What Should a Good ERP Software Offer?

Every now and then a new innovation or piece of software hits the market that seems to have so many implications that there isn’t a good one-size-fits-all definition. That seems to be the case with ERP software. The acronym stands for Enterprise Resource Planning but that means different things to different people. So what exactly is ERP software and what can the right software mean for your business? The answer to that is both simple and complex.

Putting the Puzzle Pieces Together

Perhaps the best way to describe what a good ERP software should offer would be to liken it to a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle. In any organization, there are many facets which need to work together if a business is to succeed. Each department is like the border of your puzzle and in between, all those pieces are functions within those departments. Good ERP software can be likened to an efficient way of fitting all the pieces together with minimal fuss. That’s the easy way of looking at it. Now it’s a bit more complex trying to understand how that works.

A Shared Database Is the Main Function

The one aspect of Enterprise Resource Planning that is vitally important is offering the ability to access a shared database. Of course, access permissions will need to be set but the key point is in the level of interdepartmental communications this provides. Time consuming phone calls or emails no longer need to be a problem because as each department plugs in an order or marks something as complete, that communication is then automatically sent to where it needs to be next. When making ERP software comparisons, this is the most important feature to consider.

Like Spokes on a Wheel

Another way of looking at what good ERP software should offer is in comparing the platform to a bicycle wheel. At the centre is the customer. That customer places an order on the first spoke, which is sales. Each department is a spoke on the wheel so that manufacturing connects to the customer as does accounting, customer service, shipping, and so on. If each spoke does its job, the company works efficiently in a time and cost saving manner.

Good ERP software enables your business to run like a well-oiled wheel, smoothly and efficiently.

Are You Still Confused?

If you are still confused as to just what ERP software is and how it can benefit your business, you really are not alone. There are as many definitions of Enterprise Resource Planning as there are brands of software on the market. The best way to avoid confusion is to do a bit of comparison shopping which will enable you to get a better look at the various functions. Even so, your key takeaway should be that ERP software lets each department pick up work, mark it when complete and the software then sends that communication to the department next on the list.

Good ERP software is like the conductor of an orchestra. Perhaps that’s the most important feature to look for. How well does the ERP software you are considering orchestrate a rhythmic flow of operations within your organization? If you find a master conductor, you’ve found the software you need.