Harmonize Your Business

5 Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your ERP

By on Feb 17, 2014 in Blog, Harmonize Your Business | 0 comments

Technology is always improving, and ERP software is no exception.  For manufacturers and distributors, having efficient, smart, and integrated ERP technology can make the difference between surviving and succeeding.  Gone are the days of hand-written records of production, purchase, and sales.  Dusty file cabinets are not the way to maintain your data reports.  But ERP is more than just keeping your data on a computer.

Here are 5 signs that it might be time to upgrade your system.

This won't support ERP1. You don’t have an ERP system.

Don’t be discouraged – this is more common than you think, but it’s never too late to shift from physical record-keeping to something more efficient and consolidated. And the good news is, ERP software is much more advanced today than it was even a few years ago, so jumping on board now means you will have to spend less time and money upgrading an old system.

2. You have an ERP system, but it’s not in the cloud.

Older ERP systems offered some good functionality, but were unfortunately tied to your local machine. There was a huge risk associated with these systems, since if anything happened to them, the data essential to your business could be lost. New cloud-based ERP systems offer a layer of insulation, providing routine backups as well as secure off-site storage. Not to mention, having your data in the cloud means that you can access it anytime, anywhere.

3. Your ERP system doesn’t do what your business needs.

Many ERP systems provide basic services and functions of general use, but these are often not useful to businesses with highly specialized needs. If your manufacturing business has unique requirements, it might be time to look for customizable ERP software. When you’re looking for a new system, try to find something that can be readily adapted to your needs. Many closed-source ERP solutions are resistant to customization. Open-source software like xTuple can be more agile. Ideally, you will find an expert who is willing to get to know your business’s needs and develop a solution that’s right for you.

4. Your ERP is too hard to use.

The whole point of getting good ERP software is to minimize the amount of time you and your employees have to spend managing data. It was designed to make the business of business more efficient, more cohesive, and less burdensome. If you have to spend too much time training employees how to use the system – or if it takes you too much of your own time to use the software – then it might be time for a change. Keep in mind, though, that if you do switch systems (or if you’re starting fresh with your first system), there will be a learning curve at first. It may take a little time to get used to the new software and processes. However, actually using the software should be easy and painless – not another source of stress.

5. Your ERP system doesn’t manage your whole enterprise.

ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning, but too many ERP systems focus on only specific business processes. Some are great at handling supply chain logistics, but are hamstrung when it comes to sales. Some handle purchases and sales, but can’t handle CRM (Customer Resource Management) or vendors. Some can do all these but not HR. Some handle almost everything, but you’re still stuck in QuickBooks or Peachtree for accounting. Simplify your life and your business by looking for an ERP solution that can take care of everything in a single integrated system. Let’s be honest – what happens in one part of your business affects countless other parts of your business. Shouldn’t your ERP system reflect that?

As 2014 gets underway and you start thinking about how to improve your business’s efficiency and profitability, take a long hard look at your ERP solution. Is it working for you? If it’s not, it’s the perfect time to get it right. After all, your current ERP is just going to get older, not better. If it’s an inconvenience today, don’t let it become a barrier tomorrow.

Photo credit: blakespot / Foter / CC BY

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