What is an ERP System for Small Business?
You’ve managed to avoid it for so long, but now it’s time to implement an ERP System for your small business.
Apart from going to Google and typing in “Small business ERP system”, what exactly are you looking for?
As with anything relating to your business, you don’t want to be wasting your money, and an ERP system can be expensive if you don’t know what you’re getting.
Implementing an ERP system into any business can take time and, in a small business, that time is precious.
An ERP system is simply a software solution that combines multiple business software packages into a single, fully-integrated solution to make your business more efficient.
It should combine products that are often utilised, such as small business accounting, payroll and HR, time and attendance, fixed asset management, customers and CRM, inventory and stock control, as well as SCM and MRP.
Below, we discuss in depth what you should be looking for when you need an ERP system for your small-to-medium business.
Who will be making the decision on the new software?
Are you the CEO who is rarely hands-on in the office because you are developing the business, or are you too bogged down in a management role to understand what employees need to do their job?
What will a small business ERP system do for them?
In some cases, will it eliminate them altogether?
- Speak to all your staff members about their role and the products they use
- Find any issues they would like resolved, and ask if they have any ideas about what could be improved
- It’s important to make sure everyone who needs to be involved is involved from the start, otherwise something important might be overlooked
What products and processes can be replaced and combined?
This is a question that needs to be answered before you enter anything into the search bar on Google.
If you’re not sure what products you have and what they do for your business, you could be searching for a result that won’t give you what you need.
Are you a food producer that requires an extensive batch tracking process, or maybe are you a plastic tank manufacturer that handles extensive work orders and job costings?
- Make a list of your software products and what their purpose is
- In a second column, list all the features that are required
- In a third column, list all the features that would be nice to have
- It’s important to make sure you fulfil the requirements of the software before adding all the bells and whistles
When do you need to implement your new software?
A small business ERP system is a highly-functional software product that needs to be planned for.
Unlike an app on your phone that you can install within seconds, ERP software needs discussion. Ask yourself and others when is the best time to implement these changes. Each business is vastly different.
A good time to make a lot of these changes at the end of the financial year, but this doesn’t work for everyone. For some businesses, this is a nightmare scenario and the end of financial year is their busiest period.
On the other hand, another business might be busier around the holiday season and making any changes before the end of financial year will make perfect sense.
- Think clearly about when it’s a beneficial time to install new business management software
- Ensure you can allocate staff and time to the implementation process so that it runs smoothly.
- Ensure everyone is trained correctly
Where in the business do you need to make the change?
Is your business admin-focussed with spreadsheets that record multiple data points, or are you in an industry with large factory floors and heavy equipment?
How and where will everyone need to access to your new ERP system to keep doing their jobs effectively?
Will business management software provide a solution to all areas of your business, both admin and manual, across all departments?
- It’s important to understand how an ERP system will affect the entire business, even if only a few will have access to it
- Often, some processes and procedures will change and there will be a period of adjustment as the software is implemented
- Keep all staff informed of what is happening because it might indirectly affect those who are doing a job outside of the ERP system’s control
- Communication is key
Why do you need a small business ERP system?
If you don’t know why you need a change in your business management software, how do you know what to change?
Is there a factory floor situation that needs a better process to ensure employee safety, or are you processing so many orders your stock control is always an issue?
Is time being wasted entering data into multiple products because they’re not integrated?
- Work out the benefits of business management software for your business
- Even though the costs might be more expensive initially, if you save employees time by making their jobs more efficient, you will get more work out of them for the same amount of time
- Get in touch with our business specialists who have calculators to show you your ROI on these investments
Investing the time and money to implement a new ERP system into your business is an important step in any business growth.
Consider all the points we’ve listed and come up with your own so that, when you need a solution, it’s not daunting.
Get all stakeholders involved at different steps in the process.
Leverage their expertise or advice on business areas where you might not have full knowledge.
Questions answered in the investigation phase will help to alleviate any mistakes or problems moving forward.
What would you add to our checklist of things to find out about small business ERP systems?
Adam Schell | Accentis