PART 1 – INTRODUCTION
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is an integrated solution developed to help organisations manage and automate core business processes for optimal performance. The software coordinates the flow of data between a company’s business processes and streamlines operations across the enterprise. It can encompass a company’s financials, supply chain, operations, commerce, reporting, manufacturing, and human resources activities on one platform, providing a comprehensive and unified view of the organisation’s processes.
For instance, ERP systems come in especially handy for organisations that tend to be bottlenecks in the supply chain. Monitoring supplier performance, tracking inventory levels, and identifying opportunities for optimisation of the procurement process is made easy. In addition, businesses can use ERP software to analyse financial data, be it sales, expenses, or revenue, to identify areas for cost reduction and revenue growth.
In the past, ERP systems were standalone suites that worked separately. However with advancements in technology, ERP software now integrates different processes together in one fluid system, allowing for data connectivity within your ERP system, e-commerce, productivity tools and even customer engagement solutions. This integration enables businesses to link all their data for better insights to help optimise their processes across their entire business.
In Singapore, ERP software is especially useful for businesses with multiple departments that operate independently as it offers a centralised platform to access data and optimise processes. Furthermore, ERP systems can also automate key functions such as human resources, inventory management, accounting, and supply chain management, allowing companies to improve efficiency and minimise costs. This contributes to greater productivity and profitability as businesses can now focus on their core competencies. In terms of adaptability, modern ERP systems are now designed to be modular and customisable, enabling companies to choose the components that are most relevant to their requirements, and gradually integrate additional modules as necessary. This article will take a deep-dive into ERP software.
PART 2 – ERP SOFTWARE IN MODERN DAYS
2.1 Main characteristics of ERP system
ERP systems have become a crucial tool for organisations that are looking to boost their efficiency and profitability. Businesses can leverage these solutions to better manage multiple core processes, upon system integration. The main characteristics of ERP systems are very much different from other software solutions. In this section, we will list out four key characteristics of ERP systems to help you better determine whether the system is the right solution for your needs.
1. An integrated system
An ERP system should be an integrated system, linking to all aspects of a business’s operations, ranging from sales, finance, supply chain and manufacturing, to name a few. It ensures that all connected departments can access the same data in real-time, eliminating the need for manual data entry, reducing errors and promoting productivity. This also provides businesses with greater visibility into their operations, allowing them to make data-driven decisions to achieve operational efficiency. Looking to equip ERP solutions in Singapore? Seeking professional assistance from experienced providers is highly recommended.
2. Operates in (or near) real-time
An effective ERP system is also determined by its capability to operate in (or near) real-time. Data should be continuously updated and accessible even as changes occur. Accurate, up-to-date information enables businesses to make timely decisions and respond quickly to market trends. This optimises processes, improves performance and enables organisations to stay ahead of the competition.
3. Consistent modules
“Consistent modules” refers to individual modules that feature a similar interface and functionality across the system. An ideal ERP system should have this characteristic. This ensures all users, regardless of their role or department, can navigate the system with ease and perform their tasks in an effective way. Specifically, Sage 300 ERP software, an integrated business management solution, also consists of consistent modules that work together seamlessly in a unified system. These modules include financial management, project and job costing, purchasing, sales, inventory management, customer relationship management, and human resources. By leveraging Sage 300 software, businesses are able to enter information into one module and have it automatically updated in other modules that rely on that data. They can add or remove modules as needed without disrupting the overall system.
4. Multiple deployment options
A number of deployment options are expected to be made available in an effective ERP system, including on-premises, cloud-based, or hybrid deployment, to allow businesses to opt for one that best suits their needs and budget. Refer to the different options below to better understand how each one works:
- On-premises deployment
A traditional approach that encapsulates installation of software on servers located within the organisation’s premises.
- Cloud-based deployment
Hosts the system on a cloud provider’s servers that can be accessed through the internet.
- Hybrid deployment
Involves a combination of on-premises and cloud-based deployment to support businesses.
2.2 Core features of ERP software
ERP software is used to integrate and automate multiple business processes in an organisation. It comes with some core features that ensure optimal functionality. Read on to learn more about these features:
Integration paves the way for better communication and collaboration between departments, which ultimately boosts productivity and efficiency. This is made possible when an ERP system is incorporated in various business processes and functions across different departments and sites within an organisation.
ERP software automates inventory management, billing, order processing and other business processes, minimising manual errors and increasing productivity. In the context of Sage 300 ERP adoption in Singapore, automation occurs with several features built-in. These include but are not limited to automated workflows, scheduled tasks and batch processing. Not only do they eliminate the need for manual intervention, these features can also support automation of more repetitive tasks.
Businesses can use ERP software to generate reports that provide valuable insights into different business processes and functions. With these reports, managers can better understand the current and potential market conditions, leading to better decision-making processes.
As one of the most important features of an ERP system, tracking helps managers determine potential issues and make adjustments to enhance efficiency. Here are some ways in which ERP systems help with tracking:
- Inventory Tracking
By using ERP systems, businesses can keep an eye on their inventory levels in real-time, maintaining optimal stock levels without stockout issues. Apart from that, they can help trace the movement of inventory through the supply chain.
- Project Tracking
Monitoring the progress of a number of projects simultaneously can be challenging. Adopting ERP systems helps businesses review timeline, resource allocation, and budgets, ensuring greater project tracking effectiveness.
- Financial Tracking
ERP systems provide visibility into financial data such as expenses, revenue, and cash flow. As a result, businesses can track their financial performance and make informed decisions.
5. Data analysis
ERP software analyses vast amounts of real-time data, including production data, sales figures, and customer information. This analysis helps managers to make predictions about business prospects. It also allows businesses to forecast problems that might arise, identifying appropriate actions to tackle the issues.
6. Financial management
When it comes to financial management, ERP systems are a must-have. Firstly, ERP systems offer a single, centralised source of financial data. They present the financial health of businesses transparently and review all the latest financial transactions and account balances. Secondly, ERP systems can also be used to ensure compliance with financial regulations and standards, including GAAP or IFRS, helping to automate tax reporting and clarify financial reporting requirements. Last but not least, cost control is another capability of ERP systems. The software can help businesses identify areas of inefficiency and waste, enabling them to reduce costs and improve profitability. In Singapore, PSG ERP can be applied by eligible firms to adopt pre-scoped, pre-approved IT solutions in a more cost-saving way, without compromising work productivity and digital capabilities.
An ERP system can handle various financial functions, such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, and general ledger accounting. In this way, accurate financial reporting and compliance with regulatory requirements can be achieved. Furthermore, streamlined accounting processes reduce redundancy and errors.
8. Customer relationship management
Customer relationship management (CRM) is an essential component of ERP systems. Businesses are able to track and streamline sales processes, as well as manage customer interactions. The main benefit businesses can gain from CRM lies in developing targeted marketing campaigns and improving customer satisfaction, through provision of insightful data.
The adoption of ERP systems has gradually been growing in the manufacturing industry, thanks to its capabilities in optimising production processes, tracking raw materials and planning production schedules. For local small and medium-sized businesses looking to achieve business intelligence, the Sage 300 in Singapore makes for the ideal solution. It supports inventory management, and project management, ensuring a smooth manufacturing process.
10. Sales and marketing
With integrated sales and marketing tools, an ERP system helps organisations boost sales revenue. This is contributed by ERP systems’ capabilities in tracking leads, evaluating customer data, and managing campaigns. When businesses possess insight on customer preferences and current market trends, they can come up with suitable marketing strategies to improve customer satisfaction and attract new customers.
11. Supply chain management
Supply chain management is another critical area that an ERP system can support. By providing visibility into the supply chain, an ERP system can help organisations in the following aspects:
- Supplier Management
Businesses can leverage ERP systems to manage their relationships with suppliers, trace supplier performance and deal with supplier contracts.
- Order Management
ERP systems keep track of order fulfilment, manage returns and handle refunds, without the inconvenience of complex management processes from different platforms. This in turn reduces order errors, leading to customer enhanced satisfaction.
- Logistics Management
Additionally, ERP systems can help businesses manage transportation and logistics operations by tracking shipments, managing transportation costs, and optimising shipping routes. All of which are vital in improving delivery times.
12. Human resource management
An ERP system automates HR processes such as benefits administration, payroll, and performance management. It can help organisations reduce administrative tasks and improve accuracy. With an ERP system, HR teams can also track employee data, manage training programs, and monitor compliance with labour laws and regulations.
2.3. Business functions that can be optimised with ERP software
In our highly competitive landscape today, businesses need to constantly optimise their processes to stay ahead of the game. ERP software can be a powerful tool in achieving this goal. The next part of this article will explain how the software can optimise a wide range of business functions.
Besides providing financial visibility and control through integration of all financial operations, ERP software can also improve accuracy and efficiency by automating financial processes. These include invoicing and payment processing.
With ERP software, businesses can manage their commerce in a more effective way. Management of sales channels such as physical stores, e-commerce websites and online marketplaces is made possible by integrating them into a single system. A central location ensures streamlined sales processes and well-consolidated commerce data.
3. Human resources
With regards to human resources (HR), processes such as onboarding, employee recruitment, performance appraisals and benefits administration can be streamlined by ERP systems. Thanks to the software, HR teams are provided with a centralised platform to manage employee data, ensuring compliance with labour laws and regulations, as well as improving data accuracy.
4. Supply chain
Supply chains are highly valued as they encompass all the core activities involved in the production and offering of goods and services, from sourcing raw materials to delivering finished products to customers. ERP systems optimise inventory management, improve procurement, enhance logistics, manage supplier relationships and monitor supplier performance. While deploying the systems may be a hefty investment for some SME owners, it is beneficial and saves costs in the long run. Start looking for a PSG pre approved vendor today to seek financial assistance and professional advice.
Manufacturing processes often involve activities such as quality control, production planning and more and an ERP system is capable of optimising these processes and enabling businesses to facilitate efficient manufacturing operations. Moreover, appropriate data-driven decisions can be made by businesses, backed by an ERP system. This data can be obtained from various sources and here are some of them:
- Production processes
Data on production processes including production rates, inventory levels, and quality control measurements.
- Customer data
Customers’ buying patterns and preferences, as well as other data on customer behaviour provides insights for businesses to come up with better targeting and segmentation.
- Financial performance
Analysable financial data including expenses, revenue, and profitability improves financial decision making processes.
PART 3 – GETTING TO KNOW SAGE 300 CLOUD, SAGE CRM AND SAGE EASYPAY
3.1. Sage 300 Cloud
3.2 Sage CRM
Developed to help small and midsize businesses optimise their customer experience, Sage CRM is a cloud-based customer relationship management solution that comes with integrated modules for sales and marketing automation, customer service, help desk, and social CRM, to name a few. Highly versatile, configurable and customisable, Sage CRM provides a number of key benefits:
- Helps with targeted marketing by providing detailed insights into customer demographics.
- Boosts sales by automating the sales process and providing real-time insights into customer interactions.
- Provides email marketing capabilities and mobile access for businesses to stay connected with customers.
3.3 Sage Easypay
Featuring a user-friendly interface and powerful tools, Sage Easypay is a HR and payroll software solution, specifically catered to the unique needs of larger organisations and multinational corporations. The main function of Sage Easypay lies in optimising HR processes in real-time through employee self-service modules. It is developed on a set of best-in-class human resources practices and functionality. By incorporating this solution in your HR workflow, boosting productivity and business performance, as well as lowering the costs of ownership are made possible. Below are some of the benefits Sage CRM offers:
- Ensures compliance with local legislations
Deploying Sage CRM helps ensure compliance with local legislations related to HR policies and processes. With built-in features, HR managers can keep track of various legal requirements such as employment contracts, statutory leave entitlements, and tax regulations.
- Automates HR policies and processes
HR managers who use Sage CRM can create workflows and automate routine tasks, from performance management, employee onboarding, to remunerations monitoring. This streamlines HR operations and saves time.
- Reduces HR’s burden of the manual routines
Manual routines can now be handled by employees on their own, once Sage CRM is deployed. Self-service portals and automated workflows, among other functions, free up HR staff to focus on more strategic tasks and initiatives.
- Eliminates unnecessary human errors
Sage CRM can reduce human errors such as missing deadlines or inputting wrong data. Automating routine tasks and workflows through the solution improves data accuracy and efficient HR processes.
- Improves data security
Thanks to its built-in security features such as role-based access controls and data encryption greater data security is empowered. Sage CRM protects sensitive HR data from unauthorised access or breaches.
3.4 Questions you may have
1. Should I invest in ERP systems?
ERP implementations can be costly but the investment is often worth it, especially for businesses that need to streamline their operations. ERP systems like psg grant accounting software can save time and money for businesses by automating tasks.
2. How long should an ERP system last?
Most systems last five to 10 years and there isn’t a standard time frame for upgrading your ERP. Understanding the reasons for the upgrade will ease your decision-making process.
3. What is the biggest challenge of ERP implementation?
Data conversion can be one of the most pressing challenges of ERP implementation. In terms of hardware, purchasing new servers, workstations, and other items may result in additional costs and configuration headaches.
Due to the rapid evolution of technology, the need for ERP software is likely to remain in high demand. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are some of the potential future developments in the field. By leveraging AI and machine learning, ERP systems will continue to improve when it comes to automation, prediction, and personalisation capabilities. More accurate forecasts, insights, and decision-making support, through processing large amounts of data can also be expected.
Meanwhile, cloud-based solutions will grow in popularity, enabling businesses to have access to their ERP systems from anywhere, without the need for on-premise infrastructure. Furthermore, the Internet of Things (IoT) will allow connected devices to gather data and feed it into an ERP system, providing a comprehensive view of a company’s operations in real-time. As for blockchain, secure and transparent transaction tracking will be made possible across the entire supply chain, from raw material to final product delivery.
As a whole, the future of ERP software looks bright, contributed by continued innovation and advancements in technology that allow businesses to obtain more powerful tools for streamlining operations and boosting growth. In the coming days, ERP systems will become more intelligent, connected, and secure, providing businesses with the competitive advantage they need to thrive in the digital age.
Acsolv Consult is an ERP software provider in Singapore. Our services include software customisation, user training and others. As the only award-winning software company specialist in Sage 300 Accpac, we are always ready to help you enhance operational and financial efficiencies. Get in touch with us now to get a service quotation.