This article excerpt, by Inside ERP, originally appeared here: http://it.toolbox.com/blogs/in…

 

Until recently, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) was out of reach for many small businesses. With ERP solutions hitting the cloud, there are now options for companies of all sizes. Learn what cloud-based ERP can do for your small business.

ERP Solutions for Everyone

Large and mid-size corporations have benefited from ERP solutions for years. With software that integrates data from all departments and functions, management is streamlined and the potential for efficiency increases. But the prohibitive cost of the software and its specialization kept ERP solutions in the hands of the big boys — until now.

The popularity of the cloud and the progress resulting from it has created multiple opportunities for small businesses to cash in on solutions that were previously unavailable. The prohibitive cost of ERP has been resolved with the cloud. Because most ERP solutions are now offered as a Software as a Service (SaaS), many of the associated costs of implementation have gone by the wayside.

Types of Enterprise Resource Planning Software

Several modules are available in ERP software:

• Manufacturing

• Supply Chain Management

 

• Financial and Accounting

 

• Human Resources

 

• Project Management

While not all modules may be necessary for your particular small business, integrating the ones you do need makes planning and management easier and more efficient. Access to the modules is available anywhere you have Internet service, which provides you and your employees with data mobility. Because smaller businesses typically have fewer employees and fewer resources, the ability to consolidate functions and share data efficiently becomes a prized asset.

How Each Module Can Help

Manufacturing

Small manufacturing businesses need to keep a close eye on job costs. They benefit from a module that automates data and consolidates reports reflecting accumulated job costs as compared to estimated job costs. Other functions that prove useful are:

• Production data mapping to keep schedules on track

• Customer order access so customers can track their orders through the manufacturing process

• Compiling training data for future planning use

Supply Chain Management

An integrated supply chain module tracks chain performance overall, as well as individual metrics such as short orders, shipments and inventory. It can also create synergy between the small business and the supplier community by providing an easy to access dashboard via the cloud. The module helps small businesses by replacing the need for a large IT department while still providing the data needed for successful management of the supply chain.

Financial and Accounting

Financial and accounting modules provide tools for collaboration on profitability and facilitate the management of the company’s financial resources. From gathered financial data, the module can help small businesses generate all types of financial reports, such as ledgers, balance sheets and quarterly statements.

Human Resources

Human resources modules provide integrated employee scheduling and benefits tracking. They can also work with the financial and accounting module to automate payroll. They can be used for the onboarding process for new employees, tracking the training process. They can even store employee records, providing ease of access while still maintaining confidentiality.

More Advantages of ERP

Regardless of which suite of modules is right for your small business, cloud-based ERP solutions consolidate reporting functions and centralize reports for all your departments. This is especially beneficial to smaller companies, which utilize fewer employees for several functions of the system. ERP can eliminate the need for multiple software systems, saving valuable time and resources as the company grows. Providing employees and decision makers with easy to access ERP solutions also reduces the loss in productivity that comes with inefficient communication and data sharing.

The cloud has created solutions for businesses of all sizes, but small businesses can truly expand with the resources provided by this breakthrough technology. See what the silver lining can do for you by exploring options for cloud-based ERP solutions for your small business.