The enterprise resource planning (ERP) software market is vast and full of complexities. If you’re a business owner or key decision maker who’s interested in investing in an ERP system, you should carry out a full assessment beforehand. Challenge Engineering, an Australian CNC machining company, is pleased to assist its clients and suppliers with this assessment.
Read on to find out how to make an informed decision.
So, what exactly is an ERP system?
An ERP system helps a business with the collection and organisation of relevant data for multiple purposes, all together in one place. This helps to order and optimise the use of resources and efforts across different departments, that under normal circumstances, might not necessarily communicate. This translates to less waste, with savings in both time and money greatly boosting the operation’s overall efficiency.
Take a moment to contemplate a scenario where everyone involved in an operation, such as the cnc machining of steel parts, gets to work with exactly the same data and key performance indicators, all in real time, and it quickly becomes inherent why ERP works so well.
How do you know if an ERP system is a good fit for your business?
The main sign for an organisation that there’s a need for ERP software, is when current business systems no longer satisfy increasing needs. This is especially the case if there are fundamental shortcomings in the communication necessary to smooth over transitions and interactions between departments, resulting in gaps that affect productivity. ERP software uses tools that unify efforts by serving as a communication bridge – creating a more efficient, more accurate workflow.
Benefits of an ERP system?
By transcending barriers between departments within any operation, such as the CNC machining and milling centre and the accounts department, an ERP can offer some great benefits for businesses, including:
1. Customer Service
Customers are always at the heart of any organisation. By using an ERP tool, a business is able to provide better service to its customers by keeping personalised histories and profiles in a CRM, as well as other important metrics such as availability of a given product, estimated production times, and more. The company can estimate when a customer will require and order filled and provide Just in Time service.
2. Security of Data
More information digitally available implies improvements in accuracy, consistency, and different levels of data protection.
3. Integrated Information
An ERP collects and connects information across different areas that would otherwise be stored in different databases, resulting in more efficient operations with less likelihood for costly errors. Information does not need to be entered more than once.
This is achieved by eliminating the repetition of processes, substantially reducing the need to enter information manually, and generally streamlining operations. Data can be analysed for process improvements, KPIs set and regularly measured. The adoption of Lean Manufacturing principles can be tested for success.
ERP systems make it easier for organisations to create and customise reports. This translates into enhanced response capabilities when facing complex data requests. You can't manage what you don't measure.
How can you choose the right ERP software for your business?
In the same way that there are no two identical operations, there is no ‘one size fits all’ option for every business. Every ERP offer has both upsides and downsides, and they need to be carefully weighed up for the situation of each individual business. There are also ERP software providers specialised in tailored solutions to meet specific needs, in case you can’t find what you’re looking for.
One way or the other, the first thing that you need to do is to identify what kind of product your business needs. In general, most products can be classified into three categories:
ERP systems: you are this kind of buyer if you need to integrate information across all your departments. You want a wholesome solution to merge it all in one system and avoid the technical barriers inherent with implementing several solutions overall. If this rings a bell, then some of the best options for you might be Microsoft Dynamics, SAP, Epicor, Infor, or Oracle.
Best-of-breed systems: these single-component products offer enhanced functionality and more features in comparison to their integrated suite counterparts. Examples of these are individual HR or CRM systems.
Small business: ERP technology is increasingly becoming popular among small businesses that want to improve their productivity. Technical challenges in addition to high upfront costs previously stood in the way of many small businesses who wanted to adopt the technology, which has changed thanks to the increasing number of cloud options.
Once you’ve identified where you stand, you may want to educate yourself further by looking at this comprehensive tool that will help you compare over 100 ERP systems, providing insightful information such as a user rating score, price, business size, compatibility with popular operating systems, and more. Make sure to check the ‘frontrunners section’, to see the most popular tools on the market.
Whether your business is expanding and expecting new challenges, or if you have a small business that’s looking to increase productivity; there’s no doubt that any operation can greatly benefit from the right ERP system. Either harmonising different departments’ data and efforts, or preparing for further advancements to remain competitive, ERP systems are a tool of great value that shouldn’t be disregarded by businesses that wish to remain competitive.
At Challenge Engineering, in Sydney Australia, we machine custom metal and plastic components, and pride ourselves on great customer service. We can manufacture and deliver anywhere in Australia. Please contact us and find out how we can assist your business.Sign up to Challenge Engineering’s blog, send through a Request A Quote form, email us or phone (02) 9632 0010.