Running a business starts tough and only becomes more complex with time, which is why you need custom ERP or enterprise resource planning software to help you throughout your journey.
- Ever wondered what ERP is or how its software works?
- Not sure whether your business can benefit from a custom ERP system?
- What if you don’t know how to set up a custom ERP for your brand?
Each of these difficulties can be tough to overcome by themselves. While 81% of ERP projects produce high ROI for companies, that leaves 19% of ERP projects that could go off the rails if you don’t know where to start! A less-than-stellar ERP platform could cause you to waste a lot of time and money, leaving your business in jeopardy.
Fortunately, we’re here to help. We know everything there is about integrating complex ERP software tools and other software solutions into existing tech stacks and architecture. We also know what goes into designing and implementing a custom ERP solution that works specifically for your brand and its unique needs.
In this article, we’ll break down what ERP software is, why it’s so beneficial, and how you can design and implement a custom ERP solution for your brand in no time. Let’s begin!
Enterprise Resource Planning Explained
In a nutshell, enterprise resource planning is a type of software or tech solution that helps organizations manage their business operations and day-to-day procedures. Depending on the ERP platform you use, it might offer tools for or help you accomplish tasks like:
- Inventory management
- Logistics management
- Employee management
- And more
If you design and use the right enterprise resource planning system, you can see a variety of benefits like improved productivity, better collaboration, superior customer service, and faster decision-making. All of these will help your business serve its customers better than ever before and scale up to become bigger over time.
Most ERP platforms include some common features and tools, such as:
- A common database that lets businesses centralize the information from across different departments or sections
- Automation tools, which frees up extra time for your workers and speeds up order processing, invoicing, etc.
- Data analysis tools, which allow you to better understand your business and your customers
- Integration with third-party software solutions
- CRM or customer relationship management. Many ERP tools come with CRM modules that allow you to track and manage customer data for better customer interactions and loyalty
- HR modules and tools for handling employee management and onboarding tasks
- Supply chain management modules, which help you with manufacturing, logistics, and distribution tasks so the flow of goods never stops
At its core, every ERP platform is meant to optimize, streamline, and automate business processes to boost your profitability and improve your overall operational efficiency. It’s in your best interest to make and integrate custom ERP software soon – more than 53% of businesses look at ERP as one of the most important sectors for future investments.
Types of ERPs
Depending on your needs, your brand can build one of several types of enterprise resource planning software solutions. The most common types of ERPs include:
- On-premise ERP, which lets you control everything since it’s based at your business’s physical location
- Cloud-based ERP, which is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution. You and your team members access the ERP from afar
- Hybrid ERP, which includes elements from both of the above types
- Open source ERP, which is free and inexpensive, but isn’t custom-tailored to your business’s exact needs or specifications
Each of these ERP platform types could be what your brand needs depending on your goals. For example, a cloud-based ERP might be ideal if you don’t have the infrastructure, space, or resources to build and maintain the architecture necessary for a full enterprise resource planning platform. However, this requires giving up control over your ERP to a third party (not necessarily a bad thing if you trust that party).
And on-premise ERP, on the other hand, is one that you build and totally control. This is more possible if you have extensive resources you can devote to such an approach, though it does require you to maintain the servers and hardware associated with your platform in perpetuity.
Any ERP platform type could work for your brand. Take a hard look at your needs and resources to come to the right conclusion.
When Do You Need a Custom ERP?
If you haven’t built a custom enterprise resource planning system before, you might not know that you need this software. However, you can look at your business and how it performs to determine whether a custom ERP system is something you can benefit from.
Good signs that you need a custom ERP include:
- Your current software tech stack isn’t letting you grow or hit your objectives, especially as you scale your brand. This could be because of tech limitations, increased visitor traffic, or something else
- You have a lot of disparate systems that don’t play well together. This can happen if you start with a very small company and gradually add new tools to the mix. Eventually, however, those tools need to be able to function more completely with each other
- You aren’t meeting customer expectations. A well-designed, custom ERP solution could help your brand function smoother and more efficiently than ever, helping you deliver better products and services to your target audience group
If you notice one or all of these signs, looking into a custom ERP could be a wise choice.
The Benefits of a Custom ERP for Your Business
In addition, a custom enterprise resource planning system could provide your business with many different benefits, especially over the years to come. If your brand is looking to expand and scale up, possibly into a global business, a custom ERP could provide advantages like:
- Higher business agility/scalability. The larger your business grows, the more you’ll need a software platform that can grow with you. Excellent enterprise resource planning systems can do just that, expanding and growing alongside your brand to provide increasing assistance
- Faster, more efficient business operations. By tying all of your tech tools together and letting you plan your enterprise’s resources from a centralized dashboard or platform, you’ll be better able to leverage your growing business’s people, processes, and materials to accomplish truly great things
- Improve customer satisfaction. Naturally, by providing better products and services, your customers may also provide you with better reviews and an overall superior brand reputation. In the long run, this can help you bring new customers to your brand, driving a positive feedback loop where you make more money and build your loyal customer base simultaneously
- Better employee productivity. In keeping with the above, enterprise resource planning systems oftentimes result in better employee production records and task times. By giving your employees the tools they need to thrive, your brand will achieve greater heights
In essence, a custom ERP could be what your business needs to stick out in a competitive market and reach its maximum potential. Given this fact, there’s no reason not to consider designing a custom ERP soon, especially if you have a little extra cash to spare.
How to Build a Custom ERP
To build a custom enterprise resource planning system for your specific business, you’ll want to keep these steps in mind and follow them closely. By following these steps, you’ll ensure that your eventual tool solves all of your business’s needs and is highly usable by each of your core employees.
Define Your Requirements and Tech Stack
First, you’ll want to carefully define the requirements you need from your ERP software. For instance, if your company currently struggles with logistics and supply chain management, it’s a no-brainer to include some comprehensive, robust supply chain management modules in your new software solution.
You’ll also want to take into account all the tech solutions and software programs you currently use to solve problems. That’s because, ideally, your ERP system will integrate perfectly with those other software solutions or programs. The last thing you want is for your “collaborative” system to not play nice with other programs or tech tools.
You’ll also want to define more personal requirements, like:
- Who needs to access the ERP system? Is everyone in your business or just managers? If it’s the latter, a good security system or two-factor authentication login protocol is a wise idea
- Should your ERP platform be easy to navigate through and intuitive? If that’s the case, you’ll want to double down on an easy-to-use interface that everyone in your company will feel comfortable using
- How much time and money can you devote to the ERP’s development and implementation? This could be a big project for your business, so answer these questions before contracting a development team
Consider Mobile Use
As a side note, determine whether your ERP system needs to be used via mobile devices, not just desktop computers. That’s because mobile interfaces can be drastically different from their desktop counterparts.
A mobile ERP interface needs to be smaller and load just as quickly as a desktop interface, without having nearly as much space or computing resources to do so. A desktop-only enterprise resource planning system may allow your business to take advantage of higher power processes or tools, but it sacrifices flexibility and team agility in doing so.
Again, either approach – a mobile-friendly ERP or a desktop-only ERP – can work. You should just decide which you wish to build. That way, your custom enterprise resource planning system is truly tailored to your business’s requirements.
Work with an ERP Development Service
By far the most important step in this process is to pick and work with the right partner. A good enterprise software developer and service or web development team can make all the difference in the overall outcome of your project and whether your ERP system is truly worthwhile.
Even better, good developers can even update legacy programs and software to make sure it works with your modernized ERP solution. Because of this, you should contact an ERP development team before you get into the nitty-gritty of platform coding, programming, or other development aspects.
Ideally, your ERP development team will:
- Have plenty of experience in enterprise resource planning software development
- Know how to integrate your existing tech stack into your new, crossroads software
- Be able to account for your business’s limitations or requirements
Ask a team about these topics before hiring them. It takes a little extra time but will guarantee that your eventual ERP system is well worth it for your business.
That’s why many brands trust Flatlogic. Our experienced web development specialists can help you launch your project faster than ever with scalable architecture and thoughtful interfaces that your users – whether they are frontline employees, supervisors, or both – enjoy.
Blueprint Your UI/UX
Now it’s time to draw up a blueprint of your UI or user interface and the UX or user experience. Both of these will affect:
- What your ERP look and feels like to use
- How easy your ERP is to use for your employees and others
- How well your ERP works with the third-party programs mentioned above
That last point is especially crucial. For example, if you are making an ERP platform for desktops at your business, odds are your developers will use Swift, Objective-C, C++, or C# based on your operating system and other factors.
Working with knowledgeable programmers and web development experts should solve this, however, as they will already know about this hurdle and take steps accordingly.
Note that, of course, if you plan to develop a mobile-friendly ERP platform, the user interface needs to also work for mobile devices. This could require a little extra time and testing on the part of your development team, but it may very well be worth it overall for the extra functionality and accessibility it will bring to your business.
Integrate Your ERP Modules
Once your ERP system is well into development, you should integrate your ERP modules with third-party tools.
For instance, your business probably uses Office 365. Skillful developers can integrate it with your ERP system by using different APIs to access data, display into your ERP software, and more. Or, maybe you need to be able to quickly access PDF documents. A PDF SDK (software development kit) allows you to process PDF documents directly within your existing workflows and software applications, so it could be a fantastic third-party integration to keep in mind when designing your custom ERP.
Think of this as a good trial run to ensure your enterprise resource planning solution works with your existing business digital infrastructure/architecture. Each ERP module added to the overall system needs to be tested both individually and in conjunction with the other modules, especially if those modules are meant to interact with each other frequently.
That’s not all. Your development team then needs to test your ERP modules with the above-mentioned legacy software or existing tech stack programs your business uses. Everything must work seamlessly for your enterprise resource planning platform to truly be a success.
Review and Revise
Once your development team is ready, it’s time to launch it across your company, review the program, and revise it as necessary. ERP systems oftentimes require some iteration and editing after initial launch; after all, you won’t know exactly how the program works or if it accomplishes everything you need it to until after it’s up and running.
You can take feedback from your employees based on its functionality, ease of use, and other factors, then use that feedback to improve the ERP system across the board. Think of your custom ERP platform as a project your development team continually iterates on and maximizes.
Ultimately, a custom ERP could be just what your business needs to take off and reach its true potential. It will centralize your resources, let you plan major operations and projects better than ever, and give your employees the tools they need to leverage all of your tech stack tools together like never before.
Flatlogic is here to help, and we can handle a variety of the development services you need, ranging from web development to UX/UI development and more in the pursuit of your perfect enterprise resource planning platform. Contact us today!