Top Five Signs Your Business Is Ready for an ERP System
Does this sounds like something you've experienced : end-of-month financials take ages to reconcile; you're are having to guess your sales forecasts; your business is finding it hard to keep up with order volumes and customers are disappointed; it's impossible to find out exactly what is in your inventory and you're having to make estimates. If so, then it may be time to consider an ERP system.
There is no fixed time for when a company needs to move onto an ERP solution – however, as businesses grow and begin to face frustrations associated with scale, they discover a single ERP deployment solves a lot of these problems. If your business is dealing with such issues, read on to see 5 of the top signs that your company is ready for ERP.
#1: You Have Lots of Different Software for Different Processes
If you think about the number of employees you have in your business and the number of different systems they use. Do the accounting staff and sales staff use the same system to track orders, revenues and account receivables? Does the process of taking an order and having it fulfilled take manual work? Do the warehouse staff use multiple systems to track shipments and receive inventory?
When multiple teams in your business run multiple, separate systems, this creates a huge amount of inefficiency. These systems that are intended to make your business run smoothly instead take hours to maintain and reconcile. Getting information from these systems also requires hours of work, which means decisions will happen with out-of-date and inaccurate data.
ERP software will integrate these multiple systems across multiple business functions and are designed to run off a single database – thereby ensuring that the entire business has access to the same, real-time and current data. ERP systems will relieve data processing backlogs, improve decision-making speed and allow staff to concentrate on growing your business.
#2: You Don't Have Easy Access to Information About Your Business
Finding the key information you need to run your business can take a long time. Do you know what your sales margins or your orders per day are? For companies that have siloed product groups and that track information using spreadsheets, working this out cannot be done instantly.
As the speed of business increases, your employees will need access to key information quicker in order to make their decisions quicker. With ERP solutions, executives can gain both top-line and detailed information on the business immediately, whilst staff can access the information they need to help them do their jobs better. For example, sales staff can understand their customers' order and payment histories instantaneously, to fully understand who their high-value clients are.
#3: Accounting Takes Longer and Is More Difficult
If your accounting and bookkeeping teams are starting to complain about their workload then, this can be the first signal that you need ERP software. If your skilled employees are spending hours manually reconciling paper invoices and assigning them to different sales teams then, the savings an ERP solution will bring should be huge.
The same is true for financial and management reporting. Where dozens of spreadsheets are currently used, a single database can be brought-in as a replacement. The ERP solution will mean that accounting staff will not waste days cleaning and rekeying information – making your financial reports quicker and more accurate. It will also leave these skilled staff free to deliver critical reports to help the business grow its sales and improve its efficiency.
#4: Sales and the Customer Experience Are Suffering
As the complexity of a business grows so will the inventory management – this is required to ensure that the right amounts of product are in the right place to serve your customers' demand, without requiring large amounts of surplus stock.
If sales, inventory and customer service teams are not sharing information then managing inventory can become almost impossible. Surges in demand will be followed by stock-outs as the purchasing team does not know to secure more inventories. If a customer calls to ask about a purchase, your employees will not know if the product is available, out of stock or already dispatched.
An ERP system will bridge these gaps and allow all users to have access to the same real-time information. Employees that speak to customers should have access to their sales and tracking information without having to find and ask their colleagues. Better still, customers should be able to access this information online to find their order status quickly and cheaply. Meanwhile, in the warehouse, staff should be able to monitor sales levels and ensure their stock levels are optimal.
#5: Your IT Is Too Complex and Time-Consuming
Maintaining multiple IT systems across multiple business functions can be a full-time job for a whole team of IT experts. The overheads involved in the management of this can be costly and sap critical time and resources.
The inevitable consequence is that upgrading the on-premises, legacy business software will become more trouble than its worth. These updates are not only expensive, but they risk rolling back some of the previous customisation work you have completed. This issue is such a problem that two-thirds of mid-sized businesses have been found to run outdated versions of their business software – reducing their performance and leaving them open to security risks.
Rather than adding another layer of software, complications and costs to your internal systems, a cloud-based ERP system can provide your business with the best of both worlds. It will allow you to effectively integrate your business IT process without having to manage and maintain the systems with in-house staff. With an ERP provider like NetSuite, system updates are no longer an issue, and new functions are easy to add as your business grows and changes.To learn more about why a cloud-based ERP provider like NetSuite is ideal for your business, click here.