ERP software is an acronym that stands for “Enterprise Resource Management” and can be defined as an integrated suite of business applications designed to automate the back-office functions of your organization–including financials, sales, and operations.
The best ERP software is the one you’ll get the most use out of, and the one that can help make your employees more productive, your operations more efficient, and your reporting more accurate. With so many top ERP systems available in the market, there is one that will be the perfect fit for your organization, and we’re here to help you find it.
Oracle NetSuite ERP is designed for modern companies who require cloud access and mobile-enabled tools. This works great for companies with multiple locations, as they can access the same information as another in real-time, wherever they are located. NetSuite is designed to support growing organizations, as it lets you add or customize features as your company grows.
Why We Like It: Cloud ERP software such as NetSuite can be internally hosted or licensed as a hosted SaaS solution. Cloud access will allow sales staff and technicians in the field to have access to important customer data, as well as let staff on production/warehouse floors, see info about orders that need to be filled. It provides for a more direct line of communication between all departments.
Dynamics 365 Business Central from Microsoft was created by combining the functionalities of both Dynamics ERP and CRM products. Dynamics 365 Business Central is intended for use by small and mid-market companies, providing a scalable way to get the features your business needs to be more profitable.
Why We Like It: A start-up or small businesses (SMBs) that has outgrown their first accounting program should look to a small business ERP such as Dynamics 365, which will grow with the business as needs to expand. The software can be purchased on a modular basis, which means you can buy what you need and have the software priced accordingly. Their entry-level package of Dynamics 365 is “Business Central Essentials”, which includes financial management, CRM, project management, supply chain management, HR, and warehousing.
Want more options? Check out our list of best small business ERP software.
Odoo is an open-source ERP and CRM that you will never pay for when using the community version. Because of this, the solution is used by over 4 million users worldwide. With 10,000 applications, Odoo can handle any business need you may have, such as billing, accounting, manufacturing, and project management.
Why We Like It: Open source ERP software such as Odoo allows access to the source code, which provides new opportunities for customization, lets end-users have more impact on product development and transparency that elevates quality standards. Odoo is a completely free ERP software, if you install and manage the software yourself. Otherwise, Odoo offers paid options that include an Enterprise version and an Online version that offer online hosting and several paid applications starting between $12-$72/month.
Want more open source options? Check out our list of best open source ERP software.
Lightspeed Retail is a commerce platform used by the retail and hospitality industry. The offerings by Lightspeed include capabilities for point of sale, eCommerce, delivery, loyalty, accounting, kitchen displays, analytics, and more. The solution offers options for both online and in-store sales, which includes creating appointments for services offered in-store or creating Google local inventory ads. Inventory can also be handled through automated order processes and includes high-quality product images and detailed supplier information.
Why We Like It: Lightspeed is simple and easy without sacrificing quality. The implementation and onboarding time for many companies is less than two weeks. For companies with a larger inventory dealing with several categories, Lightspeed lets you get as detailed as you would like. Lightspeed also allows for reserved inventory, that lets you sell products that will remain on-site until a later date (for shipping or customer pick-up).
LightSpeed Retail is very affordable when just starting–the Lean version starts at $69/month and includes access to their retail POS and integrated payments system. For those looking for more enterprise capabilities (such as integrated accounting and eCommerce), the Standard version starts at $119/month.
Epicor Kinetic (formerly Epicor ERP) is specifically developed for growing manufacturers. Its strengths include the amount of data it can store and analyze, as well as the automation it can provide when it comes to production. A top feature in Epicor Kinetic includes the shop floor control that can measure everything from raw materials to the final product. The software can be deployed on-premise, hosted, or as a hybrid option.
Why We Like It: Epicor shines in the made-to-order and engineer-to-order community due to its strong product configuration. This ties together everything from sales and estimating through the manufacturing of those products.
When sales reps are taking orders from customers, they need to know if they can configure the product how the customer desires. This requires a knowledge of how materials and subassemblies go together, and whether or not this is even possible in your manufacturing environment–something your sales staff might not always be aware of. Epicor Kinetic provides this knowledge to your sales staff so your manufacturing team isn’t left with an order you can’t fulfill.
Epicor Kinetic is modular, meaning you can add only the modules you need. This helps keep a low total cost of ownership, as well as provides visibility into operations with built-in reporting. The software also focuses strongly on both manufacturing and distribution. Many ERP solutions can be implemented in a manufacturing environment. However, without an industry-specific tool, one may get the feeling that their software provider doesn’t understand their needs. For these companies, an industry-specific ERP such as Epicor Kinetic will work tremendously.
Want more options? Check out our list of best manufacturing ERP software.
At one point in time, ERP software was most typically used in the manufacturing process or by industrial companies. Nowadays, it is fair to say that ERP can refer to packages targeted to any and every industry, and can be defined differently, depending on who you are talking to (See: How Would You Describe ERP? 20 Explanations From The Experts.
To get a deeper understanding of how ERP software can take your business to the next level, you want to learn about the following topics with these frequently asked questions (FAQ):
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is an integrated suite of business applications designed to automate the back-office functions of your organization, including business processes such as financials, sales, and operations. More commonly, they can be thought of as all-in-one software for a business.
ERP system packages include a broad variety of modules that are chosen to meet the specific needs of your business. These apps and features will connect all areas of your business to create maximum efficiency. By enabling collaboration and eliminating the need to re-enter data into systems, ERP software provides a means for better financial tracking and forecasting. Comprehensive analytics allow businesses to improve insight and productivity by delivering reliable data in real-time.
By enabling sales the ability to access information about product availability, lead times, order schedules, and purchasing, sales employees are better able to manage the delivery of products and services to customers. Increasing customer satisfaction through increased operational visibility is one of the underlying goals of all ERP systems.
To discover which enterprise resource planning software options are relevant to your specific needs, you’ll need to know what features you’ll need to implement and how you can implement them effectively to streamline business management.
Why is a centralized, comprehensive ERP software solution necessary in the modern business environment? What is the business value of ERP? Consider some of the top benefits businesses and departments alike have experienced via improved workflows, streamlined business functions, and significant savings:
The scope of ERP systems is constrained by the variety of business operations present in the market and the ability of software developers to keep up with new requirements. ERP modules are available for virtually every task, program, or function that a business performs.
ERP solutions include modules that help with all facets of a business, but should be prioritized based on what industry your business falls under:
While not an ERP software in the traditional sense, QuickBooks Enterprise brands itself as an “ERP alternative”. QuickBooks Enterprise attempts to let smaller businesses get ERP-level functionality at a small business software price and offers an easy transition from their more simple options (Pro, Premier, or Online) to a business that is suddenly in need of more advanced functionality.
The software can manage and integrate all components of their businesses such as marketing, accounting, sales, costing, manufacturing, and more. The software excels at offering advanced functionality of the modules you’ll find in its Pro and Premier versions, such as advanced inventory tracking, advanced pricing, and advanced reporting.
Technology is being upgraded and replaced at such a rapid pace, it can be hard to keep up. It’s important not to fall victim to every minor innovation, and consider upgrading or changing systems for important milestones, or reasons of security. When the time does come for an upgrade or even to purchase a new solution, you may feel overwhelmed with the volume of options available. Important questions to ask yourself include:
Alternative, cloud ERP software includes routine upgrades and maintenance as part of the ongoing subscription cost. While you may pay more for the software throughout ownership, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you have the latest version of the software at all times.