ERP for start-ups may seem like a bit of an oxymoron. The nature of ERP is to connect several departments  in a unified information system. This allows you to leverage crucial data to make informed decisions that drive the success of your business. When most people hear those three little letters, they tend to think large scale enterprise, multi-national conglomerate, or global entities. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Small And Medium-Sized Businesses Include Start-Ups

The modern enterprise isn’t a fortune 500 company. It isn’t even a fortune 5,000 company.

In the US There are roughly 17 million businesses with fewer than 500 employees. This number represents 99.7% of all US businesses and almost half of total private sector employment.

With that in mind, it would make sense the market for ERP that speaks to the small and medium sized enterprise is ripe for development. In the last 40 years it has done just that with tremendous effect.

Among businesses surveyed in a 2017 Deloitte report commissioned by Google, the top 20% of the most digitally advanced companies:

  • Earned 2 times as much revenue per employee
  • Experienced revenue growth over the previous year that was nearly 4 times as high
  • Were almost 3 times as likely to be creating jobs over the previous year
  • Had an average employment growth rate that was more than 6 times as high
  • Were also 3 times as likely to have exported over the previous year

Those stats can’t be ignored. However, what were the digital advancements these successful companies used to gain their edge in the market? Here’s how the levels of digital transformation of business is represented among those surveyed:

  • Basic – An email address
  • Intermediate – Website, basic marketing tools, online directories, and third-party marketplaces
  • High – Advanced website, mobile or e-commerce capability, engagement on multiple social media platforms, online marketing channels
  • Advanced – Advanced data analytics and applications for business management and customer interactions

It’s clear a business using advanced digital tools to help their business will perform better than those businesses using only basic or intermediate tools. But what does advanced really mean?

In this case, advanced digital tools includes:

  • Data analytics used to examine characteristics of customers, to inform business decisions such as online marketing strategies or products offered.
  • The ability for customers to make bookings and purchases through online channels, such as enabling payments through the business’ website or use of third-party e-commerce platforms.
  • Digital technologies and tools utilized internally in order to improve business processes or worker productivity (e.g. cloud-based software, video conferencing, corporate social networks).

Epicor ERP For Start-Ups Facilitate Sales Excellence

Let’s start with the first benefit of ERP for start-ups. It’s no secret that sales are top of mind of a start-up.

Whether you are in it for the long-haul or just long enough for get an offer, proving viability through sales is key in attracting investors and securing longevity.

Epicor ERP CRM and Sales Management tools drive intelligent marketing and provide insightful data about what products are and are not moving. Add to this the ability to collaborate with internal teams as well as customers externally through one unified system and you have a recipe for success.

With Epcior Sales Management tools Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your sales team. By giving your sales teams the ability to manage their opportunities and automating administrative tasks, you free up their time to focus on building lasting, profitable relationships. It also enables your sales team to:

  • Produce accurate estimates
  • Streamline your order-to-cash cycle
  • Fulfill perfect orders and ensure high customer satisfaction

Components of the sales management module include:

Estimate and Quote Management – Easily generate and track all customer or prospect requests for quotation (RFQs)—from the time of receipt until an order is placed. Create estimates and get quotes out more quickly with more accurate pricing and lead times with a wide range of powerful tools.

  • Generate accurate and timely estimates and quotes
  • Import data from a variety of customer and system sources
  • Check inventory availability during quote entry
  • Manage the sales cycle with dynamic task lists that ensure the right people are working on the quote at the right time
  • Automatically cross reference customer part numbers to your part numbers during the quoting process

Order Management – Order Management drives the Epicor system. From the time an order is entered, its progress is tracked through final shipment—producing perfect order fulfillment on demand for maximum customer satisfaction.

  • With the Order Job Wizard, generate appropriate jobs for new orders in a single step
  • Check customer credit status online at quote entry, order entry, and shipment entry
  • Using blanket orders, establish multiple releases for each sales order line and pull parts directly from inventory
  • Link sales orders, jobs, purchase orders, field service calls, cases, tasks, milestones, and budget information to manage projects

EDI/Demand ManagementEntrust EDI/Demand Management secures your competitive edge by incorporating electronic data interchange (EDI) with demand scheduling.

  • Get full flexibility and control for setting up customer contracts and handling their schedules in the Epicor ERP system
  • Reduce lead time and effort for planning and procurement
  • With Demand Management, set up contracts per customer with such agreed-upon parameters as pricing, initial demand schedule, and contract end date

Point of Sale – Epicor Point of Sale (POS) extends the power of your Epicor ERP to a customer-facing sales environment—regardless if you need a single POS station or if you’re a multinational chain.

  • Feature-rich system that empowers store personnel to deliver an enhanced customer experience
  • Comprehensive functionality includes electronic gift cards, gift receipting, customized receipt per transaction type, coupon redemption/issuance, layaways, special orders, suspend and resume, item marking for various functions, additional input fields, multicurrency, start/end of day functions, cash management, and more.

Epicor Commerce Connect – B2B and B2C eCommerce are the new norm. Epicor Commerce Connect (ECC) provides your buyers and sales channels with a simple online shopping experience that encourages repeat purchases and sets your brand apart.

  • Launch an attractive, simple-to-use eCommerce site with your own branding in less time
  • Manage only one product database with tight integration into Epicor ERP
  • Simplify channel support by letting your partners make payments on accounts, access pricelists, and place quick re-orders

Epicor Customer Connect – Today’s customers want new access to information. Epicor Customer Connect helps you improve customer loyalty and online commerce.

  • Special promotions and pricelists
  • Enable your customers to make repeat purchases

Startup Growth And Innovation With Advanced Digital Tools At An Affordable Price

Epicor technology is powered by industry-leading innovation and expertise. The software empowers businesses of every size and is modular to fit the needs of a start-ups, no matter their stage of growth. Epicor solutions feature seamless integration with thousands of existing software applications, web-enabled platforms, and fully configurable interfaces and reporting systems.

Utilize the components of Epicor ERP your start-up needs here and now. Add more functionality as you scale, customize the framework to fit your unique business components, and take as much control of your technology as you like with on-premise, cloud, and hybrid deployment options. Mobile solutions can further be utilized to access the system from Windows, iOS, and Android devices.

Epicor ERP for start-ups is designed to be both accessible and affordable for the small business and start-up. Financing, subscription models, and even tax write offs are available for Epicor ERP software purchases.

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.

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.