Every start-up company is likely to need a little logistical help at some point. In some cases, the solution may lie with Enterprise Resource Planning, or ERP. There are possibly some misconceptions that ERP is just for larger, long-standing businesses; however, start-up companies and small or medium-size enterprises can also benefit greatly from ERP under the right conditions.
What ERP is, and what its benefits are
ERP at its best is a convenient and easily manageable system for coordinating and controlling business data and software. Rather than maintaining disparate databases and a spread of applications that use different data for different tasks, an efficient ERP solution consolidates the data management into one integrated system. This enables functions and staff across the business to work with and have access to the same information, which is continuously kept up to date as it is fed into and edited through the connected user interfaces. Even in a small company with a limited number of functions, or with just a handful of staff, a suitably sized ERP solution can be cost-efficient in terms of managing financial and inventory data, as just two examples.
The reasons an expanding business may consider ERP
There are a number of indicators that may alert entrepreneurs to a situation in which ERP may be of benefit to their company. High among these indicators is the existence of more than one set of data representing the same information. If, for example, accountancy and sales are working from different inventory databases, then that is already a sign that integration of the data may be worthwhile. Similarly, if different functions are organizing applications differently, such as on local drives and in the cloud, then this is another strong indicator that exploring an ERP solution may bring greater efficiency in the long term. In both cases, if data and applications are stored and accessed from multiple physical locations, then this is a potential security threat, as well as being a sign of possible lack of data integrity and a threat to process control. A well-tailored ERP solution could easily pay for itself in such circumstances, through mitigated business risk. These particular indicators often arise in growing companies that are adding functions or locations. As such, an expanding business would be well advised to consider ERP in the stage of planning the expansion rather than afterwards, when the data and security issues may already have taken hold.
The help that ERP gives to expanding businesses
The consolidation and security of data and other information assets is the key to the help that ERP can provide to growing businesses. A small start-up business may have its data in one place and may run its applications from one server. This brings efficiency and keeps running costs and maintenance costs low. As a business expands, both physically and functionally, ERP is a system solution that can help to maintain such levels of efficiency and security, even when there is an increase in the number of employees, the number of computer terminals, and the number of physical business locations.