10.09.19 by Drew Cataldo, V.P of Business Development, All Covered BCS
Enterprise Resource Planning software (ERP), if implemented correctly, supports innovation and growth within your organization. It does this by offering a range of customizable applications to enable businesses to integrate and manage their most important processes. Put simply, it is a key asset for organizations to run more efficiently. It does this by automating processes through the unification of information from disparate data sources, in a secure and easy-to-use way. ERPs can also (subject to the configuration), provide easy-to-understand trends around your business’ performance, in turn allowing better agility and efficiency when it comes to overseeing your day to day operations and strategic planning. Despite this, we see many businesses daunted by the business change required to implement an ERP. At Konica Minolta, we believe that ERPs have endless benefits for SMB organizations. Below, we’ve outlined the top 9 business benefits that we’ve encountered.
There’s no denying it, ERPs are a significant investment upfront. BUT, the right ERP will consolidate your IT costs and all around, improve efficiency. It does this by ensuring that the expenditures associated with supporting and using multiple systems are consolidated into ONE single cost, cutting spending on incompatible, different systems and the costs of supporting, maintaining and testing integrations with multiple systems. The cost benefits don’t stop there. By freeing up the dedicated staff required to focus on business growth, limiting the needs for a high number of software licenses and reducing the infrastructural support required, the cost benefit of investing in a true ERP is incalculable. Coupled with this, having only one system also reduces end-user training requirements by leveraging the same user interface for every job role across your organization rather than the hassle of adapting to different applications.
A robust ERP can be scaled to your business needs. An ERP system can support various functional areas. Some of these areas include customer resource management (CRM), accounting & payroll, Human Resources, and supply chain management. An ERP, if implemented correctly, unites different databases, pulling data from disparate systems. In turn, it allows you and your executive management team to have complete access to critical business processes from every department by making data transparent across every department and providing it in a centralized hub. The benefits thereafter continue, with better collaboration, streamlined workflows, and maximized efficiency and visibility of cross-departmental processes. All this supporting quick, confident decision-making based on real-time data for your business leaders.
Implementation of an ERP system across various departments means there is a single, integrated reporting system for all processes. ERPs, therefore, facilitate better analysis of business performance with a simplified workflow without needing to have multiple stakeholders and your IT department involved. Additionally, ERPs offer business intelligence services as an added layer to their software, allowing businesses to gain more in-depth analytics of their operations. This can help identify operational strengths and gaps that need improvement for better corporate planning.
On top of reduced costs for IT and employee training, an ERP can increase uptime for your workforce, so that there is more time available and effort can be focused on their day-to-day activities. An ERP can reduce or altogether do away with repetitive manual processes. With an ERP system in place, every employee can have on-demand access to the entire company’s wealth of data, allowing them to see the big picture, or access can be limited to their specific job role by putting in the proper authorizations. All of which frees up team members to focus on revenue-increasing tasks.
With client data consolidated into a central location, your business development team members will be able to prioritize their focus to more important matters like customer relationships, instead of consolidating data from different systems. This ensures your sales teams have the key information they need at their fingertips to help optimize interactions with customers from targeted marketing, all the way through order processing.
Core to the ERP offering is creating efficiency around data sharing to enhance collaboration in any given business. However, we’re aware that this is not without risk. You need to know that the right information is being seen by the right people – not the other way around – and maintain version control. There is a high level of data security both on premise and in the cloud. And through a single input system, the company’s data can be accurate, consistent, and secure, ensuring that there is one source of truth for everyone to draw from.
Most ERP systems are typically developed with best practices in mind, supporting standardized processes and systems to further enhance productivity and efficiency for businesses. This, in turn, supports improvement in the way businesses operate by reducing errors and through the reduction of costs. Ultimately, it facilitates cross-pollination of insights between departments.
Being compliant is a must for any organization. But with disparate systems, maintaining version control and accurate financial records, as an example, is not easy. Having an ERP in place can ensure better regulatory compliance through secure, validated data, supported by built-in reports. Automation of these reports can further reduce the cost of regular audits. Also, having an IT system that adheres to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) provides you with a consistent way to view your company’s financial status and easily prepare reports for governmental and regulatory agencies.
ERP systems can enhance supply chain management by improving lead times, ensuring more punctual deliveries and many other benefits that further enhance operations and overall success of your business. Through the right ERP platform, your supply chain is able to be more responsive to changing environment needs, whether it is around demand forecasting, production, inventory, procurement, distribution, etc. In addition, an ERP can contribute to increased profitability and reduced overages involving inventory and production.