Bridging the Gap Between SMB's and Corporations
Tags: ERP   Stock  
31/08/2011 6:15 PM

There was a time when the line between how a large corporation ran its business and how an SMB (small or medium business) operated was far more distinct. However, with more accessible Business Software that allows SMB's to manage and access data with the same level of efficiency that's essential for big business, that's all beginning to change. In this article we'll take a look at how enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is helping to bridge that once impassable gap.

Not just for big business
If your goal as an SMB is to one day grow into a larger enterprise, then you need to know how to run it like one. While once upon a time SMB's managed most of their data on paper and stored it in filing cabinets, leaving electronic storage to the mega corporations that could afford the type of capital investment associated with a central server, that is no longer the case. ERP software is now more affordable, while distributed networks – often referred to as "the cloud" – now allow SMB's to electronically centralise their data for easy manageability.

Scalability is the key
As your business grows – as you take on new staff, implement new processes and generally expand your operations – the time and cost associated with transferring your data to a new system can be crippling. The benefit of ERP software is that it's scalable and adaptable, so that it can be implemented when your business is still small and will grow with your business, allowing you to easily change processes and workflows as you expand.

Many small businesses use MYOB software, but they soon find that as they reach any reasonable size this software is no longer able to perform the job required. It is only suitable for small businesses that intend to stay small – there is no room for growth. Furthermore, migrating all of your business data from one system to another is a great deal of trouble. Great ERP software includes integrated quoting, planning, manufacturing, sales and marketing solutions – and much more -- that can be tailored to suit the size of your enterprise.

ERP software can help manage each phase of the workflow cycle, including stock control, sales, servicing, customer contact, quoting, invoicing, financials and more. With paper systems, reporting usually involved extracting data from a range of different locations – an extremely inefficient way to operate, and often inaccurate and subject to human error. With ERP software, you can design reports such as job costing, profitability, daily labour and so forth with entirely accurate data that is available to you instantly.

Your aim should be to become a paperless office, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in administration costs. The ERP system stores all your data virtually, allowing easy access through user-friendly interfaces. Furthermore, you can share information between offices, suppliers and customers – quickly and easily.

If your business has become successful enough that you're looking to expand overseas, ERP software is useful in this regard too, with built-in functionality for multiple foreign currency transactions, improved stock control and even serial number tracking.

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