In an uncertain economic climate and an increasingly unstable job market, choosing to go into business for yourself is more than just a career choice, it’s a political and economic statement. It says that you refuse to be buffeted by the winds of the economy and you refuse to participate in the culture of corporate wage repression that sees the cost of living skyrocket while employee wages stagnate leaving them with less disposable income to feed back into the economy. To establish your own small business is to plant your flag in the sand and dedicate yourself to a better, fairer future. But, like anything else worth having, it comes at a cost. Entrepreneurs put their hearts and souls into their enterprises and sacrifice a great deal of their free time to ensure that their businesses succeed.
Thus, when you run your own business, you need to take a zero tolerance policy on waste. Wasted time, wasted resources and wasted efforts are anathema to small business, but not every entrepreneur knows how to keep their processes and functions under control. That’s where Enterprise resource Planning (ERP) comes in.
What is ERP?
While ERP as we know it was first coined in the early ‘90s, its roots go way back to the ‘60s where it was applied to inventory management in the manufacturing sector. Over time it began to encompass more facets of business operations and become adopted in a wider range of industries. Resultantly, as the digitization of business became more widespread, ERP took on a slightly different definition. Today, ERP is a multifaceted discipline and everyone you ask seems to have a subtly different definition of what it means to them and their enterprise. In its simplest form, ERP takes all the functions that are essential to running a business; such as inventory and order management, human resources, accounting and customer relationship management and uses software platforms to transform these seemingly disparate disciplines into a single unified process. Check out www.ATB-Tech.com for a more detailed example of an ERP platform in action. “This is all well and good”, you may be thinking “but how will it benefit my business?”. Well for starters…
- It puts you in the driving seat. There’s so much information flowing through even small businesses that it can be difficult interrogating different software solutions for the information you need and using it to drive strategy. ERP, when done well, puts you in the driving seat by giving you quick and easy access to a host of data from all around the various facets and departments of your business.
- It aids productivity. All small businesses wage a daily battle for productivity, and recognize how intrinsic it is to sustainability and success. Because key data is all located in a single platform there’s no need to coordinate with various department heads through a tennis game of phone calls, texts and emails. It also helps to maintain consistency in working processing and helps to synchronize reporting and automation saving you and your business time and effort.
- It saves you money. Last but by no means least, ERP can help to reduce operating costs by reducing the risk of errors, reducing the risk of leaked information and is generally cheaper than purchasing several discreet software solutions. Therefore, not only are you saving money, you’re insulated from a series of risks which could decimate your bottom line.
This post contains contributed content.