People often assume that your standard ERP software is designed mainly to address the needs of large scale manufacturers and distributors. In reality, the benefits to be realized from ERP in a small business are just as significant as they are with larger organizations. The more recent software releases offer features that enable small businesses to easily access data and monitor inventory, all while removing or greatly reducing the costs of maintaining a complex IT infrastructure.
The modern workplace is becoming increasingly mobile, especially with the advent of COVID-19, and that carries over to small businesses as well. New technologies make it easier for ERP to use .NET, SQL, and HTML5 across a number of devices including laptops, tablets, and smartphones. With the risk for small businesses much higher than larger organizations, it’s vital for a proper ERP system to be implemented; one that addresses individual mobile needs while simultaneously remaining aware of the unique context a business may itself in.
ERP Systems in Small Businesses
In terms of what small businesses need to understand about ERP, Business.com writes, “Within a small company or startup, employees wear multiple hats. Everyone pitches in wherever and whenever the need arises (which is frequently). Who has the time to manually process multiple spreadsheets and separate mountains of data? ERP systems geared towards small businesses are able to blend and automate key business functions such as order processing, production, and finances.”
The eternal question – cloud, on-prem, or hybrid, is one that many business owners have been asking for years. With growing competition in the business world, many small business owners and manufacturers are looking for ways to improve the bottom line, expedite business processes, and reduce costs. Modern ERP allows business owners to control a number of different features, that have traditionally been spread across multiple programs, all within one software system.
Cloud-based ERP systems are an ideal solution for small manufacturers because it eases the collaboration in manufacturing throughout the entire supply chain. Small businesses utilizing cloud ERP solutions are well prepared for the changes that accompany growth, providing a cost-effective environment that backs up vital information while also offering full control of business operations. One of the major bonuses of a cloud-based ERP system is that IT infrastructure and its associated costs are essentially outsourced, relieving business owners of the responsibilities of maintenance. Small businesses are sometimes a bit apprehensive to implement a cloud-based system, because of concerns related to security and opt to a hybrid approach instead.
Benefits of ERP
In summation, small businesses can expect a number of benefits from their ERP systems.
- Reduced complexity: Instead of each department within a small manufacturing company having its own information system, all relevant data can be shared and accessed across all departments. This essentially eliminates the need to re-enter or export data, which yields a decrease in errors, increased productivity, and reduced expenses on HR.
- Better decision-making: By providing real-time data, small business owners can making difficult decisions easier and are able to quickly respond to changes in the business environment.
- Flexibility, scalability, and growth: Because of the increased data clarity that an ERP system provides, the staff is able to adjust their attention to manage increasing volumes of business. This helps small businesses adjust to their growth without ever feeling disorganized or overwhelmed.
- Improved data access: Controlling data access properly is always a challenge in organizations. With an ERP system, this challenge is overcome with the use of advanced user management and access control.