What are ERP Systems and Do I Need One?
29th September 2014
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An Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system is a suite of business process management software that allows companies to automate many back office functions related to technology, services, HR, planning, development, manufacturing, sales and marketing.

Traditionally ERP systems have been restricted to large organisations due to their complexity and cost, sometimes requiring a dedicated department just to manage and maintain the system itself. More recently though ERP applications designed for smaller businesses have become available; these are lightweight software solutions, often customized for particular industries.

In both cases ERP software tends to come in modules which can be added as required, so core processes of the business can be integrated first and others added later once the early systems have bedded in. Modules may include:

  • Product planning
  • Material purchasing
  • Inventory control
  • Distribution
  • Accounting
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Human resources
  • CRM
  • Business intelligence

The main goal of using an enterprise resource planning system is to provide a central repository for all the information that is shared by the company’s departments to improve the flow of data across the organization.

Although the "E" in ERP stands for "enterprise", even mid-size companies are now adopting ERP systems particularly as cloud-based applications make the software more affordable and easier to implement and manage. Unlike the early monolithic ERP systems such as SAP, cloud-based ERP enables real-time reporting, making them especially valuable to dynamic companies who need to react quickly to events and provide staff with an accurate picture of the business at any given time.

Benefits of ERP Systems

ERP systems help to break down barriers between business units and allow employees do their jobs more efficiently. For a smaller business a cloud-based ERP solution can:

  • Give a real-time view of business data
  • Enable staff to rapidly address issues and proactively seek improvements
  • Improve financial compliance within regulatory environments
  • Automate core business operations
  • Improve customer service by providing one source for all contacts
  • Identify redundant processes and systems
  • Reduce the need for (and cost of) separate departmental software systems

With an ERP solution, employees have access to accurate information that enables them to make better decisions faster, and ultimately lower the cost of doing business.

Get Help Selecting an ERP System

Today’s SMEs are using ERP systems to achieve profitable growth by optimising the planning of their most important resources. There are so many systems available – NetSuite, Epicor, Mamut One Enterprise, Unity Express and many more – and with a system like this, that will encompass your entire business, choosing the right one from the outset is essential.

FMC’s financial management professionals have considerable experience of implementing ERP systems, and can help you with this important task – contact them on 01276 409036 for initial advice or to set up a meeting.

About the Author

Carly B

Member since: 8th May 2013

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