The software you use grows together with your organization. In small businesses, a lot is done with pen and paper and in Excel lists and most of the knowledge is simply in the heads of the employees. If your company is already a bit bigger, there is a growing need for automation and digitization to keep control and have a good overview. Until you reach a certain point where you need an ERP system; a software program to support all processes within the organization. How do you know if your organization is ready for ERP? This differs per industry and per company, but the aspects below give you an idea:
Size of the organization
How big your company is does not tell you everything when it comes to the need for ERP. You can be with a handful of employees and work with ERP, or be with many people without having the need for an ERP system. But if you grow as an organization in business, revenues and employees, you will eventually come to a point where an ERP system provides added value or even becomes a must-have. Planning of the service department on paper or in Excel no longer works, the rental fleet is too big to manage without a system and/or the administration and finance are so complex and comprehensive that the structure of an ERP system is required. Do you recognize any of these signals? Do not hesitate to take action, because the time between starting your search for a software solution and completing the implementation is often more than a year!
It goes without saying that your business activities play a key role in the potential need for ERP software. In a very diverse and/or comprehensive industry with complex processes, the need for an ERP implementation is more likely than in a company with very straightforward activities and processes. Can you manage to control your processes, take the right decisions and work efficiently without an ERP system? No problem. But do you lack overview, need structure and want to make your processes more efficient? Then it is time for ERP.
Problems without ERP
Ask yourself what problems you are experiencing because you don’t have an ERP system. Do you miss out on customers? Are there mistakes in your financial statements? Do you lose a lot of time on administration? Also, think about the future; will your problems become even bigger or will you run into new difficulties in the coming years? In the search for software, you should focus on tackling these problems for your organization. A more positive look at ERP is of course to look at the benefits you will get. Calculate, for example, the expected return on investment. A quick calculation can easily convince you to go for ERP software.
Consequences of ERP
An ERP implementation is not an easy project. Especially not when ERP is new to your company. Ultimately, you take a step (or several steps) forward and facilitate further growth of the organization. But the road to that point can be long and difficult. The ERP implementation costs time and money, is a heavy burden for your people, brings up resistance and spicy discussions and requires you to take difficult decisions regarding the processes and work methods to be followed. And once you work with ERP, you have the structure you were looking for, but that also imposes obligations. Everyone is forced to work within the structure of the ERP system. That is not easy for every user.
Philip van Kemenade is marketer at Dysel and is in contact with software end users every day.