Looking for an expert’s opinion on whether or not ERP is right for your business? You could do worse than to ask the internet. Put “reasons to implement ERP” into a search engine, and you’ll find pages and pages of articles in which writers of all backgrounds have grappled with the subject, and often with a remarkable level of insight and clarity.
The trouble is, a lot of them say more or less the same thing: that ERP will make you more efficient, more productive, more alert to what’s happening in your business, and so on. All important points, but all at risk of losing their meaning through repetition – particularly if you want to sell ERP to someone who’s already reluctant about the whole idea.
With that in mind, here’s a list of less obvious reasons for organisations to undertake an ERP implementation:
We’ve written before about how ERP solves compliance problems in the field service industry. In sectors like contract engineering, organisations often have to meet demanding SLAs in order to fulfil their customers’ compliance needs – think regulations like PUWER and LOLER, for example. If their scheduling and dispatch process is manual, it can be difficult for them to monitor SLA compliance and keep on top of late or missed service calls.
An ERP system with specialist FSM functionality will provide much more powerful scheduling tools, allowing service managers to track ongoing work in real time and reassign engineers promptly after unexpected changes during the working day. The result? Better efficiency, but also a better SLA compliance rate.
Having an ERP system in place will also help a small or growing business look more credible to big prospects, potential partners, and customers in the process of reviewing their suppliers. It allows organisations to present compelling performance data readily and easily, as well as demonstrate financial security should there be concerns over their ability to deliver.
If security isn’t already an obvious reason for a technology upgrade, it should be. According to the latest version of the UK government’s Cyber Security Breaches Survey, just under a quarter (24%) of British businesses were affected by cybercrime in the 12 months up to February 2016. What’s more, a recent report from the FSB has claimed small businesses “bear the brunt” of the cost of cybercrime to the UK economy.
ERP may not be a security solution per se, but most modern ERP systems are significantly more secure than locally stored spreadsheets or decades-old, bursting-at-the-seams legacy software – particularly when delivered as a managed IT service through a security-savvy partner.
4. Business value
Finally, a competent ERP implementation can do a lot to help a business get the best possible valuation if a sale is ever on the cards. It allows organisations to show would-be buyers a clear and accurate overview of their historical performance, credible forecasts to support their vision for the future, and that controls are in place to ensure their financial security.
This may not exactly be at the front of many owner-managers’ minds, but even so: it demonstrates aptly how ERP can maximise a business’ potential and position it for success, whatever the future holds.