What is ERP?

Enterprise Resource Planning software collates key data such as financial information and the processes of an organisation and stores it centrally on a computer.

It will for example integrate stock or inventory management, sales ledger, purchase ledger (accounting and finance), payroll, manufacturing and human resources to name a few.

Why do I need ERP?

It will allow you and your organisation to be able to quickly access key information and run the organisation far more efficiently.

For example, a sales person can easily check whether an item that a customer wants is in stock and how much it costs. Likewise, the system will automatically generate an invoice once that item has been despatched.

What sort of information will it show?

ERP software will generate all sorts of management and financial reports, for example, a profit and loss sheet, a balance sheet, most popular selling products or services and the most (or least) profitable – any key metrics that will help run your business more effectively.

Is it something that I can install myself?

It is possible to install ERP yourself but naturally this will depend on your requirements and numbers of people using it.It can get quite complicated so you may need to have the support of your supplier to implement it. It is important to get the system set up right from the beginning.

How do I find the right supplier to buy from?

Conjungo is a great starting point because it will let you search for a supplier according to your location, company type, size and whether they have the right accreditations. Furthermore, Conjungo is completely unbiased, lists most of the major vendors’ resellers, and it’s free to use.

What’s the downside of installing ERP?

The main potential downside is that unless it is used properly by everyone who has access to it, and it is kept up-to-date, it will not be effective. ERP is only as good as the information within it.

For example, when taking delivery of new stock items, this must be entered accurately into the system otherwise errors will occur. Likewise, if a lawyer is not filling their time sheets correctly, then the incorrect amount will be billed to the client.

How do I measure whether the package I’ve purchased is making me money or saving me money?

ERP systems can pay for themselves relatively quickly because it will give you a ‘snapshot’ of how your company is performing at any one time. It will for example, enable you to only keep items in stock that sell well rather than buying items that will rarely sell, or keep too much stock thereby having capital invested when it could be working better elsewhere.

Is ERP easy to use?

Yes – or at least it should be! If it isn’t then people won’t use it. This can be overcome by training but generally speaking, ERP packages are intuitive and easy to learn. The key element is to ensure that everyone is trained to use the elements that they need and that the system is correctly set up.

I have a CRM package – can I get my ERP package to integrate with it?

This depends on which CRM and ERP software that you are using. Some do work together, and some cover both areas within the same package, but it best to qualify this before making a purchase.