ERP Challenges for Small and Medium Businesses

Dec 29 2014

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software once offered technology only to large corporations. New ERP vendors that cater to small and mid-sized businesses, however, have leveled the playing field between businesses of all sizes.

Enterprise resource planning systems are a huge opportunity for all businesses, regardless of size. They add efficiency, a real-time view of data, dashboards for ease of use, and other positive aspects to help businesses improve.

There is another side to the coin, however. Choosing to use and implement an ERP system is a huge endeavor. It involves making fundamental changes in company vision, procedures, priorities, and really, every aspect that defines a business as it is.

Not having an enterprise resource planning system doesn’t mean that a business isn’t optimized. Those businesses can still have a strong vision, tight procedures, clear goals, etc. Implementing an ERP serves to improve a company’s optimization, with real-time, universal informational access throughout all departments. It also offers the new challenge of searching for a position within its collaborative neighborhood and general supply chain.

The promise here is that the changes, beginning with purchasing, accounting, order entry, and costing – being made universally available in real time – will generate value within the company and within the company’s partnerships.

It is, however, a big undertaking. Implementing ERP software is truly a head-to-toe makeover, taking, on average, approximately a year to implement, troubleshoot, train employees on, and fully become the new system relied upon by everyone in the company. A strong vision, tight procedures, and clear goals are still necessary, but all will change substantially – departments will have different priorities and new partnerships will evolve.  

Luckily, a detailed plan has led to fewer failures in this endeavor. Transitioning to ERP software includes exhaustive preparation. A business must pay attention to functionality, technology, and performance, identify potential barriers, sketch a rough timeline, and examine their budget. Before it is announced that the business will be switching to an ERP system, details of the plan will have to have been minutely scrutinized and developed, with 100% backing by top management, if it is to be successful. 

Each business will develop a unique style to tweak the process, but there are some general guidelines that might be helpful. Examining and trimming back, if necessary, office principles and tools can reduce general disorganization while building productive habits to carry into the new ERP era. The best-case scenarios involve every department polishing up existing resources and recognizing where to go from there.

The transition to ERP is a time to follow the leader towards the specific goal. It is important, however, to remain flexible enough to welcome ideas and constructive criticism from anyone in the project. The more alert and engaged a business’s workforce is, the easier the ERP transition will be, and the more the company will benefit from the implementation.

For expert consultation on how an ERP system could change your business for the better, contact Mantralogix today.

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