Dinah McNav, the ERP Agony Aunt, answers the problems and pressures faced by businesses everywhere. This letter comes from a frustrated Finance Director who can’t get no satisfaction from her multiple business management systems. But how can she let them down gently and get the one system that’s right for her?
Over the last few years I have been in a series of long term relationships with a number of different systems.
While they each satisfy at least one of my needs none of them are able to fulfil all of my business requirements.
I wish I could combine the best parts of each of them but that’s just not possible.
I have been in these relationships for a while and all this toing and froing is starting to tire me out.
I need to be a one system girl now but I don’t know how to let them down gently. Can you help me find the perfect partner?
Miss Alliance, Finance Director
Dear Miss Alliance,
There’s no need to panic, this is something I’ve heard time and time again.
It usually starts when you meet an average entry level accounting software at a trade fair, you like the look of each other, arrange to meet them and then you hook up.
After a few good years together, building your business and understanding each other’s limitations, you soon realise that something’s missing. As you see your competitors moving on, you start to feel you are being left behind and realise that the system is no longer pushing the right buttons for you.
Instead of calling it a day with your existing accounting software, you try and fill the functional gaps with a variety of different systems. But you’re just fooling yourself and they’re only going to compound the situation.
What you really need is a fully integrated system that allows you to do everything you need in one place. Imagine being able to manage all of your business functions in one database, from finance, sales & marketing and inventory management to manufacturing, retail & wholesale, and warehouse management.
Miss Alliance, it’s time to stop dreaming about it and take the plunge, because what you really need is an ERP system. If you want to find out more, read this explanation of what ERP is, why you need it and when you’ll know you need it.
ERP, which stands for Enterprise Resource Planning, integrates all the departments and functions across your business into one single system that serves all of their particular needs. It will support you financially (and emotionally), giving you peace of mind and, most importantly, growing alongside you without falling apart at the first sign of pressure.
A close friend of mine, let’s call her Mrs X, had a fling with an average accounts package, the relationship hit the rocks when one day the system crashed for no apparent reason leaving her lost and under pressure to pay the bills. Then she met Microsoft Dynamics NAV and they’ve been together for 5 years! It met her needs and her customers love the results it gives.
If I could leave you with one piece of advice, Miss Alliance, it’s this; if you do decide to make a change, don’t fall in love with the first ERP that comes along. There are perfect solutions out there that have specialist knowledge of your industry sector.
Understand what you need from the relationship, write down a list of the must-haves and the nice-to-haves for a new system. Don’t be afraid to play the field a bit before you make a commitment, do some proper research and have some no-strings-attached chats with your potential partners. If you feel there’s a connection and they understand your specific needs, then go for it!
I understand that it’s a hard decision to make but trust me, if you don’t make the change to an ERP system it could have serious consequences to your business.
Hope that helps,
Dinah McNav, ERP Agony Aunt
Wholesale / Distribution
Not for Profit
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