An ERP system is Enterprise Resource Planning business process management software that integrates and automates a company’s business processes across all functional areas. These functions, including, but not limited to, financial management, supply chain management, manufacturing, project management, service management, sales and marketing, human resources management, and business intelligence are combined in a single system and database that streamlines workflow and generates the information and insight needed to achieve peak performance. ERP also allows companies to determine where and how they can better serve their existing and future clients.
How do I choose one?
First, create a detailed list of requirements before you start looking at ERP vendors. Define the scope of your project and decide which of your company’s specific processes and system requirements will run better through automation. An ERP system that is tailored to your industry, with the tools and features designed to solve your company’s issues and address its unique requirements, will offer the best ROI and long-term benefits. It’s essential to consider the implementation team that comes with the software. Software alone is not a silver bullet.
Ensuring the ERP system you choose is mobile friendly should also be an important consideration. You want your employees to be productive, even when they’re on the go, but a guarantee that the data is secure is also key.
If your product is in the realm of fashion, there may be attention that needs to be paid in a different manner than car parts or office supplies when reviewing ERP systems. With a global customer base, varying time zones need to be factored in, with an eye on accurate, real time data so that no matter where a customer is ordering from or at what time, their order can be filled in a timely manner. Having an inventory system that is transparent along the entire supply chain is key. Your infrastructure has to have the capability of reaching your target market – both on the ordering end as well as the receiving end – quickly and accurately, which is what the right ERP system helps you accomplish.
Additional points to consider
Reconsider over-customizing the system you choose, which will help keep the cost down, though never allow cost to be the primary decision maker. Automating your company’s basic business processes leads to longer implementation cycles and more stability, with the added bonus of flexibility that provides different business departments within a company to seamlessly utilize the centralized database to access and analyze valuable data, transforming it into actionable information.
Another important concern once you’ve chosen the ERP system that will work for your organization is to assign someone who knows or is comfortable managing software systems to serve as the project manager. This person will be responsible for learning the new system inside and out, collecting all the end user requirements, working with the vendor on data conversion, coordinating training, and acting as the point of contact for all employees. Then, make sure to provide the necessary time and resources for training on the new ERP system.
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