Enterprise Resource Planning better known as ERP is a software package that integrates seamlessly with the company’s functions and operations so as to provide enhanced and timely information via shared data stores. An ERP package is a great enhancement for the companies as it has numerous advantages, some of which are:
o It streamlines work-flows.
o Helps to provide better customer service.
o Provides real-time statistics into raw material availability, sales patterns and cash flow.
o Ensures swift processing of information thereby reducing the paperwork.
o It is quite suitable for global operations as it includes local as well as international attributes required for a global business.
In short, an ERP system can help to boost the productivity levels thereby increasing profits, both tangible and intangible.
Like every other thing, ERP too has some drawbacks. With levels of configuration and intricate interfaces, ERP implementation takes both time & money and can significantly affect the company’s working environment. However, the advantages of ERP software always outnumber the drawbacks and have become a kind of necessity for manufacturing industry, transport sector and distribution & retail stores.
In order to implement ERP solutions, companies should search thoroughly for the options and weigh them according to the features and capabilities. Most important of them are:
1. Financial Management – Owing to the fact that companies are constantly under the scrutiny of financial regulatory bodies, a sound financial administration is an essential component of an ERP solution. A financial management module offers several benefits. It ensures that companies adhere to financial reporting and tax requirements. Also, managers can boost financial performance with real-time tracking of expenses by improving cash flows and maintaining more accurate and timely financial reporting.
2. Human Resource Management (HRM) – Earlier Human Resource (HR) ERP modules were restricted to employee administration, payroll management and few other legal reporting. But now, the solution has evolved and moved beyond the boundaries. The latest solutions are able to handle varied number of tasks such as talent management, scheduling, recruitment, performance assessment, time & attendance and many more. Additionally, the tool also provides customized insight into common HR processes.
3. Supply Chain Management (SCM) – In the current highly competitive market, it is essential for a company to correctly assess the demand, supply, manufacturing status, logistics and distribution. Failing to do so can have adverse effect on the company’s operations and may sour the relationship with the suppliers or distributors. It may also lead to degrading the reputation of the company in the market. An ERP supply chain module takes care of all the phases right from design to the requirement fulfillment.
4. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – Customers are the most valuable assets of any company and no one can afford to lose them. If you have large customer base, it becomes quite difficult to address their needs on time. A customer relationship management module (CRM) ensures proper flow of information between sales team to address the needs and marketing team to understand the buying preference and patterns.
5. Third-Party Interoperability – No two businesses are same and even if they are, chances are that they have some uniqueness in their operations or requirements. It calls for additional arrangement to satisfy those unique needs if it is not addressed in their existing ERP system. Therefore, it is important that the ERP solution is scalable and interoperable without any integration nuisances.
Installing an ERP solution can be a daunting task and further customization to suit the business needs makes the process more complicated. Therefore, it is quite necessary to select an ERP package with the appropriate features and capabilities so that it can deliver more benefits than investment.