Companies that sell products successfully inland, often contemplate to expand abroad. External markets do offer the opportunity to drive sales even more. Of course, these expansion projects have an impact on the existing IT solutions of a company, especially on the ERP systems in use.
Manufacturing companies that want to act internationally should start thinking early on about, how their own software and applications can be applied to foreign branches and locations. That’s the only way to unify business processes, to harmonize master data and to reduce lead and delivery times of products and goods.
In many companies, however, the internationalization of ERP systems is problematic.
Although an international rollout can be easily done with these six tips:
1. Consideration of local aspects
Those, who want to internationalize their ERP systems, should seek information about the requirements and laws in other countries first. The saying “different strokes for different folks” is not for nothing. This also applies to the currency. For example, tax models or value added tax may vary greatly in different countries. If companies want to expand outside their own monetary union, they should note a few things in this regard: their ERP system should be able to specify amounts in foreign currencies and this in subject to the tax requirements.
2. Reduce cultural differences
Global ERP projects can only be implemented successfully if the contact persons in the other regions are cooperative and the communication between the different countries works. If there’s no bridge closing the “cultural chasm”, it can quickly lead to misunderstandings during the implementation. While a shake of the head is, for example, in Germany means a denial, it means the exact opposite in India. No wonder that misunderstandings are inevitable. And also lack of language skills can quickly lead to errors: The foreign project management then for example, understands information of the German IT Departments quite different than expected. The result is a delay in the operation and in the business processes. Anyone planning an international rollout, should therefore have sufficient language skills and knowledge of local customs. Only then the local team will buy in.
3. Unicode capability
An international ERP project can only be implemented, when the system is multilingual and thus has Unicode. Often a system in English is not enough, because contacts and business partners don’t have appropriate language skills. This is problematic when not only the user interfaces, but also commercial documents such as quotations and invoices don’t exist in the correct language. It is all the more important to consider in advance exactly whether the used ERP system has the technical capabilities to convert to Unicode. Only then companies can consider an international rollout.
4. Include time zone difference
Depending on the country in which the company operates, the business processes occur at a different time. With growing requirements and demand of just-in-time deliveries, compliance with deadlines, however, is becoming more and more important. Companies should therefore ensure that the selected ERP system provides solutions for the planned internationalization of the ERP system, involving time zone differences.
5. Optimization of process chains
As part of global expansion, the processes are no longer limited to a single country, but extend across different markets. All the more reason, therefore, to optimally harmonize the process chains, to avoid delays in the supply chain or in production. That should also be mapped in the ERP software. As part of the digital transformation, customers expect to receive their requested goods as soon as possible. Only when transparency exists concerning the material flows, the order status and delivery volumes, companies can react flexibly to customer requests.
6. Accessing global information
For the information about orders and material requirements to be globally available, companies need a central location for their data. So all domestic and foreign locations can access business data. Delays can be avoided and process chains can be optimally adjusted.
With these considerations, it is easy to see the importance of an ERP system that has the latest functionalities and requirements. Hence successful internationalization relies on an up-to-date ERP. Technical requirements however, also play a decisive role in the implementation of an international ERP system. A SaaS solution like Panaya CloudQuality™ Suite can help you to quickly and easily perform the changes to your ERP on your journey to internationalization. Experience how easily ERP change can be implemented in your landscape, contact Panaya and get your free change simulation. See what the impact is for your specific ERP system.