What is ERP Software and Why is it Important?

You may be asking yourself “What is ERP Software? And why should I care about it?”. ERP software is a class of complex systems that span many applications and essentially perform all business processes.  In manufacturing, these include CRM, quoting, sales orders, production jobs, purchasing, receiving, manufacturing scheduling, costing, shipping, and all accounting functions.

These systems are critical for growing as well as mature companies who want to be as efficient as possible and have access to all information in one place.  Smaller organizations can survive with a small accounting package and Excel spreadsheets. Still, organizations that are more complex or exceed about $10mm in sales will benefit from one system where information only has to be entered once.  Purchase orders are generated automatically.  Shipments are automatically invoiced.  The need for human intervention is minimized. 

Another central area of ERP advantages is compliance and financial auditing.  It’s challenging to reconcile multiple systems. If an organization needs to comply with regulations, such as Sarbanes Oxley, not only do the business processes need to be in one system, but that system needs to be able to capture and retain all relevant transactions and approvals. In medical device manufacturing, biometric verification of the identity of adequately qualified individuals may be required for specific functions.  Using multiple systems for these kinds of challenges is very difficult, if not impossible.

ERP Software Examples

Let’s take a look at some ERP software examples. For instance, let’s say you are a sheet metal shop.  You buy metal in various size sheets, cut it down, and perform other operations like drilling, bending, and welding.  You’re a job shop, so every job is different.

Quoting is a challenge because you need to calculate the size of the finished piece and how large a piece of metal is required to start with.  For example, you’d want to interface to your nesting software to calculate the best yield from a sheet of metal, or , the best yield of all of the cutting needed for the day.

Tracking the order seems easy enough, as long as you know the ship-to address, and when to ship.  The scheduling module gives you a ‘capable to promise’ date by laying the new job on top of the current schedule so you can provide more accurate delivery information.

As metal prices fluctuate and your staff work in various areas of the plant, you’ll want to know how long it took to make the pieces and what your ultimate cost was.  You may want to know which parts are more profitable than others, and which customers are more profitable because they buy more prosperous parts.

From these few ERP software examples, you can get an idea of how powerful an ERP can be for a company.

What is the Best ERP Software?

When selecting the bestERP software, it’s best to identify your most complex products and ask the software vendor how they would handle that situation.  If the software can do the most complex item, everything else should be easier.

You’ll want to select a vendor that has functionality that matches your needs and look at the company’s track record.  Do they have references?  Are they financially viable and look like they’ll be around for several years.  How are the people?  These are going to be your business partners, hopefully for a long time.

There are rating firms that make relative comparisons about software, but you’re best to see it for yourself.  We represent Epicor Software because we feel they are an excellent, well-rounded product that’s been around for a long time, while still keeping up with technology.  It has an amazing API, deep functionality, and a very solid platform which we feel makes it the best ERP software for many businesses and industries.

Choose EpiCenter For Your ERP Software Needs

Properly selecting the best ERP software is just as important for us as it is for you.  We don’t want to try to implement something that won’t work in your situation.  Therefore, let us perform the ‘discovery process’, take a look at your needs, and demonstrate how we can assist you and push your needle forward with our ERP services.  We’ll sign an NDA and roll up our sleeves to give you an excellent understanding of what we can do for you!! 

If this sounds like what you are looking for, contact us today to learn more and speak with an ERP software expert from our team! 

written by Jeffrey W. Glaze, President

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