Find the Best ERP for Office Use

By Sheila Shanker
Updated: August 16, 2011

The best ERP system, also known as Enterprise Resource Planning system, is the one that helps you the most in streamlining processes and creating a more efficient organization. An ERP program uses one database to centralize all businesses processes, such as job cost orders and accounting in manufacturing firms. If you have a retail firm, the ERP system can help manage inventory and sales in real-time with data flowing into an accounting and CRM systems automatically or at the pressing of a button. Instead of entering the same information multiple times in different systems, an ERP setup allows you to enter data once and use that same data in different areas.

The best ERP for your business is the one that works for your specific needs. Maybe you want to keep your current accounting or CRM system—the best solution would be to get an ERP system that can be interfaced with your existing programs, minimizing costs and training time. In this case, a great system would complement your existing situation.

On the other hand, if you’re interested in changing your processes, going for increased efficiencies, you may be inclined to acquire an ERP program to modify your existing tasks to align them with the system’s setup. Many growing firms, especially manufacturing ones, use this option to be sure all processes are standardized, which helps in managing the production tasks.

Generally, the best ERP system is the one that can do the following for your firm:

  • Reduce inventory levels

  • Establish an efficient workflow

  • Decrease reporting times and allow for prompt and effective analysis of operations

  • Decrease in overall costs of operations

Note that you must have the hardware and equipment to take advantage of this technology with a few firms opting for a cloud-based ERP system that is actually owned by a third-party provider. When selecting this option, your firm may save a lot in upfront costs and use the ERP system on a subscription basis. Examples of this type of service are the SMB suite, which offers both ERP and CRM systems for various businesses. Another cloud-based ERP systems are offered by Epicor, NetSuite and PlexOnline for manufacturers. As the Internet becomes used for VoIP and other processes, the cloud setups are becoming more common, providing an affordable alternative to many businesses.

As you look at ERP systems, be sure to check out the systems in the web, including visiting online users’ forums, where you may get a good idea of issues and problems facing the system. No program is perfect, and you should purchase a new ERP system after doing some research and talking to other firms to find the program that best fits your needs.


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