As a small wholesale or distribution business owner it can be hard to justify the costs of implementing a true inventory and accounting ERP system. In the past, these types of all-in-one solutions were typically reserved for much larger businesses with global operations. However for the last several years and with cloud-based solutions increasing in popularity, inventory accounting ERP software has become a viable option for businesses of all sizes. ERP software is designed to manage all aspects of a company’s operations and provide advanced functionality for those who also sell online or through showrooms/storefronts. As is common in small businesses, owners and management can get caught up putting out fires, managing manual processes and dealing with administrative tasks which can slowly take away from time spent trying to grow the business. When this happens, it is time to begin evaluating your options. Instead of deciding to hire additional employees or add another application to your growing suite of software systems, consider the following benefits to be gained from ERP.
One Solution for All Your Needs.
Many small wholesale and distribution businesses begin with introductory systems such as QuickBooks for managing their accounting processes and then rely on Excel spreadsheets for keeping track of inventory. However, neither solution is designed to manage all aspects of a company’s operations, nor will they help your business grow. As you begin to experience an increase in order volume and sales, it will become quite clear that disparate systems and largely manual processes will no longer work. Instead of adding on multiple systems to manage specific processes, look for an all-in-one solution. These types of systems will provide all the basic functionality such as inventory and accounting, but also advanced functionality to help continue to grow the business such as CRM, eCommerce integration, landed cost tracking, POS and more.
Streamlined Operations with Consolidated Data.
Inherently in all ERP software, information is consolidated in one system and database. This makes it easy to access information across all departments, including inventory information in the warehouse, sales information from customer service and purchasing information. This in turn can improve relationships with customers and suppliers as it allows you to quickly find information and then email or print directly from the system. Going one step further, inventory accounting software also includes permission settings which allow businesses to restrict which aspects of the software specific users are able to access and edit. This eliminates the problem of users changing data by accident.
Increased Collaboration Across Departments.
When all departments in an organization are using the same system it makes training and support simpler, which also improves the onboarding process and cross-training when employees cover or change specific roles. This also creates an internal network of employees who can support and train one another on the system. In addition it fosters collaboration across departments as employees can discuss and share efficiencies with regards to different aspects of the software. And it helps standardize the procedure for entering and updating data, thus eliminating time wasted trying to decipher other systems or user actions.
Full Visibility into Business Health.
When all information is stored in one database it makes the process of gathering and consolidating information from different departments much faster. Inventory, sales and financial information can be quickly consolidated into meaningful reports allowing management to address issues when they arise and on a pro-active basis. Automated reporting provides regular insight into business health and can be set up to alert users only when specific criteria are met.
Although ERP has typically been associated with much larger companies, it can actually provide major benefits to smaller wholesale and distribution businesses as well. ERP can help your business grow by consolidating data and improving collaboration across departments.