ERP – No longer just terminology of large corporations
Many local small to medium sized businesses, use multiple processes and cloud apps, to run their operations. Inefficiencies and errors across every aspect of their business come into play, when they don’t just one system, to manage it all. That’s when an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution comes into play.
When a business starts a conversation about using an ERP solution, partners and directors, not normally at the forefront of the company’s IT, understandably, can feel a little worried at first.
Questions about price, size and accessibility start to arise because many businesses think ERP is just for larger corps with complex operations. But this really isn’t the case, in fact, a properly implemented ERP solution, usually makes the most sense for smaller organisations, who are looking to streamline their operations in order to grow.
It’s hard to disagree, there are solutions out there geared towards large enterprises. However, many of the giants have realised the financial benefit of providing most of the functionality, they have already developed, into a reduced format for smaller operations.
ERP landscape has now diversified enough, to accommodate businesses of all sizes from micro start-ups and local businesses. After all, when you sit down and analyse many of the smaller businesses, they still carry out many of the operations that their larger counterparts do, and require much of the same or similar logistics. A great many smaller companies are now looking at ERP systems, as a vital part of their business growth strategy.
One of the very first questions that is raised is always the cost, and many businesses, still associating ERP with large enterprises, in turn, assume that it’s too expensive for a company of their size. However, most ERP platforms are scalable, and able to be scaled to the specific needs of a business, making them much more accessible than many business people may believe possible.
Consider, for example, the cost of a lost sale or customer, due to clunky business processes. Also, contemplate the costs to hire extra staff needed to perform day to dayt business processes that can otherwise be automated or streamlined by an finely tuned ERP platform that suits the size of the business. In fact, the main advantage of ERP, is that it saves you money by giving your business a direct path towards growth. With many of the “big solution” providers targeting the small business market, as a growth area for their sales, it’s well worth investigating further.
Although an ERP implementation is still a large project, the amount of time it takes depends on varying factors. These include the size of your operation, your goals and the degree of customisation needed and the platform it’s to be built on.
You also need a good IT partner on your side, who fully understands the industry sector you operate in, the needs of your operation, and the resource you can provide them, so as to speed up the planning and implementation of a solution, in a manageable time-frame.
Another common assumption is that ERP platforms are difficult to customise. Not all ERP systems are designed that way and many, to a greater or lesser degree, integrate with other solutions that are widely used by businesses. This allows small businesses to add functionality to their IT structure, rather than change. Many ERPs have created the ability to easily build custom apps, which provides increased adaptability.
There are many more reasons to investigate ERP solutions from the financial benefits of reducing multiple annual licensing costs to saving large corporates thousands of pounds every year. Food for thought.