Smart business leaders are always looking for ways to grow their businesses. This may be through boosting productivity, cutting costs or a combination of the two.
ERP systems are a smart way to easily streamline your business and cut wasted time, effort and resources.
In this article, we explore some of the biggest benefits of adopting an ERP system and look at whether you might need one for your business.
What Is an ERP System?
Before we discuss whether you need an ERP system, we need to know the answer to "What Is an ERP System?".
ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. ERP is usually rolled out in a business via a piece of software that links several business processes into one centralised space, where data and information can be input and extracted easily.
What Are The Benefits of an ERP System?
There are several big benefits to rolling out an ERP system in your business. We highlight 6 of the most established benefits below.
An increase in productivity is often the biggest reason why businesses invest in an ERP system. This is achieved in several ways.
Firstly, a centralised database reduces the time needed to input and output required data, as well as reducing the time required to check data quality. ERP will also typically integrate with business tools which can increase productivity through automation.
Let's use email marketing as an example. Here is the typical process required without and ERP system:
- Manually collect email data and ensure correct permissions are granted.
- Manually check email data to ensure it is up-to-date and valid
- Design the bespoke email
- Individually send the emails to recipients or set up a mail merge
- Edit the mailing list with updated data (such as unsubscribes and email bounces)
Here is how an ERP system can streamline the process:
- Automation of email data, permissions and validity via built-in forms.
- Easily design your email with built in email marketing tools.
- At the click of a button, emails are sent to all recipients, along with customised information.
- Any unsubscribes and email bounces result in automatic updates being made to the list
Not only does this example show how an ERP can be used to massively increase productivity when email marketing, but it also shows well how an ERP can connect different business areas.
For example, when email data is updated based on the results of the email marketing campaign - the same up-to-date data can then also be used by the sales team when accessing contact information through a connected CRM.
ERP systems help businesses to ensure proper compliance with both business and industry standards (such as ISO).
This is especially true when it comes to data management as an ERP will ensure that all data is stored, imported and exported from one central location, meaning that only one database needs to be monitored, audited and reported upon.
Risk reduction can also be found by providing management with a clearer picture of how the business is performing in real-time, allowing them to spot potential risks and find ways to mitigate them in a more timely manner.
Simpler Way of Working
Ultimately an ERP will offer businesses and their employees a simpler way of working. This is especially true in businesses that deal with high volumes of data, where considerable confusion and time-wasting can occur with data management.
With one shared database, everyone can access the information they need easily - making work less stressful for all.
Time-consuming reporting can become a thing of the past with an ERP system.
With all data located and updated through one location, specialist tools can help businesses automate reporting on the most important aspects of every business process.
Plus, unlike traditional business reporting, ERP systems can be used to give real-time reporting to ensure that business information is ready to be used whenever you need it.
Create A 'Single View of Truth'
Business leaders can only make decisions based on the information they know. Often, especially in larger organisations, the information that business leaders are amking decisions based on is out of date and inaccurate.
ERP systems can eliminate information silos and offers leaders a real-time, single view of truth. This facilitates better-informed decision-making.
Increased Agility & Flexibility
You will notice that we have used the term 'real time' a few times in this article, this is because being able to act on data and information in real time is by far one of the biggest benefits of using an ERP system.
Not only can ERP systems help you identify and deal with potential challenges and risks more quickly, but they can also help you spot potential opportunities and get working to take advantage of them with more agility than ever before.
Do I Need an ERP System?
Almost every business would benefit from an ERP system. However, some businesses will certainly gain a bigger advantage from ERP than others.
For example, very small or one-man-band businesses could benefit from ERP. However, with very low numbers of employees and limited data, the costs of an ERP are likely to outweigh the benefits of rolling one out.
Businesses that benefit the most from ERP will usually have one or more of the following traits:
- Multiple employees and teams
- A requirement to access tools and information across multiple sites
- Large amounts of business data
- Complex manufacturing, procurement, people management or sales processes
As you can see, most businesses that employ more than a handful of people will fit into one of the categories above. So, it is unlikely to surprise you that a study by SelectHub found that a massive 88% of companies considered their ERP implementations a success in supporting business growth.
Although some companies adopt an ERP system just to help manage specific parts of business processes such as accounting and procurement, ultimately the more business processes you add to your ERP the bigger the benefits both in terms of streamlining your business and in ensuring that all parts of your business are using the same data, limiting the potential for error.
It is clear that there are several big benefits to using an ERP system in your business. Not only does it make it easier to manage business processes, but it also offers greater transparency and allows you to react to trends more quickly as a result.
Of course, whether an ERP is right for you will depend on your individual circumstances. Considering the benefits you will gain will help you assess whether the ROI is worth it - although most businesses find it is.