Is managing your small business becoming overwhelming? As your business becomes larger, it outgrows the functions that used to work well. Tracking your business’s information on spreadsheets, stacks of paper, or post-it notes doesn’t scale well, and there comes a time when you need to look to software.
When you start researching software options to make your life easier, you may come across the term ERP systems. What are ERP systems, and how can they help your business?
What Are ERP Systems?
ERP is short for enterprise resource planning. ERP systems are a type of business management software. These systems use a series of connected applications to help you manage multiple aspects of your business in the same place. Instead of using one type of software to track your customers, another type to manage your inventory, and yet another to keep track of orders, you can do everything from within the same system.
Types of ERP Systems
When you search “what are ERP systems,” you’ll discover there’s more than one type. The two main types are on-premise systems and cloud-based systems. On-premise systems are like other types of computer-based software you may use. You need to buy the software and license, and then install the ERP on your own computers. Cloud-based systems, on the other hand, aren’t installed on your business’s computers. You pay a monthly subscription fee to access them, and then can log in to the system through your computer’s web browser.
Which type should you choose? For small businesses, there are many benefits of using cloud-based computing services. They have lower upfront costs since you don’t need to buy a license, and the fees are predictable due to the subscription model. Since you access the system through your browser, you can easily work from anywhere, on any device, which is appealing for busy business owners.
Key Features of ERP Systems
There are some key features that you should expect from ERP systems. ERP systems should include applications for customer management, order management, billing and account management, and other day-to-day needs. They should also include applications for catalog management, inventory management, and pricing management. Access to business analytics is another key feature since all business owners need good data to make strategic decisions.
You may not need all of these features now, but your business is growing, and you don’t know what you’ll need in the future. By choosing an ERP system that will grow with your business, you can be sure the system you choose will still meet your needs in the years to come.
Benefits of ERP Systems
Have you ever wasted a lot of time searching through your filing cabinets, desk drawers, and spreadsheets, looking for one little piece of information? You know it’s there somewhere, but you just can’t seem to find it. With an ERP system, you don’t need to do that anymore. All of your company’s data is stored in one place, so when you need information, you know exactly where it is. This saves you a lot of time and frustration.
ERP systems can also make businesses more productive by eliminating repetitive processes. For example, instead of spending all afternoon printing and mailing invoices, you can use your ERP system to send invoices automatically. Instead of following up with each customer individually, you can send automated payment reminder emails. These repetitive tasks aren’t a good use of anyone’s time, and eliminating them will make your business more productive. Instead of wasting time on repetitive tasks, you and your employees can focus on the work that really matters and get more done.