Do you ever find yourself looking out the window, trying to decide if your front lawn looks as nice as your next-door neighbour's? Because you see your lawn every day, it's tough to be objective.
The same can be said for assessing your business processes. When you've followed the same processes for many years, they become ingrained. You might even think "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". But somewhere in the back of your mind, you probably know there are things you could do to run your business more efficiently. So how do identify the areas of opportunity? Be brutally honest about what's working...and what isn't.
The Impact of Running Your Business on Spreadsheets
It's natural for small and mid-size businesses to rely heavily on spreadsheets in the beginning. It's a low cost, easy-to-use tool. Until it isn't. At a certain point in your growth, managing the business on spreadsheets becomes...unmanageable. The sheer volume of spreadsheets is a problem. But the effect is cumulative when you think about the time it takes to maintain them and the lack of visibility into key information. Here are a few questions to help you understand the impact on your business.
Does your business revolve around spreadsheets?
Do you have an accounting system? If so, do you have to extract information and dump it into spreadsheets to do all of your "real" analysis?
Do you and your staff spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about whether your spreadsheet links are broken?
Does each department use their own niche or homegrown applications to manage their day-to-day activities? If so, can key personnel from other departments access the data in these systems?
Can you create company-wide budgets and forecasts? Or can you only do this at the department level because your data is tied up in disparate systems?
Can your salespeople check real-time inventory levels in your inventory management system? Or do they have to walk into the warehouse and see what's on the shelves?
When your salespeople accept an order, can they see how much of your current inventory is already committed to other customers?
Do your sales and support teams have visibility into customer account status? Or do they have to regularly call your accounting team to check on payment status?
Do your field technicians have access to the complete buying history they need to upsell products and services effectively?
Does your management team have a complete picture of all your costs and margins?
Have you ever optimized your selling prices? Or are they based on educated guesses about "what the market will bear"?
Does your IT staff spend far too much time rigging up integrations between your departmental systems?
Do your customers ever express frustration with their experience?
How did that exercise go? Most people uncover at least a few areas where spreadsheets and disparate systems are impacting their efficiency – and their bottom line.
How Can an ERP System Improve Efficiency?
If even a few of these questions made you shift uncomfortably in your swivel chair, it's time to consider the move to an ERP system. The increase in efficiency can be seen almost immediately. Some of our customers have seen time savings of one hour per day - that's an average of 260 hours (or 32.5 days) over the course of a year.
As one of the top ERP partners in North America, we've helped many other growing companies get off spreadsheets and take their business to the next level of growth. We're here to guide you through the process – right from evaluation, through implementation and beyond.
Share this Post:
Stay in the Know!
Join other SMEs who receive our monthly ERP insights, tips and best practices.