Which ERP features should small businesses consider?

erp

Resource Credit | ERPFocus

ERP features for small businesses to consider

While there is a large degree of hyperbole when it comes to ERP these days, when it comes down to it ERPs are still ultimately resourcing management systems. It doesn’t necessarily mean ‘things’ and ‘people’, but how those resource elements interact and combine to enhance overall small business efficiency, or in short, more money on the bottom line.

To achieve this goal, one must leverage several core feature sets, since these are the bedrocks that business is based on. These include:

Streamlined process applications

  • Project management
  • Production control: essential for manufacturers
  • Inventory control
  • Logistical management
  • System security

You could also consider integrated HR and CRM functionality, if you have the budget, your company is big enough to warrant it, and you don’t already have a system in place.

Integrated financial applications

  • GAAP Accounting
  • Consolidated Financial Management

Direct reporting

Reporting, preferably with real-time data, is a major benefit of implementing an ERP. Alongside the broad-level feature-sets outlined above, here are a few reports to look for when shopping for systems:

  • Sales: for example, quotation list, list of sales orders
  • CRM: for example, contact list
  • HR: for example, personal FTE information, emergency contact
  • Project management: for example, functional timelines
  • Production control: for example, product line counts, finished goods tallies
  • Inventory control: for example, bin counts, distribution logs, shipping logs
  • GAAP accounting: for example, GL, AR, AP, payroll
  • Consolidated financial management: for example, divisional reporting
  • System security: for example, failure/recovery reports

Everything else; and we mean everything.

In this area, we identify various follow on tiers that can be applied to a small business ERP platform. Some of these elements include:

  • In/outbound business intelligence – the goal is to allow the enterprise to ‘see and respond’ to the totality of its market in real-time.
  • In/outbound mobility – the goal is to directly bind the customers to the enterprise, buy means of a host of communications mechanisms.
  • In/outbound social networking – the goal is to create a virtually-persistent channel between customers and business.
  • Automated operational scripting – the goal is to alleviate manual processing throughout the system, and the enterprise at-large.

Each of these requirements sections applies the same value sets ranging from the elimination of process waste to reduction cost, ultimately leading the enterprise to achieve enhanced revenues over time.

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