Many small to medium sized businesses (SME’s) have grown their systems organically over time to address specific issues as they develop. They often begin with an entry level accounting package such as Sage Line 50 or Quick Books and begin adding a database or two to manage stock or CRM, a spread sheet for purchase planning and so on. A reliance on Microsoft Excel is rife in most organisations and whilst it is a good tool for analytical work it is often prone to error when the data gets too big or complex.
This means that today, many SME’s end up running multiple non-integrated systems to manage their day to day operations. For a growing business this can often lead to issues such as silos of inconsistent information across the company, a heavy reliance on manual processing of information, often entering the same data multiple times into different systems (in some cases this could happen as much as 7 times from enquiry to delivery), a reliance on key individuals and their knowledge of the systems they have created and a lack of management visibility across all aspects of the business.
These issues often lead to poor decision making based on inaccurate data, lower customer satisfaction and a poor utilisation of resource with staff spending too much time managing keeping systems up to date instead of doing the job they are employed for. This limits the organisations growth and prevents them from reaching their potential.
So, how do you address these issues?
Companies are now turning to more integrated solutions such as SAP Business One, business systems designed specifically for SME’s to cover all aspects of the organisation in a single solution. These systems allow data to flow from one operation to the next with a single point of data entry and without the need for re-keying. This means that the organisation is able to benefit from a single view of the truth, the ability to automate standard processes and develop common ways of working across the company relying on the best practice already built into the system. It gives the key decision makers visibility across the organisation allowing them to make qualified decisions based on quality information, all leading to higher customer satisfaction and a more effective utilisation of resources.
By replacing their multiple point solutions Sheffield based SME, Duro UK, was able to increase sales by over 20% whilst reducing held inventory by 15%, all within 12 months of moving to the new system. They significantly reduced reporting time and were able to free up senior management time to focus on driving the business forward.
Chesterfield based SME, Talar Made ltd, has seen a significant reduction in purchase planning time, a reduction in expedited orders leading to higher margins and a significant improvement in picking accuracy which has improved customer service and allowed the business to grow the business with no additional staff required.
What could an integrated system do for your business?