Implementing an ERP system means entering a new level of business
Every enterprise conducts a wide variety of activities – just to mention sales, marketing, accounting, production process or recruitment. All of them must be carried out by specialists, who are supported by professional programs.
To cope with this challenge, many companies use at least a few different tools for this purpose. Meanwhile, they can use a single software, namely an ERP system.
An ERP system (Enterprise Resource Planning) is an IT software that enables you to comprehensively manage your business and its resources. Its role is to integrate key aspects of your companies’ activities and allows you to manage them using a single tool.
These types of IT systems operate based on a single database, which collects all information related to the performance of your business. In practice, this immensely improves the flow of data, as well as the management of the various departments of the organization.
Each user of the system gets access to data, relevant to their position and function in the company. This significantly facilitates the collection, ordering and usage of information.
Why were ERP systems created?
Modern-day entrepreneurs understand perfectly that managing a business requires the use of specialized systems. Data is at a premium today, and digital transformation is not slowing down. In the face of these challenges, an ERP program will help you monitor and optimize all your company’s processes.
Modern ERP systems are the successors to MRP systems (Material Requirements Planning) for planning material requirements or simply overseeing production. These kinds of solutions enable inventory control, order processing management or production planning.
Integration of enterprise resources
The success of MRP systems was the impetus for creating a software that will allow data gathering and management of many areas in a company - not just production. This is how modern ERP systems were created, which are a kind of command centre for the enterprise in general and each of its departments individually.
ERP system functions and capabilities – key areas
Definitions or the history of the origin of ERP systems is one thing. For you, surely, much more valuable information is how such a solution can be used in practice.
ERP systems have a multitude of functions. Depending on the program you have chosen, its functionalities can be further tailored to your needs – so that the solution responds to the requirements of your organization as best as possible. This is the case with Microsoft Dynamics ERP systems.
The most prominent features of such programs include the following aspects of the company’s operation:
Finance and Accounting. An integrated ERP system will help you organize data related to your company's finances, thus allowing you to make better business decisions. Through it you will settle receivables, post transactions, administer bank accounts and prepare financial statements. Furthermore, it will enable you to automate the vast majority of accounting-related tasks. ERP systems are frequently updated, so you can be sure that they comply with current legal regulations.
HR and Payroll. With ERP, you will automate tedious HR and payroll processes. You will generate payrolls and take care of the circulation of personnel documents with ease. It will also immensely facilitate the calculation of salaries by defining individual payroll parameters.
Service. Is your company still relying on paper circulation, and the record of contracts is confined to storage in binders and cabinets? Undoubtedly, you need an ERP system that will give you full control over the handling of a given order, monitoring costs and analysing the profitability of service contracts. Furthermore, such a program will automatically generate all invoices, contracts and notifications for customers. Documents will be stored electronically, so you will gain immediate and convenient access.
Production. The ERP program will allow you to forecast and plan, in addition to managing the production process and resources themselves. It will estimate lead times for individual orders, as well as determine and then control quality indicators. You will gain access to statistics on the performance and occupancy of specific aspects of production and automate a significant part of the processes.
Sales and marketing. Present-day ERP systems make it possible for you to store all customer data in one place – we are talking about information on previous purchases, sales values, transaction dates, etc. This simplifies the flow of information, thus increasing the efficiency of marketing and sales activities. The programs have functions that help: quoting, invoicing, conducting analytics and measuring activities, pricing and discounting.
Warehouse and resources.
The ERP system 365 Business Central makes it possible to shorten your warehouse processes by up to 30%. Among other things, it permits inventory management, cross-docking support, automatic selection of fast-moving goods or mobile warehouse operation. It also allows you to make optimal use of storage space and use the barcode systems.
Project management. The ERP system allows you to monitor the execution of individual projects, but also to maintain control over budgets and resources. Thanks to it you will assign activities to specific people, as well as analyse the crucial statistics regarding the project.
Purchase. Planning purchases, automating control and restocking of inventories, creating transaction history, monitoring on-time delivery – Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central will make all these activities a breeze. Thanks to the ERP system, you will gain access to complete information on prices, discounts, additional costs and order processing.
BI – Reports and analysis. ERP will help you to understand your business better. The software will generate transparent and objective reports that will enable you to conduct effective analyses, draw accurate conclusions and make the right business decisions.
The diverse functions of ERP IT systems can already be impressive on their own. However, the most important thing is that thanks to them, you are able to integrate all areas in your company with each other. An example? Production will be synchronised with purchasing, sales and marketing, while HR and payroll – with project management.
The best time to implement an ERP system
Every investment should have a return. It is obvious. This is also the case with ERP systems. It is completely understandable that you want to make sure you are in need of such software, and if right now is the perfect time to implement it. Find out if any of the following problems are emerging in your business:
The software in use is becoming inefficient. Are you using production management software or the CRM system? If you feel that they cannot keep up with your company’s needs, it is time to introduce a more advanced solution, namely the ERP system.
A lot of projects are done outside of the current systems. This means you are spending money on tools that are not fully effective. Instead, you can invest in one that will improve the efficiency of your organization.
You are experiencing difficulties with warehouse management. Managing inventory and materials is one of the biggest challenges in optimizing a company’s operations. An ERP system allows you to monitor inventory, plan resources, forecast demand, manage chain supply and team performance.
You notice issues in the flow of information. An ERP system is essentially a single database that can be used by all the teams in your company. Once your employees gain access to it, you will immediately observe an improvement in the flow of information and internal communication in general.
You lose control of the enterprise’s finances. An ERP system enables you to monitor your company’s finances, but also to automate countless processes related to invoicing, payments of receivables or accounting.
The efficiency or quality of work in your company is decreasing. It may be due to poor planning or information chaos. Now, you know how to solve these problems.
Your company is growing rapidly. With growth comes the increase in both data and business processes. An ERP system will help you organize them and manage them effectively.
Employees often make similar mistakes and there is an organisational chaos in the company. This means you need a tool that will allow you to manage your business more efficiently – namely, an ERP system.
ERP system Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central – a tool to support business
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central can be combined with a variety of tools, further enhancing its capabilities, and allowing maximum customization to meet the requirement of your business. These can include Microsoft tools as well as others.
Explore Microsoft Power Platform tools!
App Source. A platform where you can find cloud solutions developed by Microsoft’s partner network. With it you can acquire a tool that will further expand the functionality of your ERP system.
Power BI. A tool that allows advanced data visualization, as well as automatization of processing and reporting.
Power Apps. A platform that allows Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central users to create simple applications without programming skills.
Power Automate. This tool that gives you the ability to create automatization.
Extensions. Modifications or new functions can be added to the tool thanks to this feature.
Connect Apps. A flexible API that allows integration with external programs.
See a video, demonstrating the capabilities of the system
The centrepiece of the system is the user’s Home View. After logging into the system, the user sees a dashboard prepared specifically for their role. The dashboard shows the following elements:
charts visualizing selected data,
and the most needed information, tailored to a specific role.
Access to information in the ERP system is easy, however correct authorisation of access is required. The scope of access to data depends on the role and position of the person in the organization.
Benefits of implementing an ERP system
Companies that have decided to invest in ERP software are seeing increased efficiency in individual business processes and improved corporate performance. The exact benefits of implementing the tool depend, of course, on the needs of the company and the solution it chooses.
However, you can count on the right system to provide your business with numerous benefits. What are they?
Time saving. By organizing your data and facilitating the flow of information, wasting time performing mundane or unnecessary tasks will become outdated. You will save time on generating reports, performing accounting operations, assigning tasks etc.
Process automatization. Not only will you reduce the time required to execute certain tasks, but you will also eliminate the risk of accidental errors. Organizing individual procedure will make you forget about chaos, and your employees will be able to focus on tasks that really require their creativity and commitment. The rest will be taken care of by ERP, which will do an excellent job of automating repetitive activities.
Effective resource management. Thanks to plan and forecasts, you will know exactly what resources your company needs and in what quantity. Moreover, the ERP system will help you administer them efficiently.
Reduction of operating costs. This is possible through both automatization and precise resource or production planning. Valuable analyses that you can perform thanks to the data generated and collected in the software will also contribute to savings.
Easier access to data and faster decision-making. ERP offers access to comprehensive knowledge about the condition of the company to selected individuals, as well as forecasts for the future, allowing to make sound business decisions – faster than ever before.
Optimalization of warehouse processes. It is difficult today to imagine the existence of a manufacturing company without an ERP system. It will contribute to the automatization of many tasks, eliminating mistakes that can cause downtime and related losses. Furthermore, it will allow you to give up the unprofitable use of storage space.
Improve the quality and efficiency of your work. This happens for a number of reasons – such as automatization of repetitive tasks, better information flow, the ability to set KPIs or control working time. Improved employee efficiency naturally translates into profits for the organization.
Reducing the possibility of mistakes and errors.Artificial intelligence and automatization will never fully replace humans. However, they can effectively increase the efficiency of their work – for example, by reducing the occurrence of mundane errors.
New development opportunities. ERP software for companies provides not only a multitude of functions, but also the ability to generate many useful reports. All this makes it possible to analyse business performance and the market situation much better, and thus identify new opportunities for development.
Microsoft Dynamics NAV turned out to be a system tailor-made for our needs. The improvement of individual areas of the company resulting from the implementation of a comprehensive solution has contributed to an increase in work efficiency and the possibility of its further developments.
Discover new opportunities with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central
How to choose an ERP system?
When choosing an ERP system, consider first and foremost that it should be tailored to your organization as much as possible. Think about this decision thoroughly – these types of tools are solutions that last for years and develop simultaneously with your business.
Concerns about ERP system implementation
Concerns about change are a perfectly natural and positive response. They will help you identify your needs and choose the solution that best meets the needs of your business.
What are entrepreneurs most often concerned about?
That this solution will not be right for their company. There are no perfect tools. A good ERP system should integrate the most important aspects of your organization’s operations, combining them in single system and thus providing all employees with access to a single database. It is therefore crucial to choose a technology partner that will help you achieve this.
That ERP modernization is beyond their budget. You can buy individual models separately – you do not need to use all the program’s capabilities right away. You do not have to invest in features that you will not use.
That they will lose access to the systems that they currently use. The premise is that the ERP system combines the functions of all other solutions you use. Moreover, you can integrate it with external tools – according to your needs.
The ERP system encourages the growth of the company
The modern reality of a business is very dynamic. All companies must be ready for change and development, including, the tools they use. What does this mean in the case of an ERP system?
It has a mobile application integrated into the system. In today’s world, access to data is essential. No matter when and where. Developers of top ERP systems understand that perfectly. The possibility of a mobile application for Android, iOS and Windows was introduced as early as the Microsoft Dynamic 2016 version of the system.
It grows with your company. Growth is a natural part of your company’s strategy. Modern, advanced ERP systems allow you to add new features as needed. Furthermore, new options are introduced with each system update.
It offers support for the older versions of the system. Chose a model that offers annual updates – like the Microsoft Dynamics 165 Business Central. Choosing such a solution means lower costs than if you had to update older versions of other systems yourself.
It enables seamless management and flow of data. The essence of ERP systems is that they create access to a single, common database for all departments and the entire company. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central allows you to combine the functions of an ERP solution with tools such as Office 365 (Microsoft 365), Power BI, Microsoft Azure, or Dynamics 365.
It is compliant with current legislation, accounting updates in particular. It is worth noting that for each update of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, a special module for Polish functionality is created, which includes the tools required by the native law.
It maintains performance despite dynamic development. The software is stable and secure – the number of its users does not affect its performance or stability. This is, of course, subject to the professional care of the provider.
ERP system on a server or in the cloud?
Are you facing the implementation of your first ERP system? You probably know that such software can run in the cloud or on an enterprise server.
Which solution is worth considering? To make a well-thought-out choice, consider the following aspects.
Software maintenance costs. An in-house infrastructure requires investment in building a server room and then maintaining it. This in turn raises the need to hire specialists, which is only optimal for large companies. For SME companies, therefore, a much more viable solution is cloud ERP.
Security. ERP systems are a huge amount of data that must be properly secured. Cloud solution providers make enormous investments in security resources against cyberthreats. Moreover, such systems are also equipped with mechanisms that back up data.
Scalability. Your business will grow and change. You may reduce the number of resources you use at certain times – for example, if you operate in an industry where seasonality plays a significant role. Your ERP system should be ready for both scenarios. For traditional solutions, this means time-consuming infrastructure expansion or modification.
How much does an ERP system cost?
There is no definite answer to this answer to this question. The total cost of ERP depends on many factors. However, it is primarily based on the needs and size of the company.
Various aspects affect the cost of an ERP system. Here are the most important ones:
System licence price. ERP software is available in several licensing options, and the price depends on the number of users that are going to use the tool. You can buy a lifetime licence, which involves a high one-time fee or monthly payment.
Range of functions. ERP systems come in several versions. As you can easily guess, the more expensive the version, the more advanced features it has.
Overall costs of implementation. Buying a system is not the same as installing it. This can be overseen by the provider of the solution itself or by a company specializing in implementations. The cost of implementation depends primarily on the selected system, its licence, and functions.
Post-implementation service and assistance. The role of the implementation company does not end with the implementation of the system. Its role is also to provide you with the necessary support and, if needed – developing the tool with new functions, optimizing it, and eliminating possible defects. All this means an additional cost that is worth reckoning with.
Infrastructure cost. You can choose software installed on your own servers or running in the cloud. In the former case, you must reckon with the cost of building the infrastructure, while in the latter case you must pay for the resources consumed in each billing period.
What models are available for purchasing an ERP system?
Traditional model. You purchase software that is installed on your server. You make a one-time payment and gain lifelong access to the program.
SaaS (Software as a Service) model. You pay a periodic subscription or licence in exchange for access to the program. The ERP system runs in the cloud – when you stop paying for it, you lose access to it.
ASP (Application Service Provider) model. If you choose this model, you do not pay a predetermined fee for a licence. Instead, you pay a bill that is proportional to how much you use the software.
How to prepare your company for ERP implementation?
Inter alia, the success of an ERP implementation depends on its proper preparation. Find out what to pay special attention to.
Identify the areas that need to be changed
Are you concerned with enterprise resource planning, production, accounting or sales and marketing issues? Or about all the above? Identify your goals and inform the implementation company about them. This will make it much easier to work out the desired results and select the optimal solution for your enterprise.
Determine the resources and budget needed for the implementation
Before making a final decision on the choice of an ERP system and its use in your organization, determine the funds you can allocate for its implementation. This will allow you to make a conscious decision and customise the software in the most beneficial way for your business – also from the financial point of view.
Prepare an implementation plan
A professional implementation company will help you with this. The plan should include a schedule for the various work, a breakdown of tasks, as well as the full concept of the solution.
Be prepared for changes
An integrated ERP system makes it easier to run a business. However, its implementation in many cases means the need to make some changes. We are talking, for example about reorganizing the work of departments or creating new positions.
Remember, nevertheless, that these are changes for the better, which will result in an increase in the profits of individual activities.
How long does it take to implement an ERP system?
It can take a few weeks, or as well – a few months. The exact time depends on many factors. Primarily, the needs of the company, the amount of data to be processed, the customization of individual functions, as well as the thoroughness of testing or the need for training, all have impact. The implementation of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, carried out by NMI ERP, takes an average of 6 months.
What is the return on investment of an ERP system?
This is another question that is difficult to answer unequivocally. There is no doubt that an ERP system allows you to generate saving and reduce the cost of many activities. Exactly how much you will gain, however, depends on the solution you choose and the degree to which its functions are adapted to the challenges your organization encounters.
How does the implementation of an ERP system unfold?
An implementation performed by a professional implementation company should always begin with finding out and analysing your needs. That allows you to set the implementation schedule, as well as the cost of the entire project. At NMI ERP, we develop a detailed implementation plan, consulted with you and your staff at every stage. In ERP implementations we use the Sure Step methodology recommended by Microsoft. We take care of data import, configure the system and tailor it to your needs.
Does implementing the system require changing hardware?
No, most ERP software runs in the cloud, which means you do not need to install it on any device. To use them, all you need is hardware with Internet access. You do not even have to be in the office!
Can you integrate ERP software with other programs?
Of course. If you think that combining your system with another program will increase the efficiency of your operations, emphasize it before the implementation. Conducting the integration in the vast majority of cases is possible.
What support will I receive after implementation?
We will explain how the system works and continue supporting you in using it. If necessary, we will make additional improvements and automatizations. We will also be happy to design new features and ensure that the tool grows with your company and team.
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