Get answers to FAQs about ERP, explore questions to ask software vendors, and learn what’s unique about business solutions for manufacturers and distributors.
ERP is an acronym that stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. But what does that really mean? ERP software is designed to help companies manage their business operations, providing visibility into available resources, whether financial, labor, time, materials or other aspects needed. Organizations use ERP software to streamline the complexity of business processes such as taking orders, scheduling plant activity, tracking raw materials and compliance reporting. Virtually every organization with more than a few employees uses some form of ERP. It’s a competitive disadvantage if a company isn’t leveraging ERP effectively.
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Many companies adopt ERP for the first time when they realize their entry-level accounting software lacks core functionality, scalability and just isn’t giving them the visibility they need. But ERP software systems help you manage much more than financials. An ERP system like SYSPRO’s is developed in a modular way, with applications covering such diverse areas as manufacturing management, distribution logistics, CRM, order management, e-commerce, product lifecycle and engineering control, scheduling, inventory and warehouse management.
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When it comes to change, pain is a great motivator. Maybe it’s taking longer every month to reconcile your financials or you’re increasingly basing forecasts on guesswork. You have no real idea how much stock you have on hand, so it’s hard to be demand-driven. Increasing compliance regulations are tying you in knots.
Here are five common signs we see from companies ready to consider a new ERP software system:
- Decision time has doubled. Time spent looking for information has increased dramatically.
- Working capital has increased. Too much money is tied up in inventory and inefficient processes.
- Redundant, disconnected software programs. You need to reduce IT complexity and unify your various front- and back-end systems with a single database – and get to one version of the truth.
- Customer experience is suffering. If you can’t deliver what customers want, as fast as they want, to the right locations, you could lose to competitors. The right ERP system can provide visibility and agility to be more customer responsive and reduce errors.
- Growth and expansion. If your current system can’t scale up, handle global needs, or support new business lines, it’s time to consider a change.
Making the right choice may seem daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. If you need help developing a list of requirements, find a vendor that knows your industry and market and has customers similar to your business. Once you have a list of requirements, you can then gather responses and start the comparison process.
To help you select the right ERP solutions for your business and business needs, SYSPRO offers a preliminary assessment and modeled blueprint of your business based on evaluating your current and future strategic objectives, current business processes, IT maturity of your organization, people and roles involved in ERP and your information needs.
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The answer of course is – it depends. The requirements of process and discrete manufacturing are different. A small business needs different functionality than a complex, multinational operation. Your industry may have specific compliance demands. And then you need to consider general IT issues such as ease of use, total cost of ownership, vendor stability, technology flexibility and ease of implementation. It is important to ask your proposed vendor these questions to ensure they address your unique requirements.
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For many companies, moving their IT infrastructure and software to the cloud reduces the need for in-house support structure and saves the cost of server hardware. Cloud-based ERP can be easier to scale functionality and users either up or down as required. And, it can often make it easier to share information across regions or locations. However, for some companies, you might not be ready to cede security to a third party and prefer an on-premise solution, and that’s okay with us, too. We’re one of the few software providers that offers flexibility for our customers and still provides on-premise ERP solutions. We help you choose based on your unique organizational requirements.
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Customer relationship management (CRM) software is designed to help companies simplify sales, marketing and customer service processes. But if you really want to build customer loyalty and foster collaboration across your business, you need to make sure customer information is visible and used across the organization from a single database – and that means connecting it with ERP applications.
With a unified ERP-CRM solution, your sales team can create quotes and estimates based on actual resources and inventory in the warehouse. Your financial team can manage customer billings and create forecasts based on actual orders. Products can be configured using CRM data for make-to-order environments. If you’re maintaining customer information in separate systems, it’s not just inefficient. It opens the door to service complaints and inaccurate orders. Connecting ERP and CRM is not just a “nice to have” in a competitive market. It’s a must-have.
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Before the introduction of ERP, Material Requirements Planning (MRP) software was developed to help manufacturers keep track of what parts and components were needed to complete orders, and make sure those raw materials were on hand to support production demands. MRP expanded and evolved into ERP with the addition of applications to connect other areas of the business such as financial, sales and production operations. By integrating MRP into an end-to-end business management software solution, companies improve visibility and collaboration across the organization.
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Success of course depends on the goals you want to achieve. Many companies measure return on investment in terms of cost and time savings achieved when automating manual work, and gaining visibility into potential bottlenecks. Some look at the value of reduced risks and improved corporate governance. The potential ROI can be seen in a wide variety of departments and processes. Check out our Solutions page to explore the ROI of ERP for yourself.
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Some businesses find the best IT strategy involves maintaining more than one ERP software solution. While it may seem counterintuitive to some, the upside benefits can be significant. Say your business already has a large-scale enterprise ERP solution, perhaps managed by your corporate IT department. But it lacks core functionality to handle specific manufacturing or distribution requirements – or the cost is too high to expand or customize it to your needs. With a two-tier model, companies implement a second ERP solution for specific divisions or plants, perhaps located in different parts of the globe. And with EDI and cloud technologies, the two systems can usually share data. A two-tier ERP strategy can thus save money and provide greater agility.
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Naturally, costs will vary depending on a number of factors: what modules you choose, the number of users and the quantity and quality of your existing data. It also depends on whether you’re choosing to deploy in the cloud or on-premise. Affordability is one of our core values, so we can work with you on making the most of your investment today and in the future as you grow.
We’re proud to work with more than 15,000 licensed customers across six continents, and our customer satisfaction rate tops the industry at 98%. The extensive roster of SYSPRO customers includes some well-recognized corporations including Hitachi Koki, Dunlop Manufacturing, SAB Miller, Toyota Racing Development, Popcornopolis and more. However, the scalability and flexibility of the software also makes it ideal for smaller customers, which range from custom furniture makers to medical device manufacturers, among many others.
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SYSPRO ERP is built on Microsoft .NET using XML and HTML5 standards. Data is stored in a secure Microsoft SQL database. In addition, SYSPRO ERP’s architecture is unique because it is based on a single code base, rather than being a mixture of different applications acquired over time. The software is developed around business objects, components or blocks of code that represent a specific set of business rules and processes. This means it’s easy to extend with new modules and easy to connect with third-party applications.
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After 40 years, SYSPRO is one of the longest-standing independent ERP software vendors in the industry. We’re truly global, working with more than 1,600 partner resources in more than 60 countries.
Key advantages of teaming up with SYSPRO include:
- Access to best-in-class, flexible software
- High-quality partner training opportunities
- Dedicated end-to-end partner support
- Rich channel sales and marketing resources
- Relentless focus on building long-term relationships
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SYSPRO has an active development community of software experts who create custom solutions around SYSPRO. Thanks to its service-oriented architecture (SOA) approach and the infinite possibilities of its e.net layer, SYSPRO has made it easy for developers to design applications that integrate effortlessly with the SYSPRO platform.
SYSPRO has been highly ranked over the years by analysts and ERP industry researchers such as IDC, Technology Evaluation Centers, Aberdeen Group, Mint Jutras, Ventana Research and others. Recent opinions have focused on our innovation strategy, strong focus on ongoing development and customer success.
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