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What is ERP and what are its benefits?

Evolution will always be synonymous with business. In 2019, that largely means adopting new technology that will allow you to streamline work flows for improved efficiency. You know that—we know you know that—but we also know a system overhaul can be a lightning rod for hostility and resistance within an organization.

Why? Because changing a legacy technology system can be the stuff of nightmares if it’s not done meticulously from start to finish.

When we say “start” we’re not talking about day one of implementation. We’re talking about the first day you start searching for the right solution.

Cue the firestorm of techy acronyms on Google! 

If you’re searching for something that will help improve efficiency and overall business insight, you’ve probably come across the term ERP. Or maybe you’ve been hearing “ERP” tossed around the IT department since the 90s, but still only vaguely understand what ERP is, how it works and why you need it. 

You’re not alone, so let’s cut through the jungle of buzzwords here.

ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. When ERP systems were first developed, it was largely used for manufacturing companies, but now it’s adapted to an array of industries including food, retail, fashion, equipment rental and more.

There’s a lot that goes into running a business—accounting, HR, inventory, order management, regulatory requirements, lot tracking, customer relationship management (CRM), distribution—you know the drill.

ERP software helps to integrate those moving parts into one internal management system with an easy-to-use interface. It ensures that the moving parts have immaculate communication with each other. Its job is to clear the way for optimal performance from an all-encompassing birds eye view of the business.

This leads to better efficiency and agility, but also better decision making. ERP systems have all your entities sharing information, so when it gives you data, the info is clean, consistent and organized. Quality insights served on a silver platter lead to quality analysis, conclusions and decisions.

Think of it this way—if you were running a small country, wouldn’t it be easier to have your right-hand man give you one daily brief in the morning? You don’t have enough hours in the day to meet with every single government department, every single day for a briefing. Your right-hand knows how to translate various daily department news in a concise way, that allows you to make informed decisions quickly.

Obviously, ERP is your trusted, reliable sidekick in this scenario, that feeds you the right information, at the right time, in the right way. Real-time visibility alone makes ERP a key player in your cabinet.

That’s what ERP does at its core. But from here, ERP can go many different directions depending on the size and scope of your business. There are different systems to choose from based on your company’s unique needs and budget.

So what can this magic tool really do? Part two in this series delves into some of the specific functions designed to make your business the best version of itself.

Learn more about ERP

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I have been privileged enough to have had a career spanning a significant number of years in operations within manufacturing and distribution—first in the motor industry and then into the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG)— with multiple roles covering most aspects of the product supply chain. For a long time, I have been a strong advocate of maximizing a solution as far as possible to drive real operational improvements, thanks to my exposure to ERP solutions for over 20 years.
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