How do I know if I need to integrate an ERP system and how should I choose one?

Earlier in this blog, we talked about what an ERP system is and why your company needs to integrate it, in order to to put into context the great usefulness of these tools in business. Now, we will help you try to find out if your company needs one and, if so, how to go about choosing it.

Should I implement an ERP system?

We have already seen how this technological tool allows us to manage our company’s resources in a fully planned way, which means an increase in performance, making us more competitive in the market.

But why doesn’t every company have one? The answer is simple, and is that most people think that they are systems focused only on large entities. This thinking is wrong, as there are many ERP solutions that adapt to the requirements of SMEs. In addition, the sooner you become familiar with and adapt to one, the less tedious it will be to learn how to use and manage it. You don’t have to wait until you grow to make the decision to install it.

5 signs that make you need to integrate an ERP system:

  1. As the business grows, so does the lack of control and complexity. When a company starts operating, it also begins to face various challenges (control of finances, logistics, production, task management, etc.). When errors or complications are already present in the processes, it means that it is necessary to apply a management software.
  2. Lack of a global business vision. If each department uses its own tools, communication is scarce and relevant information is repeated or lost, it becomes impossible to meet business objectives. In this scenario, there is no synergy and no common vision. It is time to acquire a single tool that unifies data and controls all areas.
  3. There is no flexibility in production capacity. In line with the previous point, if the work teams do not follow the same line, resources are not well managed. Bottlenecks are formed and the company is not able to react quickly to changes that may occur in the processes.
  4. Management failures. Are you losing money? Are you unable to detect incidents and/or manage resources? Do you waste too much time? Are sales falling? If you don’t want to continue to make mistakes in management or to be hindered in your evolution, it is the right time for an ERP.
  5. Inefficient customer service. The quality of service offered to users is not up to par. For optimal service, it is necessary for all staff to have access to updated and real-time customer files. In this way, all departments can provide efficient responses and have the necessary knowledge to operate and solve problems.

What process should I follow to integrate an ERP solution?

There are a number of criteria that will help you know which solution is right for your business. To do this, the first thing you need to do is ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is my sector of activity? You will need a specialized one for your industry.
  • How big is my company? You will need one that fits your volume.
  • How many people will use the tool? Ideally, everyone should have access. The more users, the greater the complexity of the infrastructure.
  • What areas are needed? Depending on which departments you want to manage, you should make sure that the solution you choose has them available. In general, they always have a basic package: finance, marketing, sales, inventory, HR, …
  • What is your budget? Industrials will be more economical, but less flexible. On the other hand, the greater the customization, the greater the flexibility and cost.

Then, you must make sure that the company is ready to implement one, as digital culture is always key in a technology integration process:

  • Ensure that the entire management team is committed to the ERP implementation.
  • Change management. Extend knowledge about integration to the rest of the staff and motivate them to participate in the process and in the training. The whole team must have the same vision, rowing in the same direction so that there is a comfortable and trusting environment.
  • It is important to define the processes that will be carried out from now on. Everything must be explained in a clear and practical way. Realistic goals and objectives must be set.
  • It must be internalized that new responsibilities, tasks and roles will arise.

Finally, what steps should I take to keep a tool?

Here are some some fundamental steps to take into account when choosing the best ERP system for your company:

  1. Requirements and research: Requirements gathering helps you decide what your company needs about a given software solution. You should apply this information when you begin to conduct your first research.
  2. Vendor comparison: Once you have identified a couple of ERP systems, it is good to have informal calls or emails to learn more details about the systems, so you can narrow down the list. It is important that you ask any questions you may have to the different suppliers, to clarify any doubts that may arise.
  3. Technical validation: At this stage it is time to thoroughly evaluate the ERP systems you have found most suitable. How? With technical evaluation dashboards, demonstrations and proofs of concept.
  4. Financial capacity: Finally, it is advisable to review the business implementation plan and evaluate “other possible expenses”. Once you have chosen your supplier, the process concludes with the negotiation and closing of the contract.

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