ERP System: What It Is and How It Can Enhance Your Business


Every business needs a set method for organizing its daily operations to be profitable and effective. While large, well-established manufacturers and distributors already have systems in place for managing every aspect of their core functions, small and mid-sized businesses often continue to struggle until they discover enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. 

What Is an ERP System?

An ERP system is a software program designed to make it easier for companies to manage all of their operations efficiently. These systems work so well because they integrate all of an enterprise’s different departments, their communications, and the data they generate into one easy-to-use software application. As a result, data analysis can incorporate information from the company’s entire suite of operations, making it easier to identify and pain points and areas of improvement and resolve those issues.

Authorized employees across the organization can access real-time data that enables fast, well-informed business decisions. This is particularly true for those considering the NetSuite ERP and other well-established options. With NetSuite and other comprehensive ERPs, all vital departments, from finances and human resources to marketing, sales, and purchasing share access to up-to-the-minute information that can be used to streamline business operations.

How ERP Systems Help Businesses

The benefits of ERP systems for businesses vary based on contexts and what types of programs companies wind up purchasing. However, there are some things features that benefit all businesses.

Greater Insight Into Company Operations

ERP systems provide greater insight and visibility into companies’ daily operations. They allow business owners and key stakeholders access to information that gives them the ability to make data-driven decisions and maintain a competitive edge in their industries.

With complete visibility into a company’s operations, problems can be identified in real time. There is always financial data available to authorized users, and good ERP programs can take that and other information, analyze it, and provide actionable insights into how to streamline the company’s workflow.

Better Understanding of Supply Chains

Business leaders don’t just get easier access to information about the company’s core functions and how efficiently they are being carried out. They can also sign into the ERP and get instant access to information about what’s happening with the company’s supply chains. The best part is that this vital information can be accessed from anywhere by authorized users.

Improved Communications Between Different Teams

Other employees can also benefit from access to a wider range of company data. Team leaders can more effectively discover ways to increase productivity, and different departments can communicate with each other more easily. As with the features more targeted toward business leaders, these aspects of the system are accessible from anywhere.

Reduction in Redundant or Tedious Processes

ERP systems can automatically populate forms and streamline other tedious tasks to reduce the amount of busy work facing a company’s employees each day. Data that would otherwise need to be entered separately into each team’s relevant software programs can be input just once into an ERP system, which allows all authorized users to access it quickly and easily. Having less busy work to carry out allows teams to improve their productivity and focus on more essential core functions.

How to Tell It’s Time to Invest in an ERP System

Every company is unique, so there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of when it makes the most sense to upgrade to a fully functional ERP system. That said, business leaders generally begin investigating options when it seems like growth is around the corner. Having an ERP system already in place when a small company begins to grow and thrive helps to guarantee its success moving forward.

Want a more detailed answer? Take a look at these issues that can be easily resolved through the implementation of an ERP system. If more than a few of them apply, the time is ripe for investing in change.

  •  Business leaders don’t have easy access to the data required to evaluate the health of the business.

Team members are wasting time on redundant tasks that could easily be automated.

New hires have a hard time learning all of the company’s many software solutions for different problems across various departments.

No one knows exactly how inventory levels look on any given day.

Internal teams can’t easily collaborate or share information.

There’s no way for company leaders to access essential business data when they’re off-site.

It’s becoming difficult to keep up with regulatory challenges.

Problems are only discovered once they’ve already come up and it’s too late to stop them from impeding daily operations.

These may all sound like growing pains, and on some level they are. However, there’s no reason for small and mid-sized businesses to hamper their own growth by putting up with inefficiencies and unnecessary complications.

Investing in an ERP system requires some money, although each vendor implements different pricing tiers. However, it will save the business money in the long run, providing an excellent return on investment and potentially placing the company in a position to take advantage of new opportunities.

Choosing the Right Vendor

Choosing the right ERP vendor is the first hurdle that businesses will need to overcome. Every team tasked with choosing new software has a slightly different way of going about it, but the best way to find a vendor is to:

Start by determining the business’s current and potential future needs.

Establish criteria for evaluating ERPs

Schedule consultations with vendors to discuss their products.

Create a shortlist of two to three potential providers.

Check vendor references.

Prepare and get answers to specific questions.

Schedule demos with the final vendors on the list.

Make the choice.

A Better Way to Choose an ERP System

Concerned about the amount of time it will take out of everyone’s busy schedules to find and evaluate effective ERP systems? Just like ERPs can cut back on busy work, business leaders can utilize the tools at their disposal to find vendors. Check out comparisons and reviews, and don’t be afraid to hire a consultant who can offer insider advice.

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