As a small to midsize company, staying up-to-date with modern business technologies is standard fare when you’re looking to stay ahead. Whether you’re increasing efficiency, improving the bottom line, or streamlining operations, you have every reason to consider Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) for your business transformation.
With the upgrade to your business technologies on the horizon, the decisions you’ll face are less about whether or not your organization is ready for ERP and more about what the transition entails and how to get the most out of your ERP project. Who will you select as your software partner? Which system will you implement, when will you begin and how many standard features do you/will you need?
You will need to answer all these questions and many others as part of any successful ERP software evaluation process. As an integrated management software system, ERP includes base modules and add-ons from which to choose. These enable your ERP system to manage your company’s administrative and financial responsibilities such as Accounting, Human Resources, and Customer Service Management; as well as logistics responsibilities which can include Sales and Inventory Management, Supply Chain and Materials Management among others. These systems allow your organization to view, manage and track core business processes and resources in real-time using a single source of data.
If your company is accustomed to spreadsheet accounting or manual workarounds using outdated data sources, then an integrated system sounds refreshing. ERP systems not only compile and store the company’s common data but also makes it readily accessible for you to gain real business insights for informed decision-making. Great, then you need the ERP system that does everything, right?
Unfortunately, most organizations have found that selecting the best ERP software is more complex than simply choosing the ERP system with the most bells and whistles. In fact, paring down which features your company needs is a critical part of your software evaluation process. But before you can go about selecting the ERP solution tasked with ushering your company into its next phase of innovative operations, you need to determine the business requirements you expect to be addressed from your new ERP system.
ERP software is a major investment that will give your company many returns with the right planning. Which of your existing technologies and business processes will your new system be required to support? As part of your ERP software evaluation, you and the company’s internal stakeholders will look at business operations to consider what could and should change. Where do you see the business in 5 years? In 10 years?
If you’re not sure, consider why you’re embarking on this technology upgrade in the first place. Perhaps you need a focused ERP solution which addresses your immediate needs but also allows for future add-ons. Maybe you simply want a tailored ERP system which addresses problems specific to your industry. With so much to offer, ERP is a great solution for companies looking to:
Improve customer service
Standardize business processes
Simplify compliance and risk management
Integration/collaboration across departments
Replace legacy system
Position the company for growth
Harness industry-specific solutions
Gain better insights and analytics
Improve inventory management
Leverage global markets
The list goes on and therein lies a problem. With so many features and benefits delivered by modern ERP systems, it is imperative to perform the proper due diligence needed to determine your specific software requirements. Where do you begin?
Start with an analysis of your existing systems and their inherent weaknesses. Consider where you may be wasting labor hours on manual workarounds or processes which could otherwise be automated. Be sure to recruit stakeholders from different departments. Consider your chief concerns and prioritize your functional requirements into three categories: mandatory requirements; requirements which add value; and optional, nice-to-have features.
Once you’ve determined what you need from your ERP system, it is important to find a solution capable of meeting the performance expectations identified by you and the internal stakeholders.
Use our checklist of common software requirements to help you visualize the available modules and integrations from which to choose.
Accounting and Financial Requirement
ERP allows companies to automate their accounting functions while providing analytical tools for financial insights across all departments.
ERP-to-Bank Interfaces and Reconciliation
Cash Flow Management
Automatic Cost Calculation
Cost Calculation Mode Selection
Multiple Currencies Support
Multiple Languages Support
Regulatory Compliance Support
Human Resources Requirement
ERP allows companies to manage employee information. Included in this module is the Payroll System which allows companies to manage salaries, payment reports, and track travel expenses/reimbursements.
Enterprise Compensation Management
Human Resource Management
Employee Performance Management
Personal Income Tax
Time and Labor/Attendance
Time Card Management
Manufacturing and Distribution Requirement
ERP allows companies to effectively manage manufacturing and distribution processes by saving time and money relating to labor resources.
Capacity Requirements Planning
Production Cost Analysis
Product Data Management
Engineering Change Management
Master Production Scheduling
Quality Assurance Management
Resource Planning and Management
ERP allows companies to manage planning, organizing, and controlling the flow of materials from their initial purchase to the service point.
Availability of Materials
Availability of Stock
Optimum Store Inventory
Sales and Inventory Requirement
ERP allows companies to integrate finances, logistics, operations, and inventory all in one place.
Customer Credit Management
Sales Order Processing
Capable to Promise Inventory
Bill of Materials (BOM)
Credit Card Processing
Online Transaction Reporting
Sales Order Management
Supply Chain Requirement
ERP allows companies to ensure their products get from supplier to consumer while reducing waste, increasing productivity and eliminating operational inefficiencies. These tools are often indispensable to retailers, manufacturers, and distributors.
Packaged Integration to Back Office Applications
Manufacturing Execution System
Management of Resources
Dispatch of Orders
Execution of Orders
Collection of Production Data
Production Performance Analysis
Customer Service Requirement
ERP allows companies to improve customer service and enable faster and more accurate product delivery. Customer and purchase information is shared cross-departmentally for improved insights.
Customer Account Management
Customer Account Dashboard
Marketing Resource Management
Pricing and Tracking
Web Storefront Tool
Sales Force Automation
Integration Capability Requirement
ERP allows companies to integrate seamlessly into their existing infrastructure to source data from a common database and avoid data duplicity. With a fully integrated ERP system, staff members gain real-time access to accurate, up-to-date information.
Application and Software Integration
Integration With Handheld Mobile Devices
Integration With Portable Scanners
Integration With Fax Server
Integration With Barcode Generator
ERP allows companies to decide: on-premise or cloud deployment? An “on-prem” solution is typically managed by your internal IT department and usually requires a higher initial investment due to the IT infrastructure required to set up and maintain your on-premise hardware.
Cloud-based systems, on the other hand, don’t require the upfront investment or IT support while offering on-the-go access to data and business insights.
ERP allows companies to improve employee satisfaction with modern technology to support their roles. While ERP is designed to be user-friendly, it’s important that you choose an ERP vendor solid training and support features.
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