Global competition and the rise of Internet based companies have forced enterprises both on and off-line to strive for quicker deadlines and faster production and performance, all in the hope of meeting higher and higher customer expectations. In this increasingly complex environment, full of economic instability and change, the key to being successful in both the short and long-term is to keep business functions as simple and streamlined as possible.
Regardless of whether the company is well capitalized or exists within the confines of a limited and tightly controlled budget, accomplishing this kind of streamlining is desirable. In addition, as smaller businesses continue to grow and expand, business elements become more and more complex and interconnected. This makes it more difficult to communicate effectively and makes disruptions more common, usually following a period of growth.
The need for more funding and more resources to accommodate spurts of growth results in various departments and specialties within a business begin to function separately in many ways. Information becomes isolated and somewhat exclusive to the individual department, causing other employees to feel separated from the heart of the business as they become bogged down in administrative tasks. In the end, the bottom-line of the company suffers.
Enterprise Resource Planning systems, or ERP systems, have become a reliable answer for companies of any size hoping to deal with these issues to become more cost-effective, streamlined and responsive entities.
What is ERP?
ERP is a system of software management that brings together the processes of an entire business, integrating all these functions together and facilitating communication throughout the company’s many departments and disciplines. The individually customized ERP software unifies the supply chain within a company, connecting suppliers with customers and balancing out the supply-and-demand aspect of the business. It also aids a business in making practical and dependable decisions based on proven models.
ERP also improves the productivity and customer service of a business by fully integrating across the company, including finance and purchasing; product development and manufacturing, operations and logistics, sales and marketing and human resources. By pulling all of these varied aspects of the business into a connection and communication with each other, ERP helps companies to lower their operating and production costs while also increasing their profitability.
ERP and marketing companies
While a vital and competitive sales and marketing department is vital to any business, it become particularly necessary when the company is a marketing company in and of itself. ERP software not only integrates the varied parts of the marketing company, but also includes a module geared toward sales and marketing.
ERP software records the activities of the marketing company, beginning with the initial contact of prospective and current customers, as well as other pre-sale activities, followed by comprehensive tracking of customer orders. ERP software also allows aspects such as expenses and assessments of competitors to be automated. It also assists with contacting customers, following-up on sales and receiving invoiced payments.
ERP software also features a target setting, allowing the management of the company to keep track of the performance records of their personnel, monitoring achievement and rewarding it in turn. This encourages the marketing department employees to strive for success at work and to have more purpose in their daily activities.
ERP and online firms
Using web servers and databases for data storage and management is old hat for most online-based marketing firms. Even “brick-and-mortar” firms with websites have at least some grasp and utility with planning and organizing through online services. For many, however, their logistics operations have been left to function under old models.
Software offers online firms a unique opportunity to assist them in not only mapping out and coordinating all of their business processes, but will also allow them to construct potential scenarios using data from across the scope of the business, feeding it into the program and playing it out to its projected outcome. This allows a marketing business to make more informed and long-term choices for their business and for their clients, while also taking into account short-term goals.