The benefits of implementing ERP software are well established and most large companies have adopted it. They rely on this structuring tool to develop their activity and its interest is generally well established. However, it is quite different with regard to the implementation of an ERP for SMEs, with whom the advantages are not always well perceived and who struggle to adopt it. So where are the possible obstacles, and how to circumvent them or answer legitimate questions?
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ERP for SMEs-SMIs: More Than An IT Solution
If ERP is viewed with some anxiety in SMEs and SMIs, both by leaders, managers and probably employees, it is because everyone is well aware that it is not a digital solution. like the others.
The choice of another solution (HR, dematerialization, CRM, etc.) rarely stirs up the vital forces of an organization, generally impacting a department or a function. Conversely, everyone is well aware that the use of an ERP (or its change) will have consequences for all of the company’s processes and employees. However, any change, even if it is considered positive, generates legitimate anxiety.
Certainly, the ERP must be part of a real business project and it is therefore the management that will have to instill the desire and the energy necessary for the transformation.
More than in a multinational with multiple ramifications or subsidiaries, the arrival of an ERP in a PMI is an opportunity to give new guidelines and to overhaul certain processes. Not by lack of adaptability, because ERPs for SMEs are now able to stick precisely to the needs of each type of activity and structure, but by real strategic choice. This is to respond to or create new development opportunities.
And If You Are Already Equipped?
In a small business, IT solutions may not be a problem on their own and may be satisfying when considered in isolation. The difficulty lies rather in their alignment with a business strategy and their connection between them. A combination of different effective solutions separately does not provide the same services as a complete ERP.
Indeed, the ERP is a real backbone that it is possible to enrich many modules according to the needs and the development of the company. It can also interface with related solutions. We must then ask ourselves if the benefit that we derive from it justifies this choice and if the adoption of already existing modules in the ERP does not bring a faster and greater ROI.
In addition, faced with services that would have been computerized efficiently over development, but without consultation or strategy, an SME SMI manager can find in ERP an ally to unify skills and align them with objectives. A way to regain control over governance in a way.
Adopt It Immediately, Or Now?
Of course, an SME-SMI may be tempted to wonder about the advisability of integrating an ERP, whatever the stage of its development. If everything works and the results are good, she will think that there is a risk of destabilizing her processes. And if times are tough, she’ll think there are other priorities. In reality, these 2 reasons must be reversed.
A flourishing development, even if it seems well under way, will certainly not be able to last without a harmonization of flows, processes and data, both internally and with external partners. ERP software allows you to scale up whatever your growth and the deployment of new modules that are perfectly integrated into the existing one. While your initial assembly of disparate solutions, if it can be deceptive for a while, risks showing its limits when you least expect it. Adopting an ERP in a hurry and under duress is not the best solution.
As for periods of transition or crisis, they require in any case a structuring or restructuring of the company. However, ERP is the structuring digital solution par excellence. Its implementation is an opportunity to reorganize your processes around a new strategy if necessary. It is one of the tools that materializes the desire for change and development.
Moreover, it is worth remembering that many start-ups today choose to equip themselves with an ERP from the outset, without waiting to reach a later stage of growth. It was probably difficult to envisage 20 or 30 years ago, but it is perfectly possible today with ERP solutions for light and modular SMEs. But then, if we decide to take the plunge, what benefits can we expect?
ERP For SMEs-SMIs: The Benefits
Whether in the field of services or industry, the advantages of an ERP for a small structure are often underestimated. Let us recall a few:
- Time saving: Whether we are talking about production, data processing, or invoicing, ERP saves time at all levels, by natively linking all services around the same backbone.
- Compliance with regulatory requirements : It is not easy for a SME-SMI to comply with the many regulations and standards and even more difficult to stay aligned with a multi-level and constantly changing legislation. The ERP will greatly facilitate this task.
- Decision-making and piloting : Much better than with multiple independent solutions or disparate indicators, with an ERP you can get a foothold in decision-making computing. An ERP will be able to provide you with decisive indicators or to interface with a purely BI (Business Intelligence) solution.
- Better collaboration / interaction with your ecosystem : You are no longer alone, we can bet. Collaboration has become essential within the company, but also outside, with partners and suppliers. Whether natively or with the addition of modules, ERP greatly contributes to improving this collaboration.
In the end, the interest of an ERP in an SME-SMI is also “psychological”: the moment will certainly come when the decision-makers, managers and collaborators will end up saying to themselves “since we have everything from a large company, including the same digital solutions, why not compete with them? Isn’t that what we should wish for?
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