The time when ERP is only leveraged by large-scale organizations is long gone.

Current ERP solutions are low-cost, easy to implement and well within the reach of small businesses looking for higher productivity levels and the ability to streamline data across all departments of a company.

Today’s competitive business landscape demands that a business is faster and sharper than the competition. With the lower costs and advances in the speed of implementation, an ERP system is one of the most impactful investments a business can make to stay ahead of the competition. A fully leveraged ERP system allows small businesses to operate at a scale that used to be reserved for only the largest corporations.

So, what is ERP really and how can it help your small business?

Enterprise Resource Planning - ERP
ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. ERP is software that replaces multiple information systems across multiple departments. At its core, it replaces all the databases that were previously divided into departments. Ultimately, it provides your organization with clear line of sight across all departments using one shared database.

With ERP software, a single database can service the entire business. Business functions such as production, sales, and inventory are combined in one single shared platform for improved customer service. ERP also monitors revenue, orders, materials, manufacturing capacity, and staffing. All these functions can be accessed through a single user interface. Access to data is limited by user permissions, so your employees get all the data they need to successfully execute their job. User-friendly dashboards and built-in analytics help executives make better decisions.

This shared database and one view of the company provides a small business with:

    Streamlined Data Flow and Fewer Errors: With ERP, all relevant data can be easily shared and accessed by all departments. Gone are the days where marketing information couldn’t be easily combined with sales data to target productive accounts and leads or provide pricing guidance. An ERP system removes the need for each department to have its own information system; data no longer needs to be re-entered continuously or exported, which often results in errors, lowered productivity, and significant time loss.

    Improved Collaboration: The system provides real-time data, which streamlines operations across the organization. It enables companies to make crucial decisions on time and avoid excessive waste. Teams can quickly detect any obstacles that might lower productivity levels. A clear overall picture of the whole company makes effective decision-making much easier for executives.

    Increased Productivity: With all data gathered in one platform that provides clear insights into each business aspect of the company, staff can focus on business growth. Instead of putting all their time and effort into endless data management, they will focus on managing an increased volume of business.

    Decreased Operating Costs: Last, but not least – especially for small businesses – implementing ERP brings lower operating costs for the company.

All this sound great, and these benefits have been enjoyed by major enterprises for years. In the past, there haven't been many ERP solutions that would be suitable for small or medium sized businesses. Small businesses didn't have the funds or tech support to build an infrastructure large enough to adopt the corporate-scale ERP software. Growing businesses had to create a fragmented business software structure, with several separate programs for handling inventory, finance, sales, payroll, etc. As a result, many companies stacked different applications with mixed success tying them together using spreadsheets or APIs that failed sporadically. Small businesses were stuck trying to simulate an ERP. Over time, especially when companies experience growth, these cobbled together solutions start failing. Stacking apps and spreadsheets initially sounded like a low-cost idea. But as businesses grow, it costs a lot of time, and frequently a lot of frustration.

Fast forward to today. Low cost cloud ERP systems for small businesses now allow you to automate all essential business functions while being integrated across all departments of your company. With the advent of cloud ERPs, most providers that specialize in your industry have a standardized implementation blueprint and a carefully established ERP strategy to make execution easier. When executed correctly, any business can experience the outstanding benefits of an integrated cloud based ERP system.

Does Your Business Need ERP?
As small businesses start to grow, the number of transactions increases and processing a large volume of data becomes time-consuming. The day-to-day processes become far more tedious and time consuming. Entering purchase orders and sales, manual stock checks, inventory updating, invoice processing, billing, or keeping track of client interactions – all become critical to meeting your goals. You can have the best product and team in the market, but if your systems fall short you may be hitting a wall.

It might be time to consider an ERP if:

  • It’s becoming difficult and time-consuming to determine the amount of inventory in the warehouse
  • Your sales forecasts are based mostly on guessing
  • The company has a volume of orders that’s becoming hard to keep up with without excessive spreadsheet usage
  • Getting solid facts about your business takes a lot of time

There are now a wide variety of ERP systems to choose from. CentralBOS is a cloud ERP system designed specifically for small to mid-size wholesale, light manufacturing and field services businesses. It is designed to simplify and optimize business operations while eliminating the risk, costs, and ineffectiveness that come with app stacking or costly on-premise solutions. Schedule a product tour to learn how our ERP management system can help grow your business!