In today’s world, it can be impossible to operate a business without the aid of sophisticated IT infrastructure and systems, due to the sheer amount of information and systematic processes that ‘best practice’ implies. Even yet, many companies of all scales try to manage with old core systems and spreadsheets; but at what cost in efficiency, accuracy and stress?
This means that an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, can be an extremely useful and vital piece of software created to help manage everyday business, from warehouse management, customer-relationship management, production, project management, all the way to accounting and everything in between. It should be noted that an ERP is never ‘the answer’ to a company with issues, but sometimes a core part of the answer.
How does it do this?
An ERP works by being a single integrated database at the centre of all the individual flows of data from all the different functions within a business, data is therefore entered once and used many times. This then makes a single version of the truth feasible rather than many silos of information.
ERP’s are, by their nature, comprehensive and complex. Finding the most appropriate ERP and implementing it well means it can collect so much information to be an extremely helpful tool. The aim is to help business managers, stakeholders and operatives in their day-to-day lives across the whole range of work activities. As examples, here are a handful of day to day business tasks in which it can help:
• Decision making
• Supply Chain and Procurement
• Inventory Management
• Resource Management
• Financial Management
• Operational Management
• Production Planning and MRP
• Reporting and KPI’s
• Customer-Relationship Management
• Sales Management
• Quotations and Pricing
• Job Costing Models
On the surface, many ERP’s look like they do similar things. Although, there are many different ERP’s available on the market built by different companies and in the detail, do many different things. Within any given ERP, there can be different features and options available, possibilities to change how certain processes are managed, which means that research needs to be done to best match your needs and requirements with what can be delivered in fact.
This needs to be done before choosing an ERP and vendor – let alone actually implementing it. Everyone knows that it can be a costly process however, you have to understand that getting it wrong is far more expensive than getting it right. Companies have gone into administration trying to implement a poor system that ‘sounded ok’.
It will take resource and many businesses do not have the internal resources in order to confidently implement an ERP. At least not on their own, although they might try; in the first instance. Getting help from a company who really has knowledge and business experience is the best investment a company can make.
Having said that, the business transformation that can result from implementing a new solution as a catalyst for change, in the right circumstances can be massively beneficial. A simple health check will tell you if there is an issue or need. It can be that there is no need to invest in new systems; the existing system has just become out of alignment with the requirements of the company and the markets it serves. An optimisation process can bring the business processes, the systems operations and the customer’s demands back into alignment, quickly and cheaply.
So what’s the next step?
If you’d like to know more about a simple health check and how it could help you: click here.