An ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system is a set of integrated software applications that automate and manage business processes. Before their adoption, companies had to rely on multiple platforms to automate their operations, opening them to a slew of potential pitfalls. What makes ERP systems so beneficial is their ability to handle nearly every automatable business operation with one software solution.
Virtually all companies could benefit from an ERP system; with data from every department accessible at the click of a button, businesses can make smarter decisions, run more efficiently and elevate their customer service. Of course, finding the right ERP for your company will depend largely on its specific operations. For some companies, the best option is to develop a custom ERP system. Regardless of which software you choose, there are some functions that almost all ERPs should offer.
What Should ERP Software Do?
Finances and Accounting
One of the greatest benefits of ERP software is that it streamlines the accounting department’s financial processes. With built-in automations and workflows, data entry doesn’t have to be synonymous with laborious grunt work anymore. The streamlined process also benefits the company, as data that is entered consistently in the same way will be far more accurate.
With all accounting information consolidated into one system, we also get a much more detailed view of a company’s financial situation. ERPs can automatically take this data and build monthly overview reports, profit and loss statements and countless other vital summaries. Using this data, managers can make better decisions regarding the future of their company.
ERPs also help you manage your employees. They should be capable of conducting payroll, assisting in hiring, monitoring performance, and keeping track of employees’ time. With metrics on employee performance, human resource managers can assess who’s doing well, allowing managers to reward hard workers and identify any patterns. We can also use these metrics to analyze performance over time, granting managers the ability to judge the effectiveness of training and meetings or identify possible human resources issues before they arise.
One essential utilization of ERP software is inventory management. Entering inventory information by hand leaves ample room for error, but businesses can avert this issue by storing and logging all of the inventory data into one centralized system. ERP software also lessens the need to physically check inventory, which can eat up hours of employee time. With real-time updates, customers can accurately check if the product they want is in stock, and managers can check inventory in seconds (without worrying if the information is still correct).
Customer Relationships Management
ERP systems won’t just benefit your company; they’ll help your clients as well. For starters, businesses that sell physical products can track and fill orders far more efficiently with ERPs. They also offer valuable insights on who’s buying your product or service, how much they’re buying, when they’re buying, etc. These analytics should help inform your marketing team on who they should be targeting and inform your sales team if they need to adjust who they focus on. Plus, since ERP systems reduce error overall, it’s much less likely clients will suffer as a result.
Weighing Your Options: Off-The-Shelf ERP System
Not everyone needs a custom ERP system. For companies with fairly standard business processes, ready-made ERP software may be a great option. These off-the-shelf systems are developed based on research into other businesses, not yours specifically. While they are more generic than custom ERP systems, ready-made software still offers customization to varying degrees.
Off-the-shelf is the way to go if you need an ERP immediately, you can start using them right after purchase. Since they don’t require custom development, ready-made ERP software is also significantly cheaper – initially. However, one of the downsides is that you may end up spending a good deal of money on support, fees, and subscriptions. The software may or may not offer upgrades, and since generic systems don’t often have specific knowledge of your industry, you won’t be getting tailor-made solutions.
This isn’t to say generic ERP’s aren’t valuable; not all businesses need highly customizable software, and if your business has somewhat universal business processes, generic is probably the smartest solution.
Weighing Your Options: Custom ERP System
Ordering a custom ERP system can be a daunting task, especially given the upfront costs and time they demand; however, for growing, niche, or unique businesses, it’s usually worth the extra effort. Since a custom ERP system will be designed based on your business needs, not the typical needs of other businesses, you won’t need to make any changes to your current workflows: the system is built around them. You also won’t be saddled with unnecessary features. While extra features don’t seem like an issue on the surface, they can muddle the process and confuse employees who have no use for them.
The biggest drawback most companies see to implementing custom ERP software is the price. Surprisingly, custom software is often cheaper in the long haul than off-the-shelf. With standard software, you’re paying for all of the features, including the ones you’ll never use. With a custom ERP system, you pay for what you need.
There’s also a wide range in the levels of customization you can choose to purchase. Open source ERP software can be implemented with minor adjustments for a fraction of the price; it won’t fit your company’s exact needs, but open source solutions can come pretty close.
Of course, the primary pull towards custom ERP software is that it works very well. You can upgrade whenever, and however, you choose – adding new features and modules as your business grows. The software is also inherently protected against bugs since it is designed and tested for your specific needs.
Developing a Custom ERP System with Vice Software
All ERP systems are complex, but those complexities differ widely depending on exactly what the software does. This is what makes a custom solution so valuable, you can choose precisely how your software works. Vice knows how important a strong system is – an ERP is the single source of truth for your entire company.
Accordingly, we learn everything there is to know about your company and its business processes during the discovery phase. By doing this, we guarantee that the software Vice brings you is nothing less than exceptional. If you’re ready to hit the ground running with a custom ERP system – look no further than Vice Software! Request a quote to get started.