Guest writer Sachin, lays out the case for Enterprise Resource Planning software (ERP) – what it is, and what it does.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is an integrated approach to a whole suite of business operational functions. ERP software is an integrated suite of software designed to manage these functions on a “same page” basis. It’s similar in some ways to project management software, but covers multiple field of business needs.
ERP software basics
ERP software provides a very large range of functions, and like good business software should, it’s able to be customized to suit any business environment, seamlessly.
This class of software is generally considered best practice, high-ROI software because of its ability to provide a single-stream management function. ERP software includes:
- Quote functions
- Business planning templates,
- Manufacturing processes,
- All aspects of marketing
- Reporting functions
The software also provides functions like stock control capabilities, ordering, customer service functions, financial management and staff payroll, etc.
As you can see, this is a comprehensive list of basic business operations, consolidated on one system, which is where ERP software provides valuable solutions not available on other packages. A package like MYOB can do some things, but not others. ERP software is designed to provide this overwatch capability in one package.
This huge range of functions is particularly useful for businesses in planning mode, because it provides a useful structure which can operate as a single entity, not sourcing materials from outside or other programs. For small businesses, it’s a godsend, providing increased capabilities on one system, not an expensive range of different software.
ERP in the workplace
ERP methodologies are part of the new generation of advanced business management practices and techniques. The fact is that management is now very much based on business software. The better the software, the better the management capabilities, so being able to manage a business from a single desktop environment is best practice in more ways than one.
ERP uses a concept called “workflow”, which is a systemic, step-by-step methodology designed to operate as a quality control system, ensuring, for example, that all steps of ordering are carried out properly, in sequence, from order picking to invoicing.
The good news for businesses is that this drastically cuts down on administration. Time is more than money. ERP software automates administration, as far as possible. (Those who’ve spend hours on administrative details will appreciate how much of a saving on time, frayed nerves and other distractions this really is.)
Applying ERP software to your own business
The best way to check out the advantages of ERP software is to “test drive” the software and see for yourself the practical applications.
Check out in particular:
- Reporting functions – These are critical to any business, and a well-organized reporting system really does provide management with a wealth of information, quickly and efficiently.
- Sales – Another key aspect of any business, and if you’ve been finding your sales data more cumbersome than helpful, you need to look at this aspect closely.
- Marketing and related operations – This very high value, and often capital intensive area of operations can be streamlined and literally put on a single page, single function basis for management.
ERP is likely to be exactly what you need to move your business forward and streamline your administration. Check it out, because you won’t be disappointed.
Guest article by Sachin.
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