Choosing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software for Your Small Business
Whether you’re in manufacturing, hospitality, retail, or another industry, it’s important to find small business software that helps integrate all aspects of your business and gives you a single view of the complete picture. Although some may think of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software as a tool that only works for very large organizations, it can actually help small businesses get a single view of each facet of their business at once.
An ERP small business software package is designed to integrate all aspects of your business – like accounts payable, accounts receivable, shipping and more – to give you faster and more flexible processes. ERP software helps you consolidate all the systems of your small business into one, but it’s important you understand the cost and impact of integrating completely before consolidating to a single small business software system.
Benefits of integrating with ERP software
Enterprise Resource Planning may seem too lofty a goal for small businesses, but it can be a vital tool to edge out competition as you grow your company. Managing all systems, including financial and management accounting, human resources, manufacturing and supply chain management, project management, data services, and customer relations, on one small business software system makes it easier to track and change processes. This helps you discover and resolve issues before serious problems arise, which saves you time and money.
ERP Software can also help your sales forecasting and inventory optimization with an easily accessible record of historical transactions, including order and revenue tracking. By consolidating this data, you get real-time information needed to adapt and make time-sensitive decisions quickly. Small businesses can also use ERP software to cut down on delays and lag time between processes. For example, as soon as an invoice is sent to a customer, the document is immediately available to your customer service, accounts receivable and billing teams.
With these improvements in business processes, you can focus on improving the quality and efficiency of your business by addressing customer service and manufacturing needs. It also makes it easy for you to see the consolidated, decision-making information you need when you’re not involved in the day-to-day of a particular function.
Costs of ERP software
Enterprise Resource Planning software may be more expensive than other options, and requires special training, but the integrated benefits you’ll receive could negate this cost after a few years. Plus, there are now ERP small business software programs that incorporate online storage, making them more affordable than options requiring new technology.
In order to properly utilize ERP, you need to do more than tell your employees they’ll have a new system; you need to provide training and show them how the updates can improve their daily tasks. ERP software can only pass orders through your organization if your employees understand the system and can access and complete tasks quickly. This small business software should be used to improve how your team takes orders, manufactures your product, ships goods, collects accounts receivable, etc. If you do not work with your team to understand Enterprise Resource Planning, you could even end up slowing down your business.
ERP software makes paper-based processes digital, reducing your overall costs, but keeping your employees on their toes. To decide if it’s worth the $300,000 to $1,000,000 price tag for the first few years, you need to consider software and consulting costs, the hours dedicated to reworking processes and the integration testing. Take a look at how the improved integration from the new software could benefit your company in the long run before you decide to purchase ERP software. You should also consider choosing an ERP provider that provides on-site training for your team.
Covering the costs of ERP software with small business loans and lines of credit
If you determine that now is the right time to transition your business to Enterprise Resource Planning, a small business loan or line of credit may be able to help you cover the up-front costs. Small business loans, like SBA (small business administration) 7a or Express loans, or business lines of credit are designed to get businesses the capital they need to grow and compete. If Enterprise Resource Planning or other small business software seems like the right fit for your company, speak to a business banking representative to get started on the process of applying for a small business loan.
Sponsored content was created and provided by RBS Citizens Financial Group.