Enterprise resource planning (ERP) as a concept has been around since the 1990s. In its simplest form, ERP refers to the process of integrating inventory, manufacturing, and business process management to streamline a large manufacturer’s operations. This posed serious challenges before the development of ERP software.
Initially, the process of implementing ERP software solutions was prohibitively expensive for all but large, well-established businesses that could pay for software development. Now, though, small and mid-sized businesses have more affordable, off-the-shelf options available. Read through this brief article so that, when you compare ERP systems, it will be clear which is the best fit.
What to Consider Before Starting the Search
Every business is different, which is why the ERP software market is so diverse. Choosing the right option requires first defining a company’s needs so it’s clear what kinds of functionality will be required to meet them. To do that, sit down with all of the relevant stakeholders to discuss:
- Business processes and how they could be improved.
How many employees will need access to the system.
What the company’s goals are in implementing an ERP solution.
How the business plans to manage the transition and handle technical difficulties.
The kind of budget that can be devoted to purchasing a new ERP system.
There are hundreds of ERP software solutions and relevant tools on the market. Some are better suited for up-and-coming SMEs, while others are capable of handling the needs of even the largest organizations, and each has a different set of features. Knowing what’s required before starting the search for a software solution will make it easier to narrow down options.
Available ERP Modules
Each ERP system has a different set of features, which can be grouped together into modules designed to assist with specific business processes. Some come with just about every ERP system, while others are more specialized. As a general rule, all businesses need software that features:
Customer relationship management
Human resources management
Beyond that, things get a little more complicated. Companies that produce consumer goods, for example. will always need procurement, manufacturing, and inventory management modules. Buyers will need order management modules. Logistics companies can benefit from warehouse management as well as inventory management and supply chain management features.
At the other end of the supply chain, retail businesses also have different needs. While all of them need customer relationship management tools, online-only businesses need eCommerce modules more than marketing automation tools. Brick-and-mortar retailers typically need both. Players all the way across the supply chain need supply chain management software.
The Best Way to Compare Software Solutions
There are a few ways to effectively compare ERP software solutions. The first step should always be to check a professionally compiled ERP software comparison chart. After that, the company’s stakeholders can either move forward by submitting RFIs and requesting demos from each promising-looking provider or working with a consultant to narrow down the list even further before taking this step.
The Importance of Making the Right Choice
The right ERP software solution will help a company make more informed decisions that will help it to grow and thrive. Don’t underestimate the importance of choosing the right system. Take the time to define the company’s needs clearly and investigate all possible options before deciding which of them to implement.