Introduction: Sooner or later all successful businesses reach a point where the old ways of doing things just don’t work anymore. The off-the-shelf accounting software, for instance, is no longer effective for running an increasingly complex business.
But for many companies, the next phase often means acquiring a hodgepodge of different technology systems on an as-needed basis. One day it’s a new contact management system from vendor X, the next it’s an e-commerce application from vendor Y.
A distinct lack of integration ensues, creating a host of challenges that prevent the organization from firing on all cylinders. As you grow, you may need an integrated technology system that unites all of your business functionality from finance to sales, inventory to shipping, and purchasing to payroll.
What Is This Solution?
This solution, known as enterprise resource planning software, allows you to track, manage, and control all aspects of your business. For example, when a customer buys a product from your Web site, you want the sale to be automatically reflected in your inventory system so that you can see up-to-the-second inventory status and make delivery promises based on actual inventory. Without a truly integrated set of business management systems, it’s impossible to achieve that kind of real-time awareness and intelligence.
Typically ERP software is expensive and can be time-consuming to install, but it doesn’t have to be.
What Are the Benefits of This Solution?
This ERP solution offers big business functionality at small business prices. It’s a fully integrated software package for a wide variety of industries, including retail, wholesale, distribution, e-commerce, and mail order.
The business benefits include the following:
- Accounting: Have you outgrown QuickBooks? This ERP software integrates accounting with all areas of the business, so nothing falls through the cracks.
- E-commerce: ERP integrates your storefront with back-end inventory, without developing a shopping cart application or hiring programmers.
- Purchasing: ERP automates your entire purchasing process from quotes and orders to receiving.
- Point of sale: ERP pieces together information that was once impossible to gather. The software gives you a completely automated retail management system that supports barcodes and touch screens and integrates with all your back-office operations in real time.
- Customer relationship management: Now you can track your sales activity in real time. This solution lets you monitor incoming e-mail and other critical data and immediately bring the information to employees who need to know about it.
CHECKLIST: When Is This Solution Right for Your Company?
So how do you know if this ERP solution is right for you? Here are some questions to consider:
1. Is it a struggle to reconcile accounting and other business information from multiple systems?
2. Are you looking to incorporate e-commerce features into your business, such as shopping-cart processing, order tracking, freight calculations, credit card processing, and Web promotions?
3. Would you like to increase customer satisfaction by better understanding their needs and communicating with them on a proactive basis?
4. Is it difficult for you to leverage business information, such as purchasing histories, in order to obtain better prices from suppliers and vendors?
5. Do you want to aggregate data from all transactions into a “warehouse” that you can then analyze to spot trends and improve your business?
If you answer yes to several of these questions, this ERP solution could be right for you.