Leaving behind the familiarity of QuickBooks and spreadsheets might seem like taking off the training wheels of your business. However rudimentary, QuickBooks got the job done and for the most part, grew your company to where it is today. But that’s not enough. There comes a time in every manufacturer’s life when they realize that cobbled together spreadsheets, scheduling whiteboards and a QuickBooks program are not enough to meet the growing demands of your business and your customer requirements.
The QuickBooks path is common for young businesses. It begins with spreadsheets and a manual whiteboard to manage production, and as the company grows and matures, a reliable accounting package such as QuickBooks is integrated into the mix and possibly even an inventory management system. What you now have is silos of information that do not provide a complete picture of what is happening in your plant. Not only do you need to meet the growing customer demand, now you need to manage and maintain three different systems.
Benefits of an ERP Solution vs. QuickBooks
Unfortunately, there is a limit to how far QuickBooks can take you and eventually, it no longer becomes about maintaining your company with multiple software systems in place, but rather taking the business to the next level. You need a new business management solution. This is why so many people invest in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. An ERP software system increases visibility throughout the whole company, allowing for quicker decision making and more opportunities to grow the business.
Single Data Platform
With ERP, gone are the stacks of spreadsheets and buried alive number crunchers who have to input duplicate data! Comprehensive ERP software serves as single data storage for all aspects of your business by integrating CRM, financials and production all in one place. With automated workflow tools, you don’t have to wait on other departments to bring you batched information to upload – your ERP software can automatically update inventory levels, sales orders, capacity planning, production reports, the master schedule and much more.
Unlike QuickBooks, ERP software is fully scalable and will grow with your business, rather than limit the number of users you are allowed. QuickBooks has been known to have functionality issues as more concurrent users sign into the system.
Optimize Shop Floor Resources
ERP software is designed to keep your shop floor running at the most optimal levels. For example, powerful ERP software can automatically load your schedule, taking into account material constraints, BOM complexity, WIP processes, tooling conflicts and priority orders, while simultaneously evaluating the resources required to meet demand and allow for unplanned events.
ERP software can optimize your batch quantities through minimum and maximum run sizes, multiples of designations and time fences to eliminate unnecessary teardowns and resets and optimize production runs. With the ERP software’s real-time, automatic production monitoring module collecting data at each work center, you can catch and respond to defect issues before they require costly re-runs.
Business Activity Monitoring
An ERP system’s business activity monitoring capabilities can notify you if you begin running out of a particular inventory item or if one of your production lines fails. It can also introduce business intelligence capabilities to your business’ day-to-day operations, with forecasting tools, SPC analysis and dashboards tailored to your needs.
Quality and Compliance Management
If you manufacture for an industry that is heavily regulated and requires you to meet certain quality standards, an ERP system can greatly assist in that area too! With lot and serial traceability, audit tools, electronic signatures and document control, ERP software systems are invaluable with audits and high level compliance. ERP packages come in various levels of sophistication and price.
Choose Your ERP Solution Wisely
There is a next step out there for every QuickBooks user, but you are cautioned against taking too small of a software leap. ERP software is a long term investment, not just in software cost, but in employee training and business practice effectiveness. Look to the future and choose a package and a provider that can grow with your business.
Moving away from QuickBooks and into an ERP software system will give you the confidence in your data that you never once felt. By eliminating those training wheels, you can rely on one platform that allows you to make accurate and timely business, and meet growing demands from customers. Choosing a great ERP provider will leave you wondering why you didn’t make the switch sooner.