Advanced ERP systems transform the way you run your business. No matter the industry you’re in or service you provide, the right piece of software can manage your processes, provide seamless communication across your business, and enhance the flexibility you can offer your customers.
When you hook up to a system that accommodates all the different aspects of your business, you have the potential to review, assess, and improve almost everything about your processes. Whether that’s reviewing staff performance, core procedures, or reviewing your third-party suppliers, ERP gives you the power to be as informed as possible about your business.
…but where to start?
It’s not unusual for businesses to choose ERP systems based on factors such as cost, current technology trends, or the system that appears to be the most elaborate. Although it might be easier to trust what’s trending at the time, you don’t want to be left with an expensive piece of software with fancy functionalities you can’t use.
List out your priorities
Make a list of what it is you want from an ERP system, short term and long term. You might not need certain features now, but as your business expands, you want a system that can facilitate growth. This list will also be a good means of reference when comparing against other providers.
For example, if you’re an eCommerce store selling luxury items, customer service might be high on your agenda. So, from an ERP software, you might be looking for features that provide you with the ability to provide the best customer service possible. A CRM tool will help you put customer communication at the heart of your operations, recording and managing every customer interaction, and giving you access to key information in an instant.
If you’re a health care provider dispensing medication to important customers like the NHS, your priority might be keeping a close eye on stock supplies. Inventory management within an ERP software that provides you with a clear breakdown of what is coming in and out of your business, so you can prioritise customer orders, and make sure you’re always stocked with important medical supplies.
Do your research
The marketplace of ERP solution providers is vast, and not every system offers the same level of functionality, service, or training. Review sites such as Capterra, Web Retailer and Software Advice offer great (and honest) insights into different tech solutions.
As well as checking over review sights, consider looking into any potential free demos or trials of your shortlisted systems. These free demos or trials are a great opportunity to see if the system is something you can imagine yourself using. Depending on the investment you’re making, most ERP providers will also offer some type of consultation, be that on the phone or face-to-face.
Get your team ready
The key to a successful ERP system is making sure there’s a team (or individual) who takes ownership and perhaps leads in the implementation stage. The implementation stage can range from hooking the system up to your business, to training on the software itself. When it comes to training, it might be the case that your whole team want (or need) to get involved, particularly for staff in your warehouse. ERP systems should constantly be evolving and expanding their capabilities, so having someone in your team stay on top of important updates in the system can be key to getting your money’s worth.
Implementing ERP software can be a timely process, but what’s great about this tool is the opportunities it provides you further down the line. With your processes becoming more efficient, and (in some cases) manual jobs becoming completely automated, it’s important to consider how this may affect the dynamics in your staff. For some, after an ERP solution has been implemented, their job duties become almost halved, and there’s more time to be spent doing other jobs.
Be prepared for change
Transitioning from your normal way of working to an ERP system can be a shock, so it’s important to be open-minded about a new way of working. There’s no point in investing in a system if you aren’t willing to leave some of your bad habits behind, in favour of some tried and tested industry standards. We understand that implementing a solution can be tricky, especially if you’re used to your current way of working…but with change comes the opportunity to work smarter and fast forward growth.
As we already touched on earlier, an ERP system can often free-up certain roles within the business, allowing you to undertake new opportunities and train your staff in other areas. Of course, it may also mean that a job typically manned by two people can now be completed by just one.
Consider the cloud
If it isn’t already on your radar, it’s important to distinguish the different forms ERP software can come in. Typically, you’ll be choosing between premise or cloud-based solutions. Both of which, have different perks. On-premise software is installed locally, on a company’s own server. Traditionally, server-based systems are designed for those turning over larger amounts, processing a lot of orders, and handling a lot of stock.
Cloud-based software is hosted on the vendor’s servers and accessed online. It can be used anywhere at any time, making it perfect for those operating smaller businesses. Delivering this experience within your internet browser allows you to adopt a ‘pay as you go’ approach, removing the major barriers of cost, IT infrastructure, and training fees.
How we can help
For more information on choosing an ERP system, check out our brand new ebook: https://www.khaoscloud.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/ebook-final-2.pdf
Everything mentioned in this article is available in our multichannel ERP, Khaos Control Cloud. Secure your business’s future by choosing a tried-and-tested ERP that will take it to the next level. Sign up for a free demo here: www.khaoscloud.com/signup