Today’s business world is accelerating at an unprecedented speed, leaving less and less margin of error for the growing number of competing companies. Most companies see lean processes and automation as the answer. Especially mid-size enterprises who increasingly rely on ERP systems to provide business process standards into a technical frame that makes them easy to utilize and apply in hectic everyday business life.
Therefore, we would like to present the major benefits of ERP software and explain how you can squeeze the absolute most out of your solution.
– ERP system’s key advantages
– Criteria to consider before implementing one
– The best timing for switching systems
– Industries that will benefit the most from ERP solutions
– Future trends in AI and automation that can boost your operations even more.
Ready to transform your business? Then let’s dive in!
The Key Benefits of ERP Systems and Why Your Business Needs One
An ERP system aims to streamline your enterprise workflows by offering one tool that supports each of your operations departments, from human resources and sales to supply chain management and accounting.
Since all your data is in one system, with AI and machine learning checking your work, you not only reduce manual data entries but back-and-forth communication between your departments. Therefore, you’re improving your team’s productivity while reducing room for errors.
These days, you can find an ERP solution that covers most of your base system requirements and expand its functionality through add-ons or development of plug-in solutions to your liking. However, many base ERP features will simplify your business no matter if you’re in manufacturing or the service industry.
The most noticeable advantage of an ERP platform is that you’ll automatically streamline your entire enterprise because everyone is using the same system and data. Every department benefits from transparency and reliable records. Within your supply chain alone, you can benefit from the cost savings of a lean inventory thanks to increased accuracy and predictive data analytics — allowing you to improve vendor relations and predict future demand.
Just as this solution saves you unnecessary communication between the warehouse and the sales department, the streamlined processes of ERP applications guarantee that customer service can access the right data faster. This frees up time and enhances the overall customer experience, even more so if you pair your ERP system with a CRM solution.
Finally, advanced financial management will give you, as a business owner, peace of mind. Once an integrated accounting software eliminates the need for offline manual processes, you can rely on real-time data. Up-to-date business records will not only help optimize your cash flow but also enable you to make better decisions. Plus, it will make tax audits a breeze. Combine that with improved data security, and you can see how the right ERP solution will turn you into a more valuable business leader.
Your Business Is Unique. How Do You Choose the Right ERP System?
Maybe you’re already using business software; maybe you’re still relying on pen and paper to track much of your operations. Whatever the case, you should start with a needs assessment that documents your current strengths and pain points across all departments.
That can sometimes include getting an objective outside perspective on your business processes from a consultant that isn’t also a software implementer. Either way, you need to be sure everyone from your CFO to human resources throws in their two cents. It’s better to collect too much information at this point than to have missing business requirements later.
Implementing ERP solutions can also require you to consider integrations, whether you have to incorporate legacy applications or extend the core system’s functionality. If you can rely on standardized connectors such as APIs or out-of-the box integration tools, you can avoid copying data back and forth. This will both get your ERP project off the ground faster because developers will already know how to connect to their ERP solution and also make it easier to maintain into the future.
Especially if you haven’t used any fully integrated business software solutions before, you need to make the switch from working around insufficient systems to actually tracking all our workflows and business data within a single business platform. This may sound trivial, but we can’t neglect the mindset shift necessary for successfully implementing modern ERP platforms. The best applications won’t help the organization if everyone creates their own workarounds and spreadsheets instead of using the ERP solution.
Maybe your team simply isn’t used to tracking every detail of daily business operations, or maybe you’ll discover some unpleasant truth you didn’t expect because you never measured it before. Some team members might feel uncomfortable or threatened while migrating to your new system because operating as usual with their old systems and processes gives them a sense of security. A reliable system alone won’t get you to the finish line, so it’s important to consider your team’s current habits and technical skills. You can’t improve business operations by automating dated and bad business processes.
Every enterprise goes through a different implementation process, but everyone needs to manage expectations from the very start and document those project adjustments along the way.
It’s also a good idea to inform yourself about the various ERP vendors, not only to find the right features but to know you’ll get the support you need from a reliable business partner with a proven track record in your industry. Maybe you can already rule out an ERP vendor or two because they don’t offer your preferred support options.
Finally, it’s time to talk numbers, whether that’s ones and zeros or dollar bills.
Your ERP system needs to both meet your requirements, of course, and your budget. Cloud ERP systems come with different pricing models than on-premise solutions, and if add-ons or customizations are needed, this will also influence your project’s total cost.
When Is the Right Time For ERP Implementation?
The question of when to move on to an ERP system requires a two-part answer. First, you should consider your long-term goals and understand how the systems you’re using will support them. Second, you have to find a good time within your current business cycle so that the ERP implementation won’t result in a slowdown and financial losses.
For some companies, it makes sense to implement an ERP system after they’ve hit a certain annual revenue target. However, if your enterprise faces complicated operations and high amounts of manual data entry, investing in a comprehensive ERP solution from the beginning can actually help you get to the finish line faster. After all, a streamlined business can result in higher revenue, lower costs and greater profits.
Whichever point you choose, your best path is to switch to an ERP during your business’s slow time. We know that’s not always a choice, since some businesses are in a constant growth mode. However, if you can influence it in any way, don’t pick the busiest season of your business year. You may also want to plan to add new staffing in preparation for the ERP project to reduce some duties of an existing staff member with a good understanding of your business operations to lead the project full-time or at least most of their time.
It is also helpful to smooth out any poor business processes before implementing a new ERP system, but we know that some business owners also use the implementation of an ERP system specifically to force change within their company and to eliminate inefficiencies. Either way, it is very important to plan for sufficient staff training and rollout phases across your company so that everyone on your team has time to get accustomed to your new processes.
These Industries Will Benefit the Most From ERP Software
Obviously, every company can benefit from streamlining its business operations, although investing in a full ERP system may not be worth the initial investment for every small business.
As a rule, we can say: the more moving parts in your enterprise, the bigger your ROI for an ERP solution.
That makes certain industries a natural fit. The service industry and manufacturing businesses are both challenged with detailed business planning, in which you can’t afford to lose track of special orders and ever-evolving regulations.
But lots of industries can benefit from lean operations — from construction and the automotive sector to retail brands and health care organizations.
That’s not to say that all those industries are the same, though. It’s critical to find an ERP solution and implementation partner that respects your unique requirements. For a medical facility, meeting compliance with privacy standards will be more important than it would in a waste management organization, while e-commerce businesses will put more emphasis on flexible inventory and order management.
Whether you hope to streamline your supply chain or improve customer service, make sure the ERP setup you choose will support your business goals.
Know Your Business Future With the Power of Data
If you’re still hesitant about making the jump to ERP, we understand. Change can make everyone uncomfortable, especially when it immediately affects your business. That said, we feel you’d be at a disadvantage if we didn’t tell you about future industry trends.
Thanks to the increasing adoption of artificial intelligence and machine learning, you’ll soon see automation beyond basic rule-based processes. That means you can hand off a widening amount of complex tasks that would otherwise require your team’s cognitive abilities, even within specialized niche solutions targeted at your industry.
And since cloud ERP solutions are increasingly common, it’s easy to put that power in the palm of each colleague’s hands, giving them the flexibility many of us have come to expect over the last few years.
While it may take some getting used to, you can rely on predictive analysis for more and more complex tasks every day, from automated data cleansing to demand forecasting or regression analyses. That frees up your employees’ time to tackle those unique challenges you can’t automate.
We don’t have to tell you about aggressive competition in your niche because you already know best. But choosing the right ERP solution can give you the competitive edge you need to both adapt to an evolving business world and beat your competitors.
A tailored ERP system will streamline your business management, boost customer satisfaction and position you as a reliable business leader in your industry. If you would like to learn how the right solution can make your business soar, get in touch with our team today!