Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
Any successful business requires the coordination of multiple factors: accounting, inventory tracking, customer service, quality control and more. Those functions may take place in different programs, maybe even different locations, but it is crucial that they work together as consistently, accurately and efficiently as possible.
The purpose of any ERP platform is to integrate a business’s various functions into one system, to streamline processes and information across an organization. Ideally, a shared database supporting multiple functions helps to synchronize reporting and automate core business functions.
Converting an existing system to an ERP can be a challenge, but it can add real value to your business. The right platform will make crucial data available in real time, allowing employees to address problems more proactively. The synchronization also improves financial compliance with regulatory standards by providing multiple checks and balances.
Consider Your Industry
Different industries have different needs, so it is important to consider the specifics of your industry when researching ERP solutions. Law firms, for instance, would need contact management, secure document storage, and financial tracking for billing hours and expenses. Manufacturers, however, need a way to manage financial accounts, inventory tracking, shop floor duties, and customer service.
Basic software like Quickbooks can provide an easy way to track accounting and financials for new businesses. However, it is lacking key elements, like barcode scanning and certain reports (outside of basic accounting). As companies scale and grow, they will most likely require something more specific to their industry.
Unfortunately, a full ERP upgrade can require a substantial investment. Some business owners will try to avoid the cost by patching together various plug-ins, like Fishbowl or MiSys. These can provide a temporary solution, but they are not built to work seamlessly with other platforms. This can create logistical complications and impact efficiency, which are huge drawbacks.
Larger, more comprehensive ERP platforms are available, but they can cost thousands of dollars. For small and mid-size businesses, the costs simply outweigh the benefits, even for those who need ERP. Business owners are forced to choose between an inadequate system of unrelated programs, or forfeit a lot of profit and growth to invest in an ERP that may provide more than they need.
Ask an Expert
For affordable ERP options, you may need a professional opinion. Technology Pointe Inc has launched a partnership with Cetec ERP, a company that prides itself on using modern technology to create affordable options for small and midsize businesses.