Trying to search for ERP information on the internet can be overwhelming. Depending on the website you visit or the industry you belong to, ERP can be defined as a number of different things and/or include a number of different functionalities to meet varying business needs.
To get a deeper understand of how ERP software can take your business to the next level, you want to learn about the following topics:
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is an integrated suite of business applications designed to automate the back office functions of your organization, including financials, sales, and operations.
ERP system packages include a broad variety of modules which are chosen to meet the specific needs of your business. These features will connect all areas of your business together 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 to insight and productivity by delivering reliable data in real-time.
For instance, 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.
At one point in time, ERP software was most typically used in the manufacturing process or 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: What is ERP? 20 of the Best Enterprise Resource Planning Definitions).
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 business and departments alike have experienced via improved workflows and significant savings:
To discover which ERP options are relevant to your specific needs, you’ll need to know what feature you’ll need to implement and how you can implement them effectively.
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:
A start-up or small businesses that has outgrown their first accounting program should look to a small business ERP, which will grow with the business as needs expand. Most of the time, these solutions can be purchased on a modular basis, which means you can buy the ERP software and pay for one module, or multiple modules, and have the software priced accordingly.
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.
Their entry level package of Dynamics 365 is “Business Central Essentials”, which includes financial management, CRM, project management, supply chain management, HR, and warehousing.
SAP Business One is SAP’s answer for small and mid sized businesses that wanted the brand recognition without the cost of their deluxe options. SAP Business One provides the lowest cost of ownership among all SAP products.
The comprehensive option can provide functionality to all your departments, such as financials, sales, purchasing/inventory, and production planning. The software is powerful enough to let you rely on it as your sole business management tool, and is managed through a large network of highly experience partners.
Want more options? Check out our list of best small business ERP software.
Open source software allows access to the source code, which provides new opportunities for customization, lets end-users have more impact on product development, and transparency elevates quality standards. An interview we conducted goes over the intriguing value propositions offered by open source ERP software.
Odoo is an open-source ERP and CRM 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.
Odoo is a completely free ERP software, if you install and manage the software yourself. Otherwise, Odoo provides online hosting and a number of paid applications starting between $12-$72/month.
ERPNext has everything your business needs to operate, from accounting, to human resources, to manufacturing production planning, and project management. ERPNext also comes with a fully featured content management that helps you create a company blog or website.
ERPNext has been successfully implemented into many industries, even nonprofits and healthcare. While it does have applications for everyone, you may find it doesn’t specailize in one over the other. It also requires a heavy level of involvement to keep it operating smoothly, and may require some advanced IT knowledge.
Want more options? Check out our list of best open source ERP software.
Cloud ERP software can be internally hosted or licensed as a hosted SaaS solution. Cloud access will allow sales staff and technicians in the field 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.
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.
Available features include financials, supply chain management, and human capital management. Common industries served include apparel manufacturers, educational institutes, healthcare facilities, and nonprofits.
Sage 100cloud is a great fit for companies looking to move away from simple accounting software. The solution is feature-rich and has been in existence for many years under previous iterations (Sage 100 ERP and Sage MAS 90).
Sage 100 has roots in providing strong accounting. Because of this, many of the tools to make your business more productive are rooted in financials. This includes improved budgeting and planning along with optimizing inventory with minimal stock outs and multi-bin support.
Want more options? Check out our list of best cloud ERP software.
Many ERP solutions can be implemented into any business environment. From manufacturing to healthcare, one may get the feeling that their software provider doesn’t quite understand thier industry as much as they do. For these companies, we suggest looking into industry specific software.
Epicor ERP is specifically developed for growing manufacturers. It’s 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 ERP 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.
Want more options? Check out our list of best MRP software.
Spectrum is a complete web-based construction ERP solution from Viewpoint (previously Dexter and Chaney). The web-based setup makes the solution easily accessible from a Mac, a PC, or a mobile device in the field.
Spectrum is modern looking solution providing a cohesive experience for your users when it comes into drilling into team reports. Viewpoint technologies integrate the office, the team, and the field, which helps contractors of all sizes to decrease risk, increase productivity, and efficiency and increase profitability.
Want more options? Check out our list of best construction software.
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 who 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 it it’s Pro and Premier version, such as advanced inventory tracking, advanced pricing, and advanced reporting.
Here are some of the most common questions asked about ERP software:
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 for 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 over the course of ownership, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing you have the latest version of the software at all times.