional reporting command to identify customers who only bought a blue T-shirt and black pants.

These two tips highlight how relevant information empowers retailers to focus on business needs with an eye toward long-term growth. Retailers should always strive for quality reports over quantity to get the most out of their ERP reporting and business intelligence.

Author: Thomas Nielsen, Consultant at ArcherPoint

Thomas Nielsen is a presales consultant with ArcherPoint. For nearly 20 years, Thomas has held leadership roles in private industry and within Microsoft Dynamics NAV Partners including Tectura and AVF Consulting, working exclusively with retail organizations and specializing in Dynamics NAV and LS Retail installation across Europe, Asia, and Australasia. Thomas holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Administration and a Master’s in Information Technology. He is a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) and a Certified LS Retail Consultant.

To learn more about retail ERP reporting, schedule a demo of ArcherPoint's Retail Management Solution.