There is an old adage which states, â€œThose who fail to plan, plan to fail,â€ and nowhere is this more true than in the world of business. Though many small business owners feel their firms are â€œtoo smallâ€ for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. In order to survive and thrive, small-to-medium sized businesses have to be more nimble and effective than their large-scale competition, and as such, the advantages offered by using ERP early on are more than worth the expense.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â How Can ERP Help Your Business?
ERP software is essential for effectively managing production, order processing, and inventory, ensuring that your business can complete all of these tasks quickly and without error. The convenient central database provided by ERP software can also be used to help monitor business resources and to review matters of revenue, materials, orders, staffing and manufacturing capacity.
The time savings provided by ERP software are invaluable to small businesses; as small businesses generally have only a few employeesâ€”all of whom are already being asked to perform multiple rolesâ€”having to take the time to manually process multiple spreadsheets and work through large volumes of data can seriously impact productivity. With an ERP system, however, operations like order processing, production, and financial data processing can be streamlined and automated, leaving employees free to focus on the business itself.
ERP also vastly increases a business’s transparency as rather than each department of the business needing its own information system, all data is shared across all departments. This visibility greatly reduces data processing errors, increases productivity, and lowers the demand on human resources. It also leads to better and faster decision-making and allows small business owners to more quickly identify areas where waste is occurring or where productivity could be enhanced.
With ERP software in place, a small business is free to grow without interruption; as transactions increase and the volume of data that must be processed grows, ERP software naturally steps in to handle the extra workload, organizing client orders, updating inventory, checking stock levels, processing invoices, and billing. This prevents small business employees from becoming overwhelmed once the business begins to take off and it means that the business can be effectively run with fewer staff.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The Changing Face of ERP
In the past, there were few suitable options for ERP available to smaller businesses which lacked the funds and technical support personnel required to implement conventional corporate-scale ERP solutions, all of which required a substantial infrastructure be put in place. Today, however, there are a number of low-cost, user-friendly ERP software packages available.
If you need ERP for your small business, look beyond the large platforms (e.g. SAP) and shop around for an affordable package which includes the essential tools, such as CRM, web hosting, an ecommerce platform, a shipping manager, and so on. As a small business, you won’t need the majority of the â€œbells and whistlesâ€ that costly ERP packages include, so feel free to choose the most cost-effective solution that meets your needs.