Promoting Sustainability Through ERP Software

How to Promote Sustainability in Schools Using ERP

  • Ayushi Singh
    Ayushi Singh

The metrics to measure the performance and success of a business have changed over the years. Financial records are not the correct parameters to judge an organization's performance. Instead, every stakeholder focuses on what the organization is doing to promote sustainability. Every business and non-business organization has started taking eco-conscious steps to promote sustainability and make the world a better place. Schools and colleges have begun using the ERP system to reduce paper wastage and improve their efficiency. Over the last year, the ERP system has transformed many institutes. These systems have evolved from mere inventory management tools to tools for digital transformation.

Here are a few key points that explain how an ERP system can promote sustainable growth within an institute’s premises.

Saves paper

Schools and colleges are the places that consume a lot of paper. They use paper for record-keeping and management. Moreover, sheets of paper are also used to carry out daily activities like recording attendance. In a nutshell, every academic and operational task in educational institutes requires some amount of paperwork. An ERP system reduces the use of paper and promotes sustainability within the organization. With this system, institutes can process all invoices and fee receipts in digital formats. Moreover, teachers can record attendance digitally and share learning materials on common platforms. All these approaches reduce paper wastage and help institutes take eco-conscious steps.

Reduces resource consumption

Sustainability depends on the efficient use of available resources. The adoption of the ERP system reduces paper consumption in educational institutions. As a result, it brings down the operational cost and enhances savings. By cutting down on paper usage, institutes can reduce their resource consumption. ERP systems eliminate the use of paper in multiple ways. For instance, in a traditional classroom, teachers share practice sheets with students after the end of a chapter to evaluate their knowledge. However, the practice sheets are made of paper which leads to paper wastage. With an enterprise resource planning software and learning management system, schools and other educational organizations can share the practice sheets online, thus reducing the resource consumption quota of educational institutes.

Promotes circular economy

The concept of the circular economy gives a new perspective on sustainability. This concept challenges the linear model of production and consumption which follows the four-step strategy mentioned below.

  1. Taking from nature
  2. Making the product
  3. Using the product
  4. Disposing of the waste

However, the concept of circular economy is based on the idea of zero wastage. Schools and colleges can promote this idea by educating students about energy conservation, waste management, biodiversity education, climate change, etc. Another way to reduce the wastage of resources within school boundaries is through the use of ERP software. Educational institutions can easily manage their paperwork with this software. They can use the enterprise software to manage their everyday activities like the collection of fees and sharing the learning materials with students.

Stays current

Every organization in every sector is working towards improving its sustainable actions. Adopting an ERP system expedites the process of sustainability as it eliminates the use of paper and improves overall efficiency and productivity in an organization.

Reduces energy consumption

With the advent of digitization, every educational institution generates and stores a lot of information which enhances their energy requirement. Modular ERP systems remove data redundancy and improve the energy-saving ratio of institutes.

Achieving sustainability goals without using the modern solution is difficult. Educational organizations must keep themselves updated with the recent trend to encourage sustainability and play their part in making the environment green.

Benefits of adopting ERP software

The significant benefits that we get from adopting enterprise resource planning software in educational institutions are:

Saves cost

There is no getting around the fact that institutes use a lot of paper to manage their daily functions. The data is stored in the forms of employee registers, student records, account ledgers, school notices, and more. The cost incurred on procuring papers, ink, and other materials can be cut off by using ERP software. It saves money and time and encourages teachers and students to spend more time enhancing their productivity.

Makes data organization easy

Every school produces tons of data relating to student enrollments and their staff members. Collecting, maintaining, and organizing all this information is hectic and requires an equal amount of time and effort. Implementation of ERP systems in schools and colleges makes the data management process easier. The system analyzes the information and stores it accurately on cloud-based storage. Moreover, the ERP system synchronizes the data and sets a timeline for notifications and sending urgent reminders. It also ensures data security as it can be accessed by authorized users only. They can access the information anytime, anywhere. Individuals who are not authorized to access the data cannot get a hold of it.

Improves productivity

A teacher’s job is to provide the best education to their students. However, their productivity and concentration are compromised when they perform redundant tasks like filling in different registers at the end of the day. Keeping a check on students, informing parents about their kid’s performance, and coordinating schedules with other staff members are a few activities that take a lot of time and hamper their daytime productivity. The ERP system automates all these activities and gives teachers ample time to improve their teaching skills.

Reduces waste production

The way to improve sustainability lies in following the 3Rs- reduce, reuse, and recycle. ERP systems follow these three rules and try to reduce the burden we put on natural resources. Moreover, the software also reduces carbon footprint and eliminates the wastage of paper. By adopting this new technology, schools and colleges can reduce paper wastage like extra photocopies, old notices, used answer sheets, and whatnot.

Increases security

Students and teachers can store their personal and professional data securely on the enterprise resource planning software. Many ERP software can be integrated with a unique app for parents, thus providing them with real-time information on their child’s academic and non-academic performance. Moreover, the app also informs parents about the attendance status of students. ERP systems keep the data secure because it backs up the detail on a cloud storage system. As a result, the records are kept safely in case of natural disasters or break-ins.

Keeps parents informed

Earlier, parents used to know the learning progress of their children through parent-teacher meetings. In recent times, parents can track and monitor their child’s activities through the school management system. Through this system, parents can remain connected with teachers at any point in time. Moreover, the system also lets them keep a check on formal documents and helps them pay the fees online.

Gives practical knowledge to students

The use of a paper-based system of record keeping has declined over the years. Now, companies are willing to hire tech-savvy employees who can enhance their profits and bring more efficiency into the system. Educational institutions can use the school management system to give practical knowledge to students and help them understand how they can manage their tasks in a dynamic environment.

These benefits can be achieved by using the best school management system available in the market. School admins and other decision-makers must make an informed decision regarding the selection of the ERP system. The software must offer flexibility and should be able to accommodate all the changes.

Top things to consider before selecting an ERP software for schools

Here are a few parameters that schools must look at before deciding on school management software.

Functional fit

It might seem easy but evaluating the functional fit of an enterprise resource planning software is the foremost thing that an educational institution must do. Admins can go through processes like watching ERP demos and meeting the ERP consultants to understand which software is best suited to meet their organizational needs. Some of the questions that may help school management understand the functional fit of a school management system are:

  1. What is the need for installing an ERP system?
  2. What works well with the current requirements?
  3. What processes can be automated through this software?

Industry experience

Before selecting an ERP solution for educational institutions, admins must look at what software solution is used in the education industry. Some ERP solutions are best suited for specific industries like manufacturing and distribution. Admins must consider the industry experience before selecting a software vendor and implementation partner.

Price

Always consider the price and ROI before moving forward with the software selection. To measure the ROI, admins must look at the savings they are getting after implementing the ERP software. Moreover, institutes must look at the technology costs they can bring down using the school management software.

Vendor viability

Doing a background check on the vendor is vital before finalizing the software. Admins and other decision-makers must look at how long the product has been in the market and what solutions it can provide. Moreover, they can try to find out how many educational institutions are using the software to streamline their processes.

Technology

Some of the technical features that admins must look at include UI and UX simplicity, data storage and security, reliable system performance, and downtime. After considering these factors institutes must select an appropriate school management system.

Risk

ERP implementation in any organization involves certain risks. For instance, educators may be unaware of the usage of such software. As a result, they may take time to understand its functions and usability. However, change management and end-user training can help educational organizations mitigate such risks.

Scalability

The software must be flexible enough to take care of the changes in the operational processes. For example, it must be able to accommodate the changes during the start of an academic year.

References

Admins should take the feedback of implementation partners and solution providers from the principals and admins of other schools. Also, they should ask the management what difference they feel in the operational activities after implementing the software.

Selecting an ERP system is a lengthy process and requires proper decision-making abilities. It is a conscious decision that must be made after taking all crucial factors into account. Admins and principals must take hints from the points mentioned above when selecting an ERP software for their institution. The software speeds up the eco-conscious steps of the organization and promotes sustainability. As sustainability has become a necessity to survive in the time to come, educational institutions of every size must focus on making judicious choices.

Suggested Read: The Benefits of Having a Library Management System