Once upon a time, ERP systems were reserved for companies with hundreds and often thousands of employees, multiple locations, and even global points of operation. Who ever thought of evaluating ERP For start-ups?

Those days are gone, ERP has been re-imagined and redesigned to fit the build for companies of just about any size. These powerful and affordable software solutions can streamline your daily operations and make your start-ups success much easier to achieve.

While you may still think your start-up, small or medium business isn’t ready for ERP, you may be missing out on some essential tools that will set you up for positive outcomes and scale as you grow. You may be small now, but that won’t be the case for long. You may already have more business than you can handle.

In any case, you need to be able to manage the company operations and responsibilities to your stakeholders, staff, and customers. Evaluating ERP for start-ups is the first step into satisfying those responsibilities and making good on your obligations.

ERP will make your start-up run more efficiently, drive consistent outcomes, and deliver the data you need to inform business decisions.

This data comes from all the departments of your organization, including finance, sales, operations, inventory, and more. It delivers your staff a single source of truth they can rely on to improve their performance and deliver on the expectations your start-up must satisfy to succeed.

Here are just a few ways to begin evaluating ERP for start-ups.

When to Begin Evaluating ERP For Start-Ups

While each unique situation will dictate the process of evaluating ERP for start-ups, these indicators will reinforce the idea that it’s time to start looking. The more these examples crop up in your day to day, the stronger a candidate you are for implementation.

Waste Is Plentiful – Whether it’s time or capital, waste is one of the biggest contributing factors to a start-up’s success. Whether you are building widgets or delivering a service, processes that produce waste leave room for improvement. This is one of the areas of business management that ERP shines most.

Consolidating software and housing all your data in one central location is perhaps one of the most valuable moves your start-up can make. It cuts out the time spent searching for reports and invoices or delays when production materials can’t be found in the warehouse or worse, were never ordered when safety stock ran low.

Demand Is Outpacing Delivery – Not entirely a bad problem to have, right? Think again. If you get a reputation for missing deadlines and leaving customers with a sour taste in their mouth after doing business with you, know your competitors are waiting to step in and deliver.

Customer Relationship Management, production planning, scheduling, and Sales Management tools provided by ERP solutions ensure you have the tools you need to manage volume with a lean staff, budgets, and space.

Erroneous and Duplicate Data Is Abundant – Multiple points of data entry between disparate systems slow down your operations. It also leaves room for errors and errors can end up costing your critical customer accounts.

ERP ensures you only need to enter data once. That data can easily be verified within that same system. Add to that the risk of human error at the point of entry is kept to a minimum and your business does not suffer.

This means data used downstream is more likely to be accurate and ensure your orders, supply chain, and analytics give a true picture of your start-up’s performance.

You’re Missing the Forest For The Trees – the metaphor may seem obscure, but it’s about as apt as can be when we’re talking about access to the bigger picture of your business’ performance.

ERP will give your start-up the visibility it needs to see how you’re delivering on KPIs, grant access to analytics that illustrate where investments need to be made or scaled back, and superior reporting tools that show everyone you’re on the right track.

What to look for when Evaluating ERP For Start-Ups

By now, it should be clear that ERP can be a real boon to businesses at any size. However, for the start-up environment, there are specific qualities that make some ERP solutions better suited than others. Here are the most basic qualities you can evaluate in your search.

Cost vs. Price – while the two words may seem interchangeable, when it comes to ERP they most certainly are not. The true cost of not implementing an ERP system can easily be higher than shouldering the price of purchase.

Price is also not about what you can afford right here, right now. Keep in mind that sticker shock is just as real for enterprise-wise software. However, we have to remember that these are powerful systems that take a lot of time and engineering to develop. Not to mention save resources immensely but cutting down errors and non-revenue generating tasks. Fortunately, grants, tax write-offs, and financing are available to make the lessen the impact of the purchasing process on your overall business operations.

That said, the price of your system should be in line not only for the tools you need now but also those necessary to facilitate easy expansion as you grow. Which leads to the next characteristic to consider when Evaluating ERP for start-ups, scalability.

Scalability – Often, businesses evaluate ERP software vendors and decide what they have to offer is too rich and expansive for what they need here and now. That may be true. Instead, they may opt for a static product that is meant for small-scale operations that don’t expand capability or functionality as a business grows.

You also need to consider the future development of the product. Patches, updates, and versions that build on the ERP’s current state are essential to keep up with Industry as a whole.

It’s important to understand where your ERP vendor’s vision for their product will lead. Does that vision for the future include the functionality your business will need to remain competitive? Are they developing tools to enhance UI, automate manual processes, and facilitate superior eCommerce or self-service portal interactions?

Scalability is also a consideration for those evaluating open-source ERP solutions. Open source ERP vendors might only develop a product up to a certain point, package it, and sell it. Further development may cost significantly, fall on your shoulders directly, or be left up to the user community at large.

Accessibilitythink about who is going to use this system. Will they find it intuitive? How much training will they need before they can use the ERP system to its full potential? What about ongoing maintenance and customization to your unique business components?

Accessibility also means permission. Can you easily segment who gets to see what in the system or is it a free for all with the data available?

When evaluating ERP for start-ups, make sure to get plenty of demos that include your company workflow. If possible, get an NDA in place so you can see that workflow in real-time with your own data. This will give you the best picture of what is possible and how transactions, projects, and reporting progress within any given ERP solution.

Who to consider as a partner when Evaluating ERP for Start-Ups

If you’re currently Evaluating ERP for a start-up, this information is probably quite intimidating. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through the process alone. Vendors, consultants, value-added resellers, industry peers, investors and stakeholders all have a vested interest in your success.

Consider what it means to partner with an experienced implementer and reap the benefits of streamlined project methodology, knowing where to avoid pitfalls, achieve quantifiable milestones, and lead to Go-Live success.

Encompass Solutions here to help, let’s talk about where you’re going next.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


Bezlio Interface Enhancements For Epicor ERP

With 6 facilities and over 300 manufacturing employees, the sheer cost of licensing and hardware, as well as the volume of transactions recorded on the shop floor, presented a challenge for Mickey Truck Bodies (Mickey), but Encompass had the perfect solution to enhance their Epicor system: Bezlio! The unique Bezlio interface offers a flexible enhancement to Epicor using “Bezls” that provide the ability to add key features without significant expense. In addition, they are able to use the Bezls from anywhere in their shop, even where WiFi may be spotty.

Bezlio Interface enhancements classify as killer tools when coupled with Epicor ERP

Mickey manufactures all-aluminum beverage bodies and beverage trailers, dry freight, and refrigerated van bodies, emergency vehicles and specially engineered equipment for customers throughout the U.S. and more than 50 other countries. The company operates a national network of full-service Reconditioning/Service Centers and a complete Parts Shop with genuine Mickey Parts as well as parts for most competitive makes and models.

Bezlio Interface: Real-Time Inventory Transfer App

To increase efficiency, Mickey desired an inventory transfer solution to enable users to issue multiple materials to a job from mobile devices. The user begins the process by entering their employee ID, and then inputs the job and optionally the assembly/operation. A list of buttons is presented per the material requirements. Inventory on hand is displayed, and the user can tap or scan the barcode of the warehouse/bin they wish to pull from, indicate the quantity, and move on to the next material. When all inventory selections are specified, the user clicks the ‘Issue Materials’ button, and all transactions are processed in real time.   

Bezlio Interface: Production Labor Transactions On Mobile Devices

The design of the Bezlio interface provides the ability to track production transactions from mobile devices. Users can clock in, clock out, start/stop production activities, and start/stop indirect activities. The end activity screen for production activities allows for the input of completed quantities as well as scrap. When clocked into a production activity with attachments defined at the job level, such as an Assembly Guide, they are presented as buttons that can be tapped to display in a built-in PDF viewer.

Bezlio is a cost-effective solution for using mobile devices to efficiently capture and record shop floor data in real-time. Because Mickey has multiple facilities utilizing Epicor, there is a huge saving on MES user licenses and workstation hardware costs, estimating between $80,000 – $90,000. In addition, transactions from all locations are streamlined and controlled, making data entry and collection easier while simultaneously enforcing critical business rules.

Ready for your business to run with a killer toolset?

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


What does it take to run a marathon? Beyond the shoes designed to perfect a runner’s stride, the clothing that frees movement and creates comfort, a diet of both quick and long-lasting energy, and mental preparation, there’s hours and hours of training, exercise, form drills, cardio, weights and more. All these months and months of hard work build towards an event that lasts just hours. An ERP system can be compared to a marathon runner in many ways.

The ERP System Marathon

Your ERP system is going to be running for more than just hours, yet the marathon runner comparison is worth considering. This is because an Epicor / Encompass ERP system can take things even further. Imagine a runner not only being perfectly trained and prepared for the run ahead but also having the ability to upgrade or change their shoes midstride. Not only this but also clothing that adapts to the weather to protect from rain or temperature. Add the benefit of nourishment to instantaneously energize their body and invigorate their muscles when the miles become tiring.

Planning is just one half of a system built for longevity; adaptation is the other.

Maybe you’re already starting to experience longevity problems with your existing ERP system. Do any of these sound familiar?

  • Your system is no longer supported. The tech is outdated, there are no more upgrades, and IT support is nonexistent.
  • Your company has expanded, grown, merged, or acquired, and your current system can’t scale.
  • Changing costs, goals, or structures necessitate moving funds away from IT systems and into other areas of the business.
  • An inflexible system is not allowing you to offer more or enhanced services or keeps your company from being agile and responsive.

These, in running terms, would be the twisted ankles, the worn-out shoes, the insufficient training, or the bad weather that slows you down. All these detriments can eat away at your personal best time or, even worse, cause you to drop out of the race altogether.

An ERP System To Go The Distance

The tools we create support the business and drive it forward; they don’t serve as a hurdle to be cleared. A solid ERP system with expert implementation will improve your company’s performance across the board with access to accurate data and seamless integration of all of your business’ systems. Combined with flexibility, scalability, and customized solutions, you will be in it for the long haul.

An Epicor / Encompass system is built with both decades worth of experience, bringing the training you need to run the marathon, and the latest technology, pushing you ahead of the competition, over the ever-changing landscape of your business, and across the finish line.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


ERP has been around for almost as long as the internet, pagers and bag phones helping businesses standardize processes, increase efficiency and sales through access to data. Epicor ERP has been able to keep pace with the changing needs of businesses (that bag phone was a little clunky) and has incorporated social business functionality reflecting the way employees are incorporating technology into their personal lives. According to Nick Castellina of Aberdeen Group “organizations that have implemented this approach to ERP saw over twice the improvement in profit margins over the past two years of organizations that have not implemented social ERP.”

The key benefit of Social ERP is collaboration. This goes for organizations that are housed in one building or across the globe. As we all know, Al Gore single-handedly invented the internet but in most cases, collaboration is extremely beneficial to a business. Allowing employees access to data with the necessary tools and infrastructure is the first step to this collaboration. Once employees have the data the next step is to analyze the data (independently and collaboratively) and create a pathway to turn this robust information into a plan that can benefit your business.

Social ERP in Epicor can take many forms including the ability to tag conversations, products, projects, customers, equipment, etc. This collaboration creates a central location where all stakeholders can easily access current information and over time you create a database allowing you to avoid previous mistakes and learn and continuously improve with more efficient processes, higher quality products, and services, better profit margins.

Get-Collaborative-Image

The Benefits Of Social ERP

Here are a few stats compiled by Aberdeen Group regarding businesses that have incorporated Social ERP:

  • A decrease in decision-making time of 28% versus 21% for those without social ERP.
  • A decreasein business processes time of 11% versus 9% for those without social ERP.
  • Met internal schedules 95% of the time versus 90% for those without social ERP.
  • Had employees that exceeded performance metrics 58% versus only 36% for those without social ERP.
  • Over the 2 years these statistics have been gathered, Businesses improved profit margins 19% versus 9% for those without social ERP.

The stats are clear (bag phones were good but smartphones are better). Social ERP increases collaboration, efficiency, and profits. Contact us today about implementing a social ERP solution for your business.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.