10 Jan No Business is too Small for an ERP Solution
Many small and/or new businesses believe they’re too small for an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution. In reality, though, a small business has even more need for ERP than a large one because they must remain agile to compete. And, with the benefits received from ERP, a small business can look and operate like a bigger one, allowing you to compete with larger competitors.
What is ERP?
At its most basic level, ERP software integrates inventory and order management, accounting, human resources, customer relationship management (CRM), and more into one complete system to streamline processes and information across the entire organization.
ERP systems feature a shared database that supports multiple functions used by different departments, so, for example, the finance department and the sales department can access the same information for their unique needs.
ERP software also offers synchronized reporting and automation, so that employees don’t have to maintain and manually update separate databases and spreadsheets. And from the ERP’s dashboard, line staff and management can access key metrics for better decision making.
An ERP can be implemented across all kinds of industries. Here at EpiCenter, we have customers in aerospace and defense, medical devices, electronics and high tech, rubber and plastics, fabricated metals, furniture and fixtures, energy, automotive, capital equipment, firearms, biomed, and foam products.
Small Business Needs
In a small company, employees must be very resourceful, pitching in when needed. Having to manually process spreadsheets and large amounts of data is an added burden. An ERP system automates key business functions such as order processing, invoicing, and shipping, freeing staff up for doing revenue-building work.
Small Business Benefits
Productivity: As your employees are able to shift the focus from managing volumes of information to their core business roles, they become more productive, helping to transform your business and set you up for growth.
Transparency: As each department is able to access data from one central source, there’s transparency across the organization and staff no longer needs to re-enter or export data, which can result in errors and decrease productivity.
Smart Decisions: The real-time data ERP provides helps management, accounting, and marketing make wise and timely decisions. If a problem rears its head, changes can be made before productivity is affected. Business leaders can make effective decisions and respond quickly to changes.
How to Know that It’s Time for ERP
It may be time for an ERP system if:
- It’s difficult to keep up as orders increase.
- You rely too heavily on Excel spreadsheets.
- Inventory is a puzzle.
- Your sales forecast is all guesswork.
- It’s hard to get the data you need to make strategic decisions.
If inputting sales and purchase orders and updating inventory is onerous and manually checking stock, processing invoices, and keeping track of client interactions is a pain, it’s probably time to act.
ERP can automate all of your manual processes and give your sales and business development teams time to build the business instead of wasting time on administrative tasks. With an ERP system, your workflow happens in one fluid system from client contact, to order processing, to invoicing and payment.
Plan for the Future
Many small companies shy from the idea of making an ERP investment because of the cost and fear of disruption. But the visibility into the business and the power of being able to make more effective decisions should outweigh those concerns. And as you free up staff time and give your people the tools to do their jobs more effectively, you’ll reap the reward.
In terms of disruption, one way to ensure it’s kept to an absolute minimum is to bring in a consultant such as EpiCenter. We can do a Strategic Process Review (SPR) to see exactly what you need from your ERP system, help set it up, customize it, if needed, train your staff, and manage the change effectively.
To get the process started, contact us today.