What is an ERP?
Simply put, an ERP (or Enterprise Resource Planning) is a software that centralizes all your business processes and functions into one system, allowing for a better integration of your data, more streamlined processes and increased automation.
Supply Chain and Inventory Management, Sales, Accounting and Finance, Human Resources, Customer Relationships Management (CRM), E-Commerce are some of the functions typically included in an ERP system. However there is no such thing as a standard ERP; ERP softwares come in all shapes and sizes and a successful ERP deployment will be built around your business’s’ specifications and requirements.
The takeaway: ERPs make running a business more efficient and pain-free (when used right!) allowing you and you and your employees to take care of the important things: growing your business and serving your customers.
5 reasons you should consider an ERP
- A unique system A decentralized system with multiple applications in place can lead to business inefficiencies, inconsistent data and information silos. If your business relies on separate applications such as Quickbooks for accounting, Salesforce for Sales and SAP for operations…an ERP will integrate all your existing applications within the same solution and unify information across the organization. This results in the elimination of tedious and time-consuming manual data transfer processes, thus reducing redundancies and boosting employee productivity.
- Streamlined access to information With all your applications centralized in the same system, access to information is rendered much easier across all functions. Since data is being updated in real time, executives can quickly get an overview of the big trends and issues they should be paying attention to. This helps break down the silos between departments and facilitates cross-department communication.
- More efficient business processes For a business to run properly, information must be exchanged efficiently between business units. When a customer places an order, Sales must communicate with Accounting & Finance to determine pricing and with Supply Chain to determine product availability. Supply Chain, in turn, requires product sales information to make its production plans and determine inventory levels. Accounting & Finance records transaction data to prepare financial reports etc…By providing a common database, ERPs allows accurate and timely shared data across units thus leading to more efficient business processes.
- Improved customer service Customer service is a crucial component of your business’s success and business Inefficiencies can push your customers to turn to the competition. Integrating your CRM with an ERP can ensure your customers are receiving the best service on the market. Giving your sales teams better and more accurate access to customer information will lead to improved customer interactions such as better targeted sales outreach and tailored customer support. ERPs also helps streamline backend process which results in better order fulfillment and more timely deliveries.
- Customization and scalability An ERP can be fully customized to fit your business needs: specific modules can be custom-built for your specific business requirements and connectors can be developed to integrate your software with commonly used applications. If your business is heavily focused on e-commerce, your new ERP system can easily be integrated with the e-commerce module you use, such as Shopify or Magento. Last but not least, ERPs are scalable: the system can easily evolve with your business as more users and features can be added as your business grows.
While upfront costs can sometimes prove costly, implementing an ERP can offer many advantages from streamlined business processes to improved access to information and superior customer service, making your business more efficient and profitable in the long-run. Before you decide whether an ERP is right for you, we recommend looking at the solutions available on the market and weighing the pros and cons of getting an ERP.