By: Lori Adams
As a small business owner, one thing is for certain – there is never enough time. Time is the most precious resource there is, and there never seems to be enough of it. Once it has passed, it can never be regained. As a small business owner, I often struggle to increase the number of productive hours in each work day to assure the cashflow necessary to keep my business growing.
Optimization and organization are key tools to easing the pressure of time; this is where an ERP solution can help. A cloud-based ERP solution allows owners to be mobile while still maintaining the ability to oversee their “shop”.
I have spoken to many business owners about investing in an ERP system, and I have heard many reasons to avoid it. All the time I am told – “I do not have the capital to spend on an ERP system. I can schedule the shop more efficiently and manage the chaos. I do all the quoting and, the company is not big enough to justify the cost.”
Though these are valid considerations, delaying moving to an automated ERP solution means the owner is limiting the potential growth of their company. At some point in time, the mass of work to be performed will outgrow the working capacity of the owner and key employees, and this is where time play a significant role in the success of the business. When human capital reaches its capacity, mistakes begin to occur. Even if the company were then to decide to invest in an ERP system, the habits that had been formed by the employees would be hard, if not impossible to break.
When is a good time to begin looking at an ERP solution? It is important to recognize and define estimate-to-cash processes that can be automated very early in the growth of a start-up. It can be as early as $500k annually up to $3m in revenue. It is a good idea to let the system grow with the company. A cloud-based solution allows for a lower initial investment of capital, which helps minimize the risk. Additionally, a cloud-based solution eliminates the need to purchase and maintain a server, as well as employee IT specialists. The capital saved from investing in an ERP system can then be reallocated to other areas of the business.
It is important to understand all of the features that a cloud based ERP system is capable of providing. The most important features are generally Estimating, Engineering Design, Material specifications, Shop Floor Planning, Build instructions, Shipping, and Invoicing. Generally speaking, A/R, Payroll, and A/P can stay in Quickbooks or Peachtree. Since most small business owners wear many hats, look for solutions that can free-up your time as well as critical staff’s time.
If you are a business owner looking to find more time in the day while managing the capital outlay, a cloud-based ERP system can be a perfect solution for you. If you have any questions, or if you would like to learn more, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.