Dominik Seidel December 2 2016 3 min read What's in this article? Meaning of ERP Management Which ERP system is the right one? Preparing for a New ERP Meaning of ERP Management With the globalization of markets, company leaders have seen a rise in new company practices that are unprecedented in factories or craft enterprises. Keeping track of these various new processes within a company is a complex operation, made easier with optimized ERP Management. The so-called Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software allows entrepreneurs to manage their operational procedures, quickly making the software one of the most valuable assets of the business. Today, these operating processes have an enormous potential in terms of quantity, diversity, and speed, thanks to Electronic Data Processing (EDP) that helps control these processes by means of computerized ERP management. In choosing the right ERP, the company needs a software that is capable of coping with the various tasks and needs while at the same time providing opportunities for growth and, of course, an optimal cost-benefit ratio. In today’s fast-paced industries, companies are faced with countless individual processes all happening at the speed of light. Additionally, even if a distributor is able to determine the process times of its own operations, outside forces such as suppliers, customers, authorities and other institutions can influence and disrupt processes – making efficient ERP management even more important. With the right ERP, processes such as material handling and inventory management can be coordinated with each other so that business partners and customers can be satisfied while discrepancies are minimized. Which ERP system is the right one? What do you need to consider when choosing an ERP system for your business? Of course, the total cost of the software – including setup, operating costs, and training – plays an important role, but it’s not the only criteria. A good ERP management system is characterized by tailor-made solutions and ease of use. If the normal employee needs an IT degree to understand the software, it’s the wrong fit. Another important aspect to consider when purchasing an ERP is the modules you need included. Are your issues in inventory and procurement? Or do you have trouble with workforce management? Finding out where you need the most support and selecting the right modules for your business is a great step towards customizing your ERP to fulfill your business needs. With all these customizations, it’s important to keep in mind how the ERP you choose can integrate with other software that you may want to add on later to update and expand your software capabilities. Not only that, but the modules you implement should also easily sync together. Making sure that each department has access to all relevant data from all departments is an important aspect of good ERP management, as it aligns the company from top to bottom and optimizes the workflows of each department, eliminating oversights and errors. Effective ERP management is imperative for small- and mid-sized businesses – especially to optimize company resources that might be overlooked. ERP Inventory Management not only allows control of tradeable inventories but also the physical infrastructure of the company. Making sure the warehouses are stocked but not overstocked or even effectively managing machines and equipment makes a big difference in the proper allocation of resources. Preparing for a New ERP Preparing your company for a new ERP system takes some effort. For starters, it can’t hurt to take an inventory of the software already used in the company and to determine how the processing and sharing of data works. For example, how quickly are any changes to stock in the warehouse made? Who is informed of these changes, and what are next steps after the notification? How well is the company informed about suppliers and customers, and how is this information updated? These are only a few of many questions, which can ultimately result in money saved. A good ERP software includes management of these and much more, but the overall structures of a company, which have often grown slowly over decades, cannot always be synced instantly. The best quality you can have when choosing, purchasing, and implementing an ERP is patience. Trying to implement an ERP overnight will often not only result in a sloppy setup of the software but will also negatively impact the business by overlooking areas that need management or incorrectly processing data. When it comes to implementation, an ERP requires several stages: planning, analyzing, executing, reviewing, and (finally) going live. It’s also important to note that, though you may search for an ERP that can “do it all” for your business, most ERP’s have a specific focus on certain aspects of a business. For example, while your ERP may be perfect for running your customer relationship management and finance/accounting areas, it may fall short in supply chain management. Evaluating what areas need the most attention from the start is important in ERP selection – because you can always get add-ons for your ERP to expand its capabilities. This is one of the top ways to keep your ERP up-to-date and growing. To learn more on ERP insights and add-ons, check out our white paper “Guide to ERP Systems” and go deeper into what areas of a company an ERP operates in as well as insight into the top ERP software for small- to mid-sized wholesale distributors in the US. 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