Features to Consider before buying ERP Software for SMEs
Do SME sectors really need ERP Software ? Before going for the features to consider, first let us consider this question that has been heard for many years. Most of the Small Businesses who we approach ask the first question “ Is this a Tally ERP ?”, “Can you Integrate your software with Tally ERP ?“, “Is this an accounting software ? “ We always wonder about the logic behind this question. Is ERP meant only for business accounting ? The answer is a big no.
The ERP is a software that connects all the departments and ensures everyone is working on a unified database, thus enhancing communication within the organization. It could give you a better insight on customers, sales order, production & delivery for a clear forecasting. Whereas the Tally is a software tool that handles the accounting part of a business. Simply said, accounting is one part of the ERP Software. There is a huge difference right ?
But most of the companies think that ERP software is meant to serve only those MNC companies, only large scale industries have the purpose to utilize ERP features and only they can afford to buy those costly software tools. This is all a myth. The technology has grown enough to serve every organization irrespective of size and operations. There are many software tools designed specifically to meet business needs. It is a company’s responsibility to conduct in-depth research and choose the right software for their business type.
Now let us discuss some of the major features in ERP software for SME, that a company should consider before choosing their software.
Module Wise :
Sales & Marketing :
This is the crucial part of any business. The different marketing strategies give you the insight on which performs well and where the sales occur more. By keeping track of customer details right from first follow up till sales order and delivery, you can analyze the customers’ changing needs and make business decisions accordingly. The sales order captures all the details of the customers and pending orders. This ensures no delay in the process hence building customers’ trust.
The cash flow within the company should be transparent and accountable. Especially for the growing companies it is important to keep track of financial status and analyze if there is any unnecessary expense happening. Cost is the critical factor for any projects and hence efficient handling of accounts will help you in cutting excess cost.
Inventory Management :
For a growing business, the company needs more customers and they cannot afford to lose them if their delivery timing exceeds more than expected. Hence an efficient inventory management is required to maintain a minimum stock quantity, reorder materials on time and make the most use of the old stock materials/products.
Other Technical Requirements :
Industry Specific :
ERP Software is a common tool with all business functionalities integrated together. At the same time each industry has their own specific operations and choosing a software specially designed to meet one’s business requirements is a wise choice. To stay ahead of the competitions and gain loyal customers it is good to select the right industry type software tool.
Software as a Service :
Cloud based software has been acquired by most companies recently due to its enormous benefits. The cloud tool is most cost efficient, needs less space and infrastructure. It comes as a subscription based model depending upon the number of users. For small businesses who cannot afford to set up a big infrastructure and regular maintenance for technical purposes, can make use of the cloud software.
The cost of ERP tools has a wide range of pricing with respect to the features. It is not true that higher the cost of the software higher the efficiency. Each tool is designed in such a way to meet different business requirements. A low cost ERP will be more than enough to meet small business needs.
Implementation Process :
Checking out the duration of the implementation process and the necessary requirements for implementing the software like historical data in excel formats, the IT infrastructure guidelines, security protocol and software training & support. To be on a safer side and ensure successful implementation, having a clear understanding about the above listed things is mandatory.
User Friendliness :
When a software is easy to use and being more mobile friendly then it is helpful for the employees to adapt to a new working environment. Mobile accessible tools are utilized by supervisors to give approvals on the go thus ensuring timely decisions made.
There are a number of software tools available in the market and it is the key responsibility of an organization to go through various checks on different features. Choosing the best software for your company takes time and it is worth waiting for, as it is a one time investment to see business growth in the long run. Hence companies are requested to take a software demo as many times possible to have a better understanding about the available options.