What if you have invested in an ERP system including the time to implement the software into your business and you find that your reports are inaccurate, your inventory levels are wrong and your customer satisfaction levels are suffering due to products being shipped to an incorrect location?
These are all examples of what can happen when data is entered into your ERP system inaccurately. No matter how much money or time you have spent on an ERP system, if you do not ensure data is entered correctly from day to day, the system can become ineffective and essentially useless, perhaps even hazardous.
Granted these may be extreme examples but you’re no doubt familiar with the term “Garbage in, garbage out” and nowhere is that more important than in your ERP system.
There are two types of data being entered into your ERP system on a daily basis:
- Transactional data
- Repetitive journal entries
- Month end entries
- Data loads of open items
- Lock boxes
- Cash receipts
- AP vouchers from freight accounts
- Automatic cheques
- Cash charges
- Sales orders
- Purchase orders
- Master data – additions & updates
- Bill of Materials
You might have large amounts of transactional data if you are collecting sales orders from your website and need to transfer those orders to your ERP system or if you have to transfer information between two databases.
If your business decides to implement a new item number schema or acquires a new company, you will have a considerable amount of master data to change or enter into your ERP system.
With the limited staff and resources your business may be experiencing, it can be a challenge to monitor the quality of data and also to justify a staff member sitting for hours entering data into your ERP system. Well, this is a good thing because whenever possible you should eliminate manual data entry from your business processes. It is a recipe for inaccurate data and quite simply a waste of time.
So you might ask “Then how do I get my data into my ERP system?”
The answer is: Data Import Tools
Check with your software provider first to find out if they have created any data import tools. If not directly from your provider, there is likely a software partner that has developed them specifically for your ERP software.
The most user-friendly import tools use Excel to import the data. Excel has become a universal tool that virtually everyone has some familiarity with. By using such a common format, this minimizes the need for IT support as often times; the import can be done by your admin staff.
Excel also gives you the flexibility to manipulate and review the information before importing the data into your ERP software. This reduces the chance for data errors as well.
As we enter into the era of ‘Big Data’ where we are collecting more and more information into our business systems, ensuring clean, accurate data is being entered into your software becomes increasingly important. Don’t be a victim of GIGO, keep your processes simple and eliminate as much manual entry as possible!