Category: Industries, Modes, ERP Software
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Small Business ERP
Nothing’s small when you own and operate a small business. This is especially true when your small business just happens to be in the manufacturing sector. Small manufacturers encounter many of the same challenges that medium and large companies do, including pressure from competitors; global economic volatility; the need to attract and retain new customers; and the need to reduce expenses and increase profitability.
However, many small manufacturers have myriad other issues to contend with that big businesses don’t have, or have an easier time facilitating by virtue of economic scaling. Certainly in today’s tight credit markets, limited access to financial resources is a key hurdle for small businesses. This is exacerbated by increasingly higher operational costs and the constant difficulty in finding qualified people to work for you.
Solving your problems so you can get onto your work is the driving force behind the quest for shop management software. When it comes to choosing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software specifically for small businesses, trying to shoehorn a large-scale system into a small operation is not the most desirable approach. The result is often owning a bunch of bells and whistles that are not needed, and/or wasting time training to use them for no particular business application in your shop.
In short: small manufacturing businesses have their own unique set of function requirements when it comes to choosing an ERP software solution. For example, when a small business makes a flawed decision about anything, the ability to absorb the consequences of it is usually much harder than when a large business makes a similar mistake.
Another ERP software acquisition issue for small businesses is that they don’t—or can’t—staff a full-time IT area. In a small business, complex, hard to learn, and difficult to understand ERP systems are not maintained by a technologist, but rather by any number of people within the small business—people whose business lineage may not have included computer and ERP software system integration.
For this reason, ERP software vendors that install and maintain systems designed specifically for small businesses are good places to turn to in your search. Helping to build a good implementation plan, installing the software and converting, and great service after the sale are the sorts of benefits that come with developing a one-on-one relationship with the ERP software provider. They are also the sorts of benefits absent from the larger ERP software provide.
Small manufacturing businesses simply don’t have all the time in the world to dwell on problem issues/bugs with a large, complex, ERP software installation. Indeed, the notion defeats the promise of efficiency hawked by the large-business ERP vendor. Ultimately, for a small manufacturing business, finding an ERP software is more often the need for finding a trusted compatible ERP vendor first; then moving on to assess the performance, efficiency, and productivity of the software as it relates to your specific small business needs.