The humorist Erma Bombeck once offered a famous bit of travel advice, saying, “When you look like your passport photo, it’s time to go home.” We often see this sort of painful self-reflection in our business consulting practice. There may come a moment when you realize your company isn’t functioning right. Your business resembles its passport picture, so to speak. It might have looked great at some point, but now, there’s a lot of room for improvement.

What can you do about this? In our experience, there’s almost always more than one factor at work when a company isn’t living up to its potential. Organizational challenges may be affecting operations. Competition is heating up and it seems so hard to mount much of a response. Whatever the issue, however, technology, such as modern Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) software, is a big part of the solution.

With that in mind, here are ten signs it’s time to consider adopting ERP:

1. You rely on QuickBooks as your ERP

There isn’t anything wrong with QuickBooks for a small business, but the software is not suited for much in the way of complexity or growth. ERP gives you greater depth of operational and financial management features. It can handle multiple locations, entities and regions. ERP solutions also enable sophisticated supply chain management, manufacturing management, inventory management and more.

Learn more in How Is ERP Different from Online Accounting Software Like QuickBooks?

2. You’re using spreadsheets to run your business

If you’re keeping track of sales orders and projects on Excel, you need ERP. Spreadsheets limit growth by making people unproductive and prone to errors.

3. You’re struggling with accounting tasks

If keeping track of payables, receivables and invoicing is taking too much time, you need ERP. To grow, your company has to have efficient accounting operations. ERP solutions provides automated accounting workflows and integration with related systems, like inventory management, to keep things moving along at a growth-friendly pace.

Learn more in Top Financial Management Features in ERP.

4. You’re using a patchwork of localized solutions

Are you running separate, unconnected software applications for inventory, logistics, shipping and accounting? This common scenario creates duplicative work, where people have to rekey information from one application into another. It also creates room for mistakes, where people in the warehouse may not be aware of sales orders and so forth.  

5. Your systems are slowing your growth

Have you lost an order, or even a customer, for systemic reasons, e.g. it took too long to generate a price quote, or your software didn’t show the correct product data? Sales growth and customer satisfaction today come, in part, from rapid, accurate delivery of quotes, order updates, confirmations and the like. A modern ERP solution offers these capabilities.

6. Your people don’t know what’s going on

Are your employees struggling to keep up with day-to-day operational details, e.g. they’re running around the office trying to locate bills of lading, invoices, customer quotes and purchase orders? A unified ERP solution with an intuitive user interface keeps people connected to accurate business data in real time.

7. Your customers are not being well-served

If deliveries are late or your field service people are arriving at appointments without parts and instructions, to name just two examples of sub-standard customer care, software may be to blame. Even with the best of intentions, it can be hard to keep customer service and field service functioning properly without systemic support.

8. Your cash flow management is not optimal

Cash flow management mirrors business management, to a great extent. If you find yourself with unwelcome cash flow surprises, they may be due to sluggish or under-featured systems that cannot generate timely and accurate data on accounts payable, deliveries and procurement.

9. You experience stock-outs and over-ordering

Without full-featured inventory management software, which is contained in modern ERP solutions, you will likely disappoint customers by running out of requested goods. Alternatively, you may use up cash ordering inventory you don’t need.

Learn more in 5 Benefits of Inventory Management in the Cloud.

10. You don’t have data to make decisions

Making sound business decisions requires having accurate, up-to-date data. Without a coherent, integrated ERP solution that spans your entire business, you are likely to struggle with reporting and data visualization.

Do any of these issues seem familiar? Maybe you are starting to resemble your passport picture. Your competitors may not have such problems. It might be time to look into ERP. We can help, offering insights into how ERP can fit within your operations and align with your strategy.