A growing problem for today’s consumers is one you may have experienced yourself: “choice overload” or “overchoice.” In his comprehensive article, author Adrej Kras defines choice overload as having to choose from too many product or service options, which results in “decision fatigue, sticking to the default option, or even avoiding making a decision.”
Kras goes on to explain that decision-making—especially if it’s a complex situation—can strain our brains. Our default is to try and simplify the situation by making a quick, possibly emotional selection in order to end the ordeal. Thankfully, if we’re familiar with, knowledgeable about or have a strong opinion on a product or service we’re choosing between, we have a much easier time making a wise, fact-based choice.
With this in mind, we at NexTec Group decided to help alleviate the pressure of choosing the right ERP solution for your business. There are an abundance of ERP systems on the market, each one making similar promises, and determining which of the many solutions will work best for your company is a major challenge and a perfect example of overchoice.
To simplify the decision, here are the ten core ERP features you should be looking for in a new ERP solution:
1. Finance and Accounting
Making sound financial decisions is at the root of success. But without a robust financial management tool, your ability to effectively manage your assets, income and expenses is limited.
The right ERP solution must offer powerful financial management software that streamlines your financial operations, automates and customizes workflows, helps you remain compliant, and offers personalized reports and dashboards that stem from a connected, centralized database. You should be able to view your financials—whether your business operates across a single site or multiple sites, in one or multiple countries or utilizes multiple currencies—from a single, integrated system. And the right ERP solution should also offer a wide selection of robust financial modules, including:
- General Ledger
- Accounts Payable/Accounts Receivable
- Cash Management
- Currency Management
- Fixed Assets
- Time Management
- Advanced Expense Management
- Bank Feeds
- Project Accounting
- Payroll Management
- Reporting, Dashboards and Data Analysis Tools
- Mobile ERP Applications
2. Inventory Management
Managing inventory is a complex process, yet it can be simplified with an ERP solution with integrated inventory management software. Inventory management software helps you control your material, labor and costs while also providing clear visibility into inventory levels. It also enhances your ability to fulfill customer orders, returns, credits and exchanges, and enables you to manage complex inventory items.
An ERP solution should offer a healthy list of features—from replenishment, location management and shipments to inventory valuation, perishable inventory and lot/serial traceability (and so much more)—that are designed to make your inventory management an uncomplicated, efficient process.
3. Sales Management
For customers, the service provided during a sales transaction can make or break their loyalty to you and your business. An ERP’s sales management module provides you and your team with product, pricing, discount, carrier and more information that you can access quickly and easily while working with customers. The capabilities of sales management software include but are not limited to:
- Product configurator, options, and variants
- Sales commissions
- Quotes, contracts, and open orders
- Order preparation, deliver, packing, and shipping
- Invoicing and reminders
Like sales management software, CRM software or customer relationship management software enables you and your team to respond swiftly to customer needs as marketing, sales, billing, finance and customer data reside in the CRM’s centralized, real-time database. With CRM, you have the information and insights you need to make the customer’s journey with your business a frictionless experience, from beginning to end. Plus, you can offer your customers a self-service, online Customer Portal that gives them unrestricted access—any time and from anywhere—to their information as well as the ability to adjust their account or connect directly with your organization.
Whether you’re a make-to-stock, make-to-order, engineer-to-order, project-centric, job batch or repetitive manufacturer, you require manufacturing management software that lets you control and automate your manufacturing and production processes from a single dashboard. The right ERP solution should provide BOM planning, shop floor, quality control and project management features along with advanced manufacturing features, like material requirements planning (MRP), advanced planning and scheduling and estimating. If you choose the right software, the benefits include operational insights, faster fulfillment and improved quality, which add up to reduced costs, increased profitability and satisfied customers.
BI or business intelligence software is a tool that helps you gather vital business data from multiple sources, analyze it via external analysis tools, like Power BI, and report on it using at-a-glance views. With detailed information, you can identify trends and inefficiencies, pinpoint profitable vs. unprofitable products and make data-driven decisions that affect the health of your organization today and tomorrow.
7. Supply Chain Management
The global supply chain is under immense pressure due to the pandemic, inflation, recession and global unrest, putting tremendous stress on businesses like yours. You’ve struggled to get the materials and resources you need to produce your products and then distribute them to your customers, but with supply chain management software within a comprehensive ERP solution, you have the features you need to manage supply chain activities, including purchasing, inventory, sales, logistics, distribution and tracking. You also have all of the supply chain information and complete control of your operations from a single solution.
A WMS or warehouse management system streamlines warehouse operations and transactions. Utilized by businesses within the commerce, wholesale, manufacturing, retail and other industries, a WMS delivers complete warehouse control, from performing inventory counts to automated picking processes. The right ERP solution should provide the following key features:
- Paperless, directed picking with mobile devices
- Wave or batch picking capabilities
- Automated packing, shipping labels and documentation
- Customer notifications
- Stock turnover and movement
- Carts and totes
- Role-based dashboards
And progressive warehouse management systems offer distribution side panels that allow users to access vendors, items and order details for complete visibility into your entire operation.
9. Traceability and Recall Readiness
Recalls are an unpleasant fact of life for any business, and the ERP solution you choose must provide you with complete traceability and recall functionality that tracks at the lot and serial level throughout the entire supply chain. With this functionality, you should be able to execute a recall in a short amount of time, log the information into the system and generate notification letters to all stakeholders. The features you should be looking for include full traceability, mock recalls and comprehensive product holds.
Finally, the ERP solution you choose should be based in the cloud. As a Cloud ERP system, it can be accessed via any web-enabled device (e.g., Android and iOS smartphone and tablet devices), which means every team member has real-time visibility into business processes and can access business management capabilities from wherever they are, whenever they need. In addition, the ERP solution should deliver an intuitive browser experience that allows for role-based personalization. With ERP mobility, employees in the office, on the road, at home or in the field have everything they need at their fingertips.
Let NexTec Consultants Optimize Your Business with the Right ERP Solution
As a national consulting group specializing in industry-specific technology for almost 30 years, NexTec can help you find the perfect Cloud ERP solution for your business. Our consultants are Sage X3 and Acumatica experts who understand your unique challenges and are dedicated to providing clear information that will help you make an informed buying decision.If you’d like help optimizing your business from a quality implementation partner, contact us right now. We’d love to chat and to set up a free demonstration.