Advantages of ERP
Now that we’ve covered the basics and cleared up some misconceptions, it’s time to move onto why companies all around the globe are implementing ERP software.
ERP systems are an asset for many organizations. They make your business run smoother by unifying and protecting your information, automating processes, and producing easy-to-understand reports. With these and many more capabilities, the benefits of ERP systems in an organization make your day-to-day operations and long-term planning more efficient. Below are several of the biggest ERP benefits when implementing this type of software:
1. Focused IT Costs
Although ERP software is often a large investment, it can unify your IT costs and improve efficiency. Instead of spending resources on multiple systems that all need dedicated staff, infrastructure, support teams and licenses, you can focus all these costs into one ERP system.
Additionally, if you spend more on disparate systems than you would on a centralized ERP, you might even save on IT costs overall. Using a single system also reduces training requirements for end-users, since they only need to learn one system rather than interacting with numerous individual applications.
While an ERP can include numerous functional areas such as customer resource management (CRM), accounting, HR management and supply chain management, the design of the system is to be modular. This lets you use only the pieces that align to your needs. At the core, an ERP is the glue that binds other systems and their data together. Some ERPs let you integrate numerous third-party systems into a unified whole.
2. Total Visibility
This benefit of ERP is one of the biggest selling points for the software. ERP software allows total access to every important process in your business by making data from every department easily accessible to you and your senior management.
For example, you can monitor inventory levels on a daily basis, including future consignments that are yet to be received and inventory currently in transit. By knowing precisely where you stand regarding inventory levels, you can control your working capital on a more precise level.
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In addition, the availability of all of your company’s information in a centralized location allows for increased collaboration and more streamlined completion of tasks. This complete visibility provides more coherent workflows and allows inter-departmental processes to be easily tracked with maximum efficiency. All of this makes it possible to make quick decisions in confidence, as you can rest assured that you’re seeing the full, complete picture at any given moment.
3. Improved Reporting and Planning
Along with improved visibility, better insight is a major advantage of ERP software. Implementing an ERP suite across departments means your organization has a single, unified reporting system for every process. By having a single source of truth, an ERP system can readily generate useful reports and analytics at any time. This software gives you the ability to analyze and compare functions across departments, without the hassle of multiple spreadsheets and emails.
One of the most popular reports involves finances (go figure). Standard financial reports such as income and cash flow statements generally are built-in, and custom reports can be quickly generated without IT intervention.
ERP allows users to access sophisticated reports like these.
In addition to this, many ERP vendors also offer business intelligence services with their software. This BI functionality allows businesses to gain a deeper level of analytical insight into their operations. These insights aid in corporate planning by identifying both operational strengths and problem areas that need improvement. Providing this kind of detailed view into a company’s data gives ERP users the ability to make better-informed decisions based on trends and metrics.
4. Flexible Modularity
One of the biggest advantages of enterprise resource planning software in the present day is its modular makeup. Most ERP vendors offer several applications that can be implemented together according to business needs. Barring a few exceptions, each application is designed to be able to stand alone or integrate with the larger suite. This way, your company can pick and choose which components work best and can leave out what you don’t need.
Another aspect involves how the software is implemented. The two major deployments are on-premise and through the cloud. With an on-premise system, physical software must be purchased and installed on all company computers and servers. With a cloud-based system the entire software bundle is handled completely off-site by an ERP provider. Cloud-based ERP software has been on the rise in recent years and is projected to become even more popular.
5. Improved Efficiency
Along with reduced IT and training costs, an ERP can reduce the time and effort required by your workforce to carry out their daily activities. Properly implemented, an ERP solution can greatly reduce or eliminate repetitive manual processes, thus freeing up team members to focus on revenue-affecting tasks. The system likewise can aid in the adoption and enforcement of industry best-practice processes, aligning all actions across the enterprise.
Cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, robotic process automation (RPA) and others support the automation and intelligent suggestion capabilities you see in many ERP software applications. This advanced functionality can manage business activities such as demand forecasting, generating purchase orders and tracking products from manufacturing to delivery.
6. Customer Service
Your company’s clients also receive ERP system benefits, even if they don’t know it. Because client information is centralized and streamlined, your sales team will be able to focus on building and maintaining customer relationships instead of maintaining spreadsheets. At the end of the day, the number one thing a business should be concerned about is customer acquisition and retention. Through the end-to-end tracking and insight offered by an ERP system, you can provide better customer interaction from marketing automation all the way through late-phase customer service.
Most up-to-date ERP suites also support e-commerce integration. This means your business will be better able to handle web-based order processing and client interactions.
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