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ERP software explained

By Anna Metcalfe | 04 Sep, 2015

Having the right software in place can make an incredible difference to the operational efficiency of your business and there are no shortage of choices to baffle you! Patchworks work with many clients to integrate ERP software and so we thought that it might be useful to discuss what this actually is and how it can actually help your business grow.

The market is most certainly becoming increasingly competitive day by day and customers are more demanding than ever. The more your systems can talk to each other, the easier your job will become and the more effective your business can be.

What is ERP software?

We can define ERP software in the following way: ERP software seeks to link financial and operational “back-office” functionalities with operational and “customer-facing” technology.

ERP stands for enterprise resource planning and it’s a big area to get your head around! ERP software was originally used by manufacturing and industrial companies but times have changed and now it can become essential in all manner of market places and operations.

In deciding whether you wish to embrace some form of ERP software, you have to develop some clarity on how you might like it to help your business. The options are wide and varied and so you need to keep your thoughts focused. Here’s an initial list of the operational areas that ERP software can add value to:

  • Manufacturing
  • Financial
  • Order processing
  • CRM (customer relationship management)
  • Logistics
  • Project management
  • Sales
  • Budgets
  • Human resources
  • Payroll
  • Quality control

This is certainly not a definitive list but it does certainly demonstrate the scope of ERP software.

ERP software assists your data integration

The main function of any ERP software is to centralise data and bring information together. It allows your decision makers to see more of the information they require in a single place. It diminishes the need to input data into multiple platforms. It reduces the risk of human error through retaining different islands of data on different platforms.

For example, your sales team could be able to see information about product availability, lead times and purchasing schedules all together. This in turn allows them to do a better job when discussing upcoming orders with your customers – they become more easily informed and better equipped to do their job well.

The main benefits of ERP software

In addition to the above point about integration of data, here’s some further benefits from using ERP software in your business:

1. More informed decision making

Having ERP solutions installed will enable your key people to become more informed about the area of business that they need to make decisions on. No more finger in the air – the data that they require can be right there in front of them, broken down in a way that aids a clearly informed decision.

2. Greater visibility

Departments and processes become much more transparent when you use ERP software. If you want to better understand your customer feedback or the efficiency of a particular department, ERP could help.

3. Time saved in many departments

One of the big benefits is the amount of “data grind” time ERP software can save many departments, freeing them to use this time much more effectively. That might mean more time on the phone to serve your customers or more time to work on developing your ecommerce platform; all gained from the use of ERP.

Which software?

Now there’s a big question and not one for this particular blog. Our website can give you a good summary of the many types of ERP software that we most commonly work with and we’ll be reviewing a few of the key players in the months to come. In the meantime, please get in touch if you have any specific questions about ERP software and we’ll be happy to help you.

Anna Metcalfe
About Anna Metcalfe

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