Is it time for an ERP System: Here are 4 Signs

Here are 4 indications that your business desperately needs a robust ERP system.

Building a successful business is not an accomplishment you achieve overnight. It takes hard work, dedication, and most importantly years upon years of change and improvisation. However, have your processes and procedures evolved with the pace of business? Spreadsheets and separate solutions may have worked a decade ago, but are they working now?

If the thought of implementing an ERP or Enterprise Resource Planning system has crossed your mind, take a moment to think about all the processes that are essential to the running of your business. Whether it be sales management, manufacturing operation, inventory or order management, customer relationship management, accounting, or more, is your business running at full capacity? Your staff is duplicating their efforts across multiple systems and spending too much time on back-office functions. You rely on guesswork instead of real-time data to forecast sales, production, and cash flow. Bank reconciliation takes longer at the end of each month. The business struggles in keeping up with sales orders, ultimately affecting customer satisfaction. You have trouble maintaining stock levels across multiple warehouses. If this sounds familiar, it’s likely time to consider introducing an ERP system.

Simply put, an ERP system can integrate and automate diverse functions that are crucial to your business into one complete, intuitive system. Enabling streamlined processes, optimized workflows, and real-time business intelligence that is easily stored, accessible, and shared across the organization.

Read on to discover the top five signs that suggest your company is ready for ERP. 

1.      You are using multiple software systems or applications

How do your employee’s record, track, and process information? Are uncountable hours spent on manually entering duplicate data and if this is the case then how much time and money is your business losing to these unproductive, redundant systems?

Does your accounting staff use a single system for accounts receivable and payable, while sales use another to track prospects, release quotations and submit customer orders? Is the process of drawing up invoices against sales orders and reconciling bank records a painstaking task? Moreover, do staff at your warehouse use a completely different solution to track shipping and receiving? Over two-thirds of mid-size businesses are running outdated versions of their software and this has proven to impact business performance.

When your business runs various front- and back-end systems run separately it becomes difficult to perform efficiently and you are likely to end up with inaccurate or redundant data, which may impact productivity and business success. Additionally, with more systems, comes more failure points, each requiring specific resources and expertise to fix, which also means you will need to invest in multiple vendors and technical support teams.

ERP software has the power to integrate all of these different systems together. For instance, Odoo ERP is a modular, robust, and highly scalable system that allows you to manage all aspects of your business in a single, centralized platform that empowers users by connecting critical data, forecasting projections, and deriving insights from all departments such as finance, sales, inventory, marketing, HR, and more. After all, without real-time, accurate data from sales, inventory management, and accounting may suffer, triggering a ripple effect on all interrelated functions from marketing budgets to payroll.

2.      You have limited access to real-time company data

If someone were to ask you what your sales forecast for the following month was, or the average orders received per day, how long would it take you to find out, especially if you had to rely on different applications and countless spreadsheets that needed to be updated and reconciled manually? With the evolving pace of business, it is vital that your business data is easily accessible.

Another negative consequence of multiple software systems is data silos, this is because your company data is essentially splintered and divided amongst multiple sources, making it a challenge to access even the most basic metrics and an absolute nightmare when trying to access time-sensitive data that is key to making critical business decisions.

With an ERP solution, all your data is in one shared database with accurate, real-time data. Executives can get a holistic view of business operations and real-time metrics on demand, at any time, allowing them to make more informed business decisions. While other employees can access and share appropriate information needed to do their jobs more effectively, from a single source of data. For example, sales managers should be able to view a customer's full transaction history, assess team performance, and more proactively improve retention rates while increasing upsell and cross-sell opportunities.

3.      Your too reliant on manual processes

Are manual workarounds still a core part of your employee’s job roles, do they spend time cross-checking information, re-entering incorrect data, and copy-pasting information from siloed systems? Are you still accumulating hordes of paper trails on invoices or sales orders that could easily be made electronic and even automated?

The cost of manual processes is much larger than you may deem possible. Not only is it time-consuming, it also results in human error. In fact, according to a study, the probability of human error when entering manual data is a whopping 18% - 40% - now imagine the implications of this error in a balance statement? And to add to that, the cost of fixing the mistake?

ERP software can take on the brunt of work when it comes to propagating data, streamlining processes, automating tedious tasks, and integrating functions. For example, a competent and robust ERP solution such as Odoo can be configured to automate recurring invoices, replenish stock based on predefined parameters, accept e-signatures on quotations, automate preventive maintenance scheduling, update leads to your CRM, and so much more. Essentially freeing up valuable staff time, boosting productivity and efficiency in your business.

4.       Sales, inventory management, and the customer experience are going downhill

Has managing and tracking inventory become a challenge? This is often a common problem as business operations start to grow and you are still using manual methods and stand-alone applications to monitor inventory levels and process customer orders. It becomes increasingly vital that you maintain the right amount to stock, in the right location, and at the right point in time.

With an ERP system, however, your employees will have access to up-to-date information, allowing them to effectively provide a high level of customer service with accurate, real-time order updates on details such as payment status, order and shipping status, service issues, etc. An apt ERP system will also provide you with a customer portal so your customers can simply go online to their account and view status information, essentially enhancing the user experience.

Odoo ERP in fact goes a step further and can predict when and what to replenish with in-built intelligence tools, sales forecasts, and dynamically updated inventory levels, ensuring your business has the optimal amount of product for uninterrupted business. 

Final Thoughts

As opposed to multiple, siloed software systems, a single source of information, aka an ERP provides you with 360-degree visibility of all business operations, easy accessibility to critical data, and utmost efficiency in your day-to-day operations. It is not limited to fixing issues, it makes what’s working today, work better tomorrow, and empowers users with additional capacity that could be dedicated to driving growth, agility, innovation, and making data-driven decisions that get you ahead of your competition.

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