Sustainability: How ERP systems can help businesses go green

Sustainability is a term increasingly integral to businesses across the globe. It encapsulates an organisation’s ability (and willingness) to take the much-needed action towards the protection of our planet. However, depending on the type of business and industry, moving towards greener operations can be challenging - not only in physical terms, but also when it comes to process management. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems can be transformative for organisations trying to closely monitor and improve their sustainability efforts. Let’s look into some of the ways how. 

The green shift in business

Moving towards sustainable business practices is now more important than ever. There are a few different reasons why it’s beneficial for businesses, besides just the ethical imperatives and added 'karma points'. This includes:

  • Social: Building trust and fostering loyalty with an increasingly environmentally-conscious clientele and workforce. 
  • Regulatory: Staying compliant with the recent regulatory requirements, particularly stringent in certain industries. 
  • Economic: Cost savings from efficient resource utilisation and the prospect of accessing 'green' markets or subsidies. 

​However, the path to greener operations isn't without its obstacles. Businesses often grapple with information silos, inefficiencies, and the overall challenge of embedding sustainable practices into core business operations. 

The role of ERP integration in sustainable business practices

The primary purpose of ERP systems is to optimise and, in many cases, automate numerous business processes, in order to help companies manage them more efficiently. This typically takes form in a suite of business applications, catering for the various needs of an organisation, such as managed inventory, HR management, POS software, marketing automation, and many others. ERP integration essentially centralises all business operations into a single software, offering an all-in-one business management solution. 

This is exactly the approach that is necessary, if an organisation wants to implement and monitor their environmental impact accurately. Let’s look at the key organisational aspects and examples of this below.

Resource efficiency

Whether it’s labour management, production costs, finance management or any other, managing the various resources of a business efficiently is key in understanding exactly how and where they are utilised. ERP systems can help do that by providing a unified view of all organisational resources. As a result, the company can optimise its resources and get rid of any redundancies or waste. 

Supply chain management

Sustainable supply chain management is one of the key challenges for businesses, particularly in the manufacturing or production industries. An integrated business management solution will help optimise your supply chain by monitoring all data in real-time. For example, automatic demand-based stock reordering ensures that the business is only producing what is necessary, while highly accurate data analysing tools can help find suppliers that best align with the company's sustainability goals.

Streamlined logistics

Product deliveries are unavoidably harmful to the environment, however, there are various ways companies can minimise their footprint. For instance, mapping out the most efficient delivery routes, ensuring full vehicle loads, and dividing them efficiently - each of these practices can help companies cut down on fuel consumption and emissions. By seamlessly integrating the sales, production, and vehicle management processes, ERP systems can help achieve streamlined logistics easier. 

Waste management

Waste is generally produced when a business fails to anticipate its production needs with sufficient accuracy. Real-time data collection and intelligent forecasting tools offered by ERP systems provide organisations with higher precision when it comes to sales predictions. Not only can these tools help only produce what is required, but also track such metrics as excessive water consumption or carbon emissions, further reducing the company’s waste. 

Informed decision-making

With the robust analytics and reporting tools, and real-time data from all levels within the organisation, a business can gain actionable insights into their sustainability practices. They can use this data to make informed decisions and changes, leading to greener operations. For instance, an enterprise can analyse their energy consumption levels across different operations, recognising energy-intensive processes and refining them to minimise both, unnecessary costs and environmental impact.

Cloud hosting

Rather than traditional on-premise set up, many modern ERP solutions are now using cloud-based deployment technology. This does not only save the costs and hassle of acquiring in-house hardware, but also reduces the company’s energy consumption. Besides, a lot of the larger cloud-based ERP providers have their own sustainability practices in place, such as using renewable energy to run their servers.

Improve your sustainability efforts with Odoo ERP

Odoo - an open-source, cloud-based ERP system, is one of the most flexible and cost-effective solutions for business management. Its highly-customisable modular structure, user-friendly interface, and intelligent data analysis capabilities can help organisations of various sizes manage their sustainability practices more efficiently. 

Some of the largest organisations worldwide rely on Odoo to manage their processes, proudly showcasing the powerful capabilities of this forward-thinking software. Ready to join them?

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