Thursday, February 21, 2008

Does Your ERP System Need a Review?

Ever worked for one of those businesses where the left hand doesn’t seem to know what the right hand is doing? One of those businesses where they seem to give you the mushroom treatment – keep you in the dark and feed you a load of… manure?

These companies may well need to review their ERP systems or even get one into place! ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. This is a system where all data and processes in a company are integrated into the one system. This means that all the software and hardware are integrated, and that everyone can access the same database if they need to.

Having an ERP system in place would have helped in one situation I was involved in. We were moving out of a rental property owned by a large company. As we should have, we gave notice to the nearest branch of this company, paid the last instalment of the rent that we owed and moved out.

Next thing we know, four weeks in our new house, a letter turns up from that company – correctly addressed – saying that we hadn’t paid the rent on the old house for two weeks and unless we paid up, we’d be evicted. I resisted the temptation to do nothing just to see what they would have done if they turned up to evict tenants out of an unoccupied house… You guessed it: the branch we contacted wasn’t the one handling the property we had been in.

I hope this experience made that particular company review or even install their ERP system so it didn’t happen again!

Choosing an ERP system is a big step for any company, and it is important that you read a good, unbiased review of the ERP system you are considering.

For a start, you need to review whether the ERP system you are considering will do the job that you want it to. Some companies only need a package that will integrate their accounting and their payroll work. However, other ERP systems have much, much more involved.

An ERP system may contain many different aspects that were formerly kept separate. Examples of things that may be integrated by an ERP system are human resources, supply chain management, customer relations, manufacturing and decision support. Now if the whole company needs to review how and where it does things, a good ERP system will make this so much easier.

Some of the most significant ERP systems that are popular today include SAP, The Sage Group, Oracle Applications, Epicor, Visma and QAD. Others are also widely used in the corporate and manufacturing world.

Naturally, opinions differ at to the merits and disadvantages of each of these ERP systems. Talking to someone will give you a good review of each product, but you will also find a host of ERP system reviews online. Read these ERP reviews very carefully to find out if the system you are considering is the right one for your organisation.

Don’t forget – it’s not just businesses that may need to review their ERP system. Charitable organisations, clubs, churches and sporting bodies also need the left hand to know what the right hand is doing.

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