14 Nov What is ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning)?
When your business is growing, it can become difficult to keep everything running smoothly (or profitably!), and can feel as though you are just chasing your own tail as you jump between various programs just to try and keep everything on track.
Through the use of an ERP system however, you can bring all your business processes together, and gain the ability for data to move easily throughout the system. With the ability to collect your organisation’s shared data form a variety of sources, ERP systems can eliminate data duplication and provide data integrity with a single source of certainty. With this ability, you are no longer making staff maintain separate databases and spreadsheets that have to be manually merged to generate reports, and can help streamline the process and improve data visibility when it comes to financing and business management.
So, in a world where we continue to rely on technology being connected everywhere we go, and the internet of things (IoT) becoming the norm, companies have found a necessity of having a cohesive location for their business information, eliminating the need to transfer data between programs or departments.
But what exactly is an ERP system, and how can its capabilities benefit your business?
What is ERP?
An ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, is a solution that helps businesses manage their entire backend processes. This includes everything from the finance and accounting side, to procurement, inventory, and supply chains- just to name a few. Simply put, ERP is a centralised program from which all the essential functions of a business can be run.
Many ERP systems come in all shapes and sizes, with some like Triumph ERP offering customisable options tailored to suit your business needs, so regardless of what industry your business is in, there will be an ERP system to help you manage your business.
What does an ERP system do exactly?
ERP systems offer a number of uses for all kinds of businesses, but essentially, the ERP system is used to keep all of the crucial data and information from your business in one place, ensuring that everything you need to run your business smoothly is safe, organised, easily accessible, and fully intergrated. When you set up an ERP system for your business, you will only need the single program to keep track of all the moving parts within your organisation- no more misplaced spreadsheets! -and gives you a complete picture of the who, what, where, when, why, and how of the day-to-day operations of your business.
How can an ERP system benefit my business?
Not only can an effective ERP system help you improve business efficiency, but it can also help you make better business decisions for the future.
For a business to improve, transparency within the operations of the business is important. With the capabilities of an ERP system, you can shine a clear light on all aspects of your operations and gain a clear overview of your business, and understand how you could be doing things more efficiently. This will also assist you in making informed, financially sound decisions- which can be difficult when you don’t have the full picture.
Here are just some of the ways ERP can benefit your business:
- Track your business resources: Gain a better understanding of cash spending, raw materials, personnel, production and more.
- Understand consumer behaviour: ERP systems can collect the required data so you can analyse behaviourisms, allowing you to see what is effective, what may not be working so well, or even how you can improve product movements.
- Manage the flow of information: Centralise your data to one main location for easy access for yourself and your staff.
- Control the costs recorded against jobs and service functions within your business.
- Estimate, charge-out and bill time and material costs which are raised by a particular job or client.
- Know the progress of each job: quickly and easily know what has been completed, what materials are being shipped, and more in the one convenient location.
Do I need an ERP system?
Not every business may find ERP systems suitable, however, if you have recently had growth within your business, or plan on growing it soon, or perhaps you just want to find a way to organise and improve your workflow, then perhaps and ERP system could be the answer.
Perhaps you don’t need an ERP system at the moment, but have future plans to increase and improve your business model, it’s important to know that it’s much easier to put the necessary infrastructure in place now, rather than try to implement an ERP system when you’re struggling to keep up with demand. ERP systems such as Triumph ERP for example, are not only scalable, but also customisable, so you can be confident about the system expanding when you need it to.
If you already have software in place such as Xero or MYOB and you feel that it does the job you need it to do well, then perhaps you don’t need to transition to a ERP system yet, however it is important to address that there are a few key signs that may be telling you that your business may benefit from stepping up to an ERP system.
Firstly, you may find that your current software doesn’t seem to be keeping up with the growth of your business without additional plug-ins or updates. Although additional plug-ins to software can help you gain a new avenue for data collecting and reporting and hold off an upgrade for a while longer, it is important to understand that with the more plug-ins you add to software like Xero or MYOB, the more locations your data can be sent to, causing various information to be spread out over various locations, rather than formulated in one secure location.
Secondly, your business may have recently gone through a merger or acquisition process. This can cause a dramatic change to business operations, as well as a potential increase of consignments. With the new changes leading to increased data, the recording of information collected simultaneously can avoid confusion through the use of an ERP system.
If you still feel that there is still no room for improvement in the way you operate your business, then chances are you may not need to invest in an ERP system. However, with ERP becoming popular with businesses for their fully-integrated finance and business capabilities, the chances are that your competitor could already be using ERP software.
Sure, no one said that making the most of a fully integrated ERP system would make running a business a walk in the park, but what it will do is help you manage all levels of your business from one secure location, creating ease for your business management needs.