Streamline Your Business: ERP Systems and You

Being a business owner is hard work and keeping your business running can be overwhelming. Sometimes you might even feel like you’re “flying blind”, without access to the data to make informed business decisions. Managing the data that keeps your business afloat can feel like a job in itself, and when many think of investing in enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, they think of expensive, inaccessible software. But ERP systems can be well within reach of your business, and they can help you maintain your business while keeping stress minimal. 

Why Choose Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software for Your Business

ERP software can be complex, but it’s important to realize these types of software come in multiple forms and price points. In fact, in most cases ERPs are scalable. The ultimate goal is to have one system that captures your business, from taking the order, through production, shipment, invoicing and finally, the financial statements.

This could be a full-blown ERP system, but even if you are using QuickBooks, it’s possible that adding a third-party app to manage the inventory and production side would get you where you want to be to comfortably manage your business.

How to Decide What ERP Software is a Good Fit for You

If your business management plan needs upgrading, there are steps you can take today to help upgrade your business. Consider the following to help evaluate what ERP system might work best for you:

  1. Create a list of your needs and current strategies. This list can be as complicated or as simple as you’d like. Start by making a list of the features or data you would like to see in a new system and then adding three columns, labeled “needs, wants, and extras,” respectively, put a check in the appropriate column. Dream big! Don’t forget to include items that are working in your current system. To get a more complete list, have your key team members create their own lists and then combine them. Brainstorm through the needs that are core to your business, as well as things you would like to have in a software. For example, do you require a down payment from your customers before starting their work, or do you give volume discounts? Consider the full scope of needs and wants you would like to include under the new system. This list can be provided to perspective vendors to help them understand your requirements and you can also use it to evaluate whether the software meets your needs.
  2. Review your current process. Now is a great time to review your processes or flow of information within your business. Are your current processes efficient? Too often we think of lean processes only in light of production, but what about how we setup customers or process orders?  Don’t automate a bad process – consider what can be changed for the better even before starting to implement a new system.
  3. Consider the complexity of your data. If you don’t have a comprehensive list of all the inventory parts you buy or a listing of what it takes to produce each item, it is going to take longer to get this info ready for a new system. If you already have these lists in your current systems, you may be able to convert the data, rather than create it from scratch. The extra time creating lists isn’t a good reason not to do an implementation, but it just helps you get a better understanding of how much time and resources this will take – and saves you stress in the long run.

We’re here to walk you through each step of the way and set you on the path for continued success in your business. If you are ready to evaluate your current software and consider other options, your Rea advisor can help you implement an ERP system that fits well in your business. Contact your Rea advisor today to find out more about ERP software and how we can help you manage your business!

By Cheryl Coblentz, CPA (Wooster office)