Planning for a new ERP System For Small Business

The key to survival and the competitive edge in the manufacturing world is the successful installation and the technologies of an ERP system. When successfully implemented, ERP systems link all areas of a company. Benefits include declines in inventory, improved productivity, information about customer wants and needs, reductions in working capital and the ability to view and manage the enterprise of suppliers and customers as a whole.ERP software for small business

Planning for an ERP system usually occurs when an organization realizes that current business processes and procedures are inefficient for their current and future needs.

Why plan for a new ERP system?

The current system is requiring the use of multiple points of input with duplicated effort, the inability to support the organization’s needs, extensive resources for maintenance and support, and especially the inability of employees to respond to questions or information requested by customers or suppliers.

Successful ERP implementation requires top management support, the use of experienced ERP providers and a clear company goal identifying the critical issues that affect the implementation process and know when in the process to address them effectively. An experienced ERP provider is invaluable in helping companies identify those critical issues.

Can I Just use a Spreadsheet?

Simple to use and very accessible, spreadsheets can be useful for financial calculations and analysis in an organization. For start-up businesses and small companies, spreadsheets can be useful and effective to track initial customers, some of your inventory, lists of new orders and some vendor information. Using spreadsheets versus purchasing software at the early start-up of your business will help to limit early expenditures. As your company grows, these initial spreadsheets will then need to begin detailing and tracking more data and one of the main problems then, is when the spreadsheets are improperly used. Too many hands in the pot and you may soon need to find a bigger pot!

As new products, product lines, part numbers, customers, vendors and orders are added and need to be tracked, those spreadsheets will soon become limiting. Additionally, as your business grows and as new employees are hired, they too will begin entering information on your ‘master’ spreadsheet. Your once highly accurate and guarded ‘company bible’, is no longer protected and it is open to changes (some could be good, some could be detrimental). Many companies after some time will begin to find multiple part numbers have been created for the exact same part. This happens because in reality no two people will ever describe the same part in the exact same way. Spreadsheets don’t allow you to easily find if duplicate records are recorded and any inconsistencies to the information being inputted cannot be easily reviewed. It soon will become apparent that the information and data you came to trust and rely on, is no longer reliable or accurate. Your ability to analyze the information and to be confident that it is accurate now has maxed out its usefulness to you as an aid for yearly budgeting, inventory control and year-end financial review. The information you get is only as good as the information you (or your team) has manually inputted. And in that lies the risk.

Time to Step Up to the Plate

A cost effective tool to undertake the challenge for Company growth and improvements is the implementation of an integrated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software business system. ERP systems integrate your business processes from a quote – to production – to cash business flow with one time entries maintained throughout the system.

ERP business systems allow organizations to analyze data quickly, accurately and efficiently. This enables key stakeholders to make better informed business decisions, supply customers with accurate lead times in a timely fashion, provide accurate invoices, improve material planning and plant scheduling and evaluate the costs of production.
In the early years, ERP software used to only be affordable for big businesses, but today, small and mid-sized businesses can implement and benefit from the advantages an integrated ERP business system will provide. A good ERP system will allow you to focus on your customers and company growth rather than spending hours working, fixing and correcting mistakes on spreadsheets

About Chris Demer

Chris Demer works for Metasystems, a pioneer in CRM integrated with ERP software.