There’s a large number of available software solutions on the market for a wide range of processes. Whatever your business is, there’s likely already a software solution out there that meets the specific demands of your industry. One solution that companies of all sizes tend to purchase is ERP software. ERP stands for enterprise resource planning. But what exactly does this term mean, and how do ERP systems work? We’re glad you asked. Read on to learn more about what exactly ERP entails, basic features of the software, installation and implementation.
What Exactly Does Enterprise Resource Planning Mean?
You should think of enterprise resource planning software as a tool that maintains a database of information related to business processes anywhere from human resources to customer relationship management. It’s a lot cooler than just a database though — many ERP solutions allow for the automation and integration of business processes, therefore reducing the amount of manual labor that your team has to perform.
For example, an ERP supply chain solution might receive a customer order and then automatically send that information to the distribution center that is most efficiently positioned to complete the order in a timely manner. If you’ve ever noticed that the return address on packages that you receive from the same vendor isn’t always the same, you have likely seen the result of this technology firsthand. Depending on the ERP solution that you select, your software may be able to look at inventory levels, shipment times and other factors to decide which distribution center would be most productive and cost-effective in completing an order.
In general, ERP uses a centralized database for various business processes to reduce manual labor and to simplify existing business workflows. ERP systems typically contain dashboards where users can look at real-time data collected from all across the business to measure productivity and profitability.
Without ERP software, data is siloed by department and can be difficult to access across a company. By using an ERP, data from multiple departments can be easily shared and visualized across an organization. This wealth of information and simplification can assist in the development of business goals and reduce the amount of time that your employees spend on tasks that could be automated.
What Are Some of the Features Included in the Software?
One of ERP’s main selling points is the wide variety of features that are available across software solutions. However, some of these tools are only available in a handful of software options, whereas others are featured basically across the board. Because the main premise of an ERP system is how these various modules interact with one another to generate actionable insights and perform business functions, it’s important to check and see whether an ERP vendor includes the basic and specialized features that you need to help streamline your business operations.
Check out our list of the 6 main ERP components for more information on these key features.
In addition to features that are commonly included with ERP systems “out of the box”, there are many add-ons or modules that can be implemented based on your business needs. Some vendors have shifted entirely to a modular system, meaning you never have to choose a solution with “core” capabilities you don’t need. The modularity of ERP software is a major trend in the ERP industry and allows users to configure solutions that assist in day-to-day operations for their specific business. Some commonly requested configurable modules include:
The accounting module can help you reduce the amount of time that your accountants spend on tedious tasks such as manually inputting receipt information from expense reports. With an automated and integrated accounting system, you can perform actions such as automatically sending invoices to clients with outstanding balances. With this example, the integrated solution would pull from customer history to automatically fetch contact information and amount owed before sending an invoice to the client. This module is especially helpful as well because it may look at actual operating cost to determine profitability and forecast potential revenue growth.
A human resources module can help you keep track of candidate applications, employee PTO and bonus allocation among other tasks. A good example of how this tool would integrate with other modules is that you could automatically reimburse employees for extra PTO leftover at the end of the year by integrating this system with your accounting program. This function would work by automatically looking at leftover PTO days for employees across the company, calculating how much is owed and then using employee bank account information to submit payment.
ERP software is incredibly helpful to manufacturing and distribution companies. These tools are multi-faceted and can help streamline many aspects of the manufacturing process. For example, a tool within this suite might be able to determine the reordering point of materials needed for the production of goods. This could be measured based on factors such as how popular the item is, the amount of the resource currently available on hand and projected time it would take for the material to ship. Therefore, if you are projected to run out of lumber on Thursday and it typically takes three days to arrive, your materials would be automatically reordered on Monday.
Customer Relationship Management
CRM tools are great for boosting a customer’s relationship with your company and ensuring that their experience is flawless. Customer relationship management can analyze customer browsing and purchasing history to send them targeted ads for products that they may be interested in. It can also keep customers “in the know” as to the shipment status of their order. Think about the Domino’s Pizza screen that shows exactly where your meal is at in the baking process. Buyers appreciate updates on the status of their purchases, as it indicates legitimacy and customer care.
Automated inventory tracking is a commonly requested ERP module. This tool can predict when an item will go out of stock and automatically reorder products based on this estimation. It may also provide recommendations as to which inventory items to place next to one another based on customer purchasing habits in order to streamline the distribution process.
Sound interesting and helpful?
Call us now at +65-9231 3580 to know more!