So, what can an ERP solution help you with? What problems can it help you solve and what does it allow you to do practically?
To begin with, it can allow you to properly keep your books in order. Hugely important and something every business needs to address from day one, getting your business financials straight is essential. That includes general budget uses, paying your employees their salaries and covering their benefits, managing your cash and assets, to name a few. Whats more, all this is laid out and organized to include all the best practices and industry and regulation standards – so that you don’t have to implement them on your own.
Other than that, ERP can help with the manufacturing aspect of your business. Taken in the most broad sense this means the entire process of taking one set of components, using tools or machines and/or labor and turning them into a finished product. ERP can be there for you regardless of whether you’re making and selling shoes or microchips. It can handle work order, bill of materials, general inventory management, placement of orders and purchases, supplier interaction and many other things along those lines.
Core business aside, ERP can greatly simplify interaction with the customers and improve the sales process, including marketing, promotion, following up and processing leads etc, In addition to this, it can do that seamlessly either on the retail/B2C level (end users) or on the B2B level (affiliates, suppliers etc). At the same time ERP makes it easy to understand what’s going on in your company (what’s collectively called Business Intelligence) by allowing you to create reports, enable alerts and perform simple or complex data mining. It can let you assign metrics to actions and assets and to generally be able to better judge what works well and what doesn’t in your business – which is a hugely important advantage.
So, having this advanced level of organization is definitely crucial – but how does one select which solution is best for them? Again there is considerable literature on the subject out there but we’ll give our version in the next post.