Will Your Business Keep Up In 2017?
Construction is expected to grow in 2017. A range of factors, from millennials looking to purchase new homes to expectations about infrastructure spending under the Trump administration, are pointing towards growth.
This is good news for the building materials industry, as long as businesses can scale quickly to meet demand. Slow movers will get pushed aside as customers go to vendors that consistently have inventory in stock and deliver orders on time.
So what’s the difference between companies that can scale and companies that can’t? It comes down to business software. If a company’s ERP system already has difficulty processing orders, tracking inventory, and billing customers, an increase in sales will only make those problems worse.
If you’re unsure of how scalable your system is, here are three characteristics to look for.
Do more with less. A scalable ERP system lets companies increase workload without increasing headcount. Automation is a perfect example. Software should be able to take over time-consuming, manual processes: running reports, printing forms, and reconciling data. This reduces errors, improves productivity, and lets employees focus on more complex tasks. The ERP system should also provide good business intelligence tools. Digging into performance data helps find and repair weak points in an operation, or identify and replicate successes.
Manage your data. When sales increase, a business’s software must process more transactions, account numbers, work orders, catalog items, invoices, and deliveries. In short, there’s a lot more data in the system. Scalable ERP software performs smoothly even as the volume of records grows. There should be plenty of tools for refining searches so they only deliver relevant information. The behind-the-scenes business logic should efficiently process requests. Users shouldn’t have to waste time waiting for a search to complete or sorting through a huge list of results.
Expand your operation. Scalable ERP systems handle multiple locations seamlessly and according to a company’s unique business practices. For example, branches could be set up as independent units for accounting, but share inventory data for combined purchasing. New branches should be able to come online quickly with minimal set up. Using a cloud-based SaaS solution instead of a locally hosted one makes a huge difference. Roofing supplier SRS uses a cloud-based platform that allowed them to open 99 locations in just six years. (Read more about it here.)
All ERP systems should perform reliably under typical conditions. Scalable ERP systems help businesses grow under extraordinary conditions. When the market is booming, a company’s software either accelerates growth or holds it back. If you want to prosper, make sure your ERP system is an asset and not a liability.