What is ERP?
ERP is short for Enterprise Resource Planning, meaning a business software solution that is ‘enterprise wide’, i.e. supporting all departments within your company.
Software designed to handle these functions will unify all data to one central system where every department draws from the same pool of information.
What is an ERP System Capable of Doing for Your Business?
An ERP system will integrate and streamline all areas of business. If you want an integrated business, you need to implement an integrated business system. The alternative is multiple departmental solutions, very often spreadsheets for SME’s, which tend to generate multiple versions of the truth, as data is hard to keep in-sync when you are running several different systems across your enterprise.
The great advantage of ERP is it creates a unified company, gives you one version of the truth, and creates a coherent platform for growth.
What does an SME need from an ERP system?
Quite simply, an SME needs a system that is:
Easy to Buy
Easy to Implement
Easy to Use
Well supported & has a future
How should an SME buy an ERP system?
It is vital that you selected a system that is:
Specifically written for SME’s
Already proven and successful in your market sector
Used by companies who are ‘raving fans’
ERP systems started in big companies and have slowly moved down through mid-sized companies and now down to SME’s. There are many to choose from and most of them are too complex for your business. It is only in recent years that companies like SOS Inventory have developed specific SME easy-to-implement solutions that are simple enough to be used by your business.
And ERP system written for a food company is very different than a system written for an engineering company. Make sure you buy a system that is well-proven and well respected in your market sector.
Do not be a pioneer. There is an old saying, “the rewards for pioneering are arrows in your back.” Do not be the first cheese manufacturer to use this solution (or even the second)!
You will need support and help as you implement it, so make sure you choose an ERP supplier like SOS that offers stellar levels of customer support.
If you stick to these rules, you won’t go wrong!
How Should I Implement It and How Long Will It Take?
SOS is designed for use by SME’s, only SME’s! It is thus easily implemented, and you are quite capable of doing it yourselves with the help of our online materials (ERP Tools) and support team. That said, if you, or a member of your team, have not implemented an ERP system before, having a pathfinder on your team can only help. SOS has a team of nationwide specialized affiliates who can assist you in the implementation process. In general, you will get the system in quicker with the help of a ProAdvisor who can provide answers, and at this point you probably don’t know the questions. So, whilst it appears to be an additional cost, it will save you money through the project.
How long? With the help of an affiliate, or a skilled person on your team, 3 to 6 weeks is quite feasible; however, each case is different, and part of the equation is how much time and resources you are prepared or able to put into the project.
What are the Benefits?
The process of implementing an SME-specific ERP system such as SOS is that it will:
Create a joined-up company - everyone singing off the same hymn sheet
Give you one version of the truth – decision making is hard without facts!
Improve your customer service levels. Instant, accurate data when you need it.
Create a platform for growth. You will be able to grow quicker with less people as a result.
Improve your competitiveness. Your service levels will be higher, and costs will be lower!
De-risk the business; you will have documented business processes. If one key person leaves, they don’t take key knowledge with them, they don’t leave a hole.
Support investment. Should you need to attract capital for growth, then having a market-leading ERP system such as SOS underpinning your business will be a great asset.
SOS works with QuickBooks, the worlds leading financial management system, so you will have best-of-breed solutions for finance and operations.
Today, the most affordable means to access robust ERP technology is through cloud SaaS software. Having hardware on site requires maintenance by a trained IT person, updates and ultimately, replacement, all which are far more costly than subscribing to a service that is regularly updated and maintained.
SOS costs start at $40 per month, and the software runs from the cloud. You don’t have to worry about disruptive and costly updates; the system is always up to date. You are always running on the latest version.
SOS is platform agnostic – it is mobile-friendly. It will run on your laptop, tablet, or phone. It is mobile because you are, too.