Five signs your business needs an ERP System
Building a business isn’t an overnight endeavour. Years upon years of change and improvisation can result in processes and procedures based on the business as it was a decade ago. Spreadsheets and separate solutions may have worked then – but do they work now?
If you’re encountering any of the following issues, it might be a sign that your business could benefit from the efficiency introduced by an ERP system.
1) You’re doing everything twice
Or three times, or four, or even five. Process duplication can be a considerable time waste for employees, particularly in regard to data management. Information stored in one spreadsheet or system may need to be transferred to another – and another and another.
Each duplication introduces the potential for data to be copied incorrectly, with user error driven by the tedium of needlessly repetitive processes. Each error results in a lesser customer and employee experience, as mistakes are made and information is misplaced.
An ERP system can remove this duplication, empowering your employees to do more in less time more accurately, freeing up resources for more productive tasks.
2) You’re using multiple systems – and encountering multiple problems
Multiple systems present multiple failure points, from cross-system incompatibility and multiple training requirements to lack of reporting on data produced by those systems and restrictive ‘take-your-turn’ usage.
And with more systems comes more failure points, each requiring specific resources and expertise to fix. Multiple systems also means multiple vendors and multiple technical support teams. Consequently, any potential benefit of multiple systems is lost to the complexity and cost of managing, maintaining and utilising those systems.
But with an enterprise wide-ERP solution, the knowledge required to fix any given issue is effectively reduced to a single channel, saving you time and money otherwise spent on maintaining these systems.
3) You don’t have access to information on the go
The use of multiple systems means multiple points of access. You might need to access a particular spreadsheet for one snippet of information and an app for another, making it virtually impossible to get a clear, big-picture overview of any single part of your business.
But these multiple access points also introduce another problem: the inability to access data on the go. Many of these solutions may not support mobile access, and even if they do, you’re forced to pull pieces of information from various systems whilst on the move – a time-consuming task that’s bothersome for both you and the customers you’re meeting.
A good ERP system will provide your business with a single point of access to all your critical information.
4) You’re reliant on too many manual operations
As a business owner, it seems only natural to delegate tasks to someone else within your business. More often than not, though, that ‘someone else’ has something else to do. This results in tasks that could otherwise be automated or streamlined by an ERP system being completed in a slow, inefficient manner.
From the dispatch of automated invoices to instant-response stock replenishment based on predefined stocking levels, ERP solutions can do everything better and faster, without the need for micro-management. Time recouped from the introduction of an ERP system could be re-invested in other parts of the business.
Tasks and processes can be automated by an ERP system, driven by rules and conditions dictated by the needs of your business.
5) Your employees complain about your current processes
The benefits we’ve talked about so far, then, ultimately make for a better ‘people experience’ – for you, your employees, their managers and, most importantly, their customers. If you’re getting a lot of complaints, it might be a sign that your processes are needlessly difficult or time consuming.
There’s no shortage of potential reasons to evaluate your existing systems and processes. From multiple systems, outdated legacy software or paper-based processes. Conversely, things may just about work – but in a slow and intuitive way.
Powered by decades of iteration and cutting-edge ERP theory, a new system can make things faster and more simple.
Making the case for change
It’s easy to see how 5 signs could become 15 or 50 – there’s virtually no limit to the improvements a well-implemented ERP system could bring to your business.
Whether or not you need to evaluate your business processes, don’t ask only what issues such an implementation could fix, ask how it could make what works work better, and how the additional capacity introduced by a modern ERP system could be dedicated to driving growth and innovation in your business.
You’ve found these signs – what next?
Identifying the right ERP system for your business may seem like a daunting task. But with resources such as case studies and solution overviews, there’s no shortage of information when it comes to finding the right business management solution.