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Automation: The Game-Changer in ERP Systems for SMEs

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Automation: The Game-Changer in ERP Systems for SMEs

Welcome back to our series "8 Things Your ERP System Should Do".  In this installment, we present a revolutionary way that you, as an SME (small to medium-sized enterprise) can operate: Automation. Automation, through your ERP, is a game-changer.

1. Automated Reordering


Imagine never running out of stock unexpectedly. That's the reality with automated reordering in ERP systems. Your system should have the ability to meticulously track inventory levels and automatically initiate reorders.  The system can be set for predetermined thresholds which balance customer fulfillment with carrying costs. This not only prevents stockouts but also streamlines your inventory management, reducing manual oversight and errors.

2. Financial Reporting and Reconciliation


At the heart of every business is its financial health, and an ERP system provides this with automated financial reporting. Your ERP system should compile data across various modules to generate accurate financial statements like P&L’s, balance sheets and cash flow statements. ERP automation also shines with financial reconciliation, matching transactions across accounts to ensure accuracy and flag discrepancies.

3. Order Processing and Fulfillment


Bid farewell to the manual handling of orders. With automatic order processing, the ERP system captures, validates, and processes orders seamlessly. This reduces errors, accelerates fulfillment, and enhances customer satisfaction - a big score for any SME.  Automatic order entry is found in integrated processes: EDI, B2B, B2C and customer order entry portals. 

4. Integrated Shipping and Tracking


The ERP system doesn’t just stop at incoming order processing. Beneficial automation extends to outgoing needs: shipping, ASNs, generating labels, and tracking shipments. This provides a transparent, real-time view for your customers, keeping them informed of delivery times and engaged in communication with you.

5. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)


CRM in an ERP environment is a powerhouse. Automated lead, prospect and customer management ensures opportunities are not just identified but also nurtured through automatic communication. The system’s ability to track customer interactions, status of quotes and proposals and preferences allows for personalized communication, making each customer feel unique and valued. Automated system communication can be accomplished with minimal effort by sales and customer service personnel.  They’ll then have more time for direct customer and prospect interaction.

6. Procurement


Procurement processes become a breeze with automated purchase order creation and vendor management. This streamlines the procurement cycle and fortifies vendor relationships through efficient, automated processes.  ERP also has significant functionality in AP automation to manage receiving, put away, supplier payment and the three way match.

7. Production Planning


Lastly, the ERP system plays a strategic role in production planning. Material Requirements Planning (MRP) calculates necessary materials based on sales forecasts and inventory levels. Production scheduling optimizes production timelines, meeting demand efficiently and minimizing downtime.

 

Conclusion:

The integration of automation in ERP systems is not just a luxury; it's a necessity for SMEs aiming to stay competitive and efficient. It touches every aspect of business operations, transforming mundane tasks into strategic assets. As we continue to explore the "8 Things Your ERP System Should Do" remember that automation is the thread that ties elements together, weaving a tapestry of efficiency, accuracy, and growth.

We'd love to hear from you! How has automation in your ERP system transformed your SME? Share your experiences and insights in the comments below. Stay tuned for our next topic in this enlightening series!

 

Joseph Timmins

Author