Large organisations have always used ERP’s or Integrated business apps to run their business. However, small and medium businesses continue to use outdated or disconnected applications to run their business since ERP’s have been costly. In fact many do not use software and just use spreadsheets (See blog…).
If your business uses disconnected applications for each department , then you will probably end up with islands of information that are not organised or accessible when required
Although there is much talk about Artificial intelligence and Machine learning , most SME’s use spreadsheets and hence have no access to organised data. They could miss this while oncoming technology wave and face challenges of staying behind the technology curve.
To get on the path of sustained growth you need to ensure that you have a single integrated business app that ensure operations are done smoothly.
Most businesses have different departments that get together and make the business move. These are :
Accounting & Finance
HR & Payroll
Sales & Purchases
Using a single integrated business app / ERP will result in the following benefits to a business :
- No duplication of data entry
Data once entered is available thru the organisation . Each department or team does not have to re-enter data for itself
- Accurate and real time availability of information
Since all departments are connected, information is visible when required and to all who need it. In the ERP is hosted on the cloud, then this information is available 24×7 without dependency on location, time or people . Integrated business apps usually have enhanced reporting capabilities and this gives management meaningful and accurate data when they need it
- Adherence to processes
Processes are like railway tracks that help the business move in the right direction. ERP’s generally make it easy to set processes and business flows, thereby reducing the need for manual intervention
- Workflow’s, Approvals & Notifications
The usage of integrated an business app enables the setup of steps that are to be taken to undertake a transaction. Hence there is no deviation from set processes. At each stage, approvals can be enabled , so that unauthorised or incorrect transactions are not accepted. At each stage, required managers can be notified so that that have complete visibility of what’s going on within the organisation .
- Security of business information and enhanced business controls
Access to information can be setup based on roles or user types. Hence information is always secure. Limits can also be added to ensure employees do not exceed their authority or create incorrect transactions . Unlike spreadsheets, data completely resides within the system and cannot be shared or viewed by unauthorised people. (See blog on Excel )
- Enhanced customer service
Since uptodate information on the business aspects including info on each customer is available in real time, its easy to keep customers satisfied. Customer interactions , Order history, Quotations, Deliver status and other customer needs and requests are all logged into the software which can be easily tracked. In fact , customers can be given access to data that is relevant to them thru Customer or Vendor Portals enabling self service . This enables them to directly login to the ERP and view transactions related to them eg. Invoices, Orders, Tasks, Payments Delivery schedules etc.
- Increased productivity due to improved collaboration
Despite being in different teams or departments, the goal of each employee is to run the business smoothly and ensure customer satisfaction . When a sales person receives an order, other teams including stores and manufacturing get immediate visibility . This helps plan and execute business efficiently. People are not required to depend on others for information .
- Accurate inventory tracking, reduction and visibility of costs
The largest part of working capital of an organisation is usually locked up in its inventories. Hence accurate information on inventories is essential .Labour costs can be reduced since they are easily trackable. Material planning and requirement analysis becomes system driven. As business transactions flow, visibility of costs and revenues is always available clear to all. There is no guess-work.
- Better business decisions
Since guess-work is eliminated, accurate forecasts are available. Imagine a company that has to manufacture to stock based on guess-work ! It’s huge problem with wasted funds and resources.
Managers and stake holders get reports and info as they need.
- Customised and enhanced reporting
Customised reporting is usually an important part of an ERP . This ensures that as the organisation grows, it is able to create reports and dashboards that it needs . The dependency on programmers is minimised and users can create their own data fields, forms and reports .
Historically, the main reason why SME’s use outdated software was that ERP’s have been costly. But that’s now changed. Affordable ERP’s and business apps that are virtually free, are now available for SME’s to use . With cloud based offerings, there is no need to have any IT infra to get started.
Small and medium sized businesses are the stars of the Indian economy and its time for them to shine ! Connect with Software@Work and we’ll show you how you too can make use of cutting edge technology to help your growing business leap forward.
Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org to know how you can get an ERP for your business at a price less than what you spend on tea and snacks monthly.