In the retail sector, companies face various problems: margins are under pressure and companies have to serve more and more channels. Consider the mobile channels and social media. In addition, there are more and more wishes for logistics solutions and ordering options. You can use an ERP system to structure this. What exactly is an ERP system, what do you use it for and, more importantly, how do you choose a good system that fits your needs?
What is an ERP system?
Before you fully commit yourself to a decision, it is good to first consider what an ERP system is and what it can do. ERP stands for 'Enterprise Resource Planning'. As the name suggests, you can streamline and automate internal business processes.
A good example of this is the management of deliveries and inventory management. Every company, no matter how big or small, has to do with these business processes. By applying an ERP system to this, efficiency increases. The return therefore increases.
Define processes with an ERP system
Choosing an ERP system turns out to be quite a chore for many entrepreneurs. How do you know which system best suits your company? In any case, it is good to define processes in advance. Define all processes in the company.
Write down on paper what the current situation is: how do you manage stocks now? How is communication with the customer? And what does the invoice look like? By gaining more insight into the current supply chain, you learn what can be improved. What are the strengths in the current process and what are the weaknesses? Can an (other) ERP system address these points for improvement?
Do you want to save externally or internally?
At ERP it's all about data. This data must be stored somewhere. This must of course be done in a safe manner. Data is stored on local servers, but sometimes also on external servers. This is done, for example, via cloud or hybrid solutions. The cloud may be popular, but from the point of view of privacy it is worth remembering that this is actually someone else's computer. In short: your data is everywhere. Is that an advantage?
Some questions about this may be too complicated to answer yourself. Managing data is a job that requires the necessary knowledge. It may pay to leave the technical maintenance to experts. In this case it is therefore best to save externally. Do you choose hosting? Then you have access to data and software anytime, anywhere. Another advantage of this is that the supplier takes care of the maintenance for you.
How large is your company?
Do you have a small or medium-sized company? Or do you work internationally? The size of your company largely determines what kind of system fits the needs of the company. That is one of the biggest benefits of an ERP system: it is scalable.
It does not matter whether you work with fifty or five hundred employees and which products you have in stock. ERP packages come in all shapes and sizes and there is certainly one for your applications. Compare ERP software on functionalities, sector, company size and budget.
Switch to ERP everywhere?
For some companies, ERP is important everywhere. Maybe your business is already running on a different system. In this case it is a good decision to opt for an integrated ERP solution. This allows you to monitor financial KPIs, monitor inventory control and value, monitor delivery reliability and work on customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction.
Integrate ERP with other systems
To match the previous question: take the current systems into account when choosing an ERP system. Most companies do not choose to immediately change their entire infrastructure. Therefore, check whether an ERP system integrates well with existing processes and systems.
If an ERP system can integrate easily, you can save considerably. You then do not need expensive, time-consuming workarounds. A harmonious IT environment ensures greater satisfaction.
Of course you have already investigated the financial alignment before you started looking for an ERP solution. Yet this is just the beginning for the resources needed for a successful implementation. Users, analysts, process experts and management also contribute to your success.
The system involves new responsibilities: you build on the team to record new processes and implement them functionally. As a result, you sometimes have to make difficult choices. Do you realize that choosing a new ERP system can be a decent process: all stakeholders must be involved in the process: from choice to training for use.
The costs of an ERP system
Let's face it: for many, an ERP system is a decent release. On the other hand, it also yields a lot: more profit, time savings and higher efficiency, such as multiple studies by Forrester and Gartner prove. However, there are still some costs involved: firstly, the costs for the implementation of the software and then there are maintenance costs, licensing costs, and costs for training and support.
It is possible that the company grows out of its jacket over the years. Then the system must also grow. Indicate these wishes with the ERP partner. That way you will always find a system that suits you. A reliable ERP partner can provide a good solution that fits the business budget. This saves on costs as long as you use the system.