Over the last several years, businesses of all sizes have been taking advantage of the increased availability and decreased cost of creating custom software. These custom business solutions are not only able to help increase the productivity of your business, but the scalability and depth as well. One such solution is custom ERP development, which helps organizations to better plan their processes and systems.

With this article, we are going to give you a beginner’s guide to custom ERP development in order to give you a better understanding of how developing this sort of system can benefit your business. Our hope is that you will see that even though you may have a small business, you can still take advantage of cutting-edge technologies that can revolutionize your business. Let’s get started.

Enterprise Resource Planning

First, we need to lay out exactly what we mean when we talk about ERP or Enterprise Resource Planning. ERP software is a key tool for managing production, order processing and inventory. Additionally, it monitors business resources between stakeholders, such as revenue, materials, orders, staffing, and manufacturing capacity. All of this is done in a single interactive database management system with built-in analytics and dashboard.

For many years, ERP systems have been the backbone of larger corporations, allowing them to scale their operations without sacrificing efficiency. On the other hand, custom ERP development has been too expensive for small businesses to take advantage of until recently, leading many to opt for off-the-shelf solutions to try and get the job done.

Next, we will take a look at both custom ERP development and off-the-shelf solutions to better understand the options available to small business owners.

Off-the-shelf solutions

For smaller businesses that for a long time haven’t been able to afford their own custom ERP development, off-the-shelf solutions have served as a way to still gain the benefits of an ERP system without breaking the bank. Since off-the-shelf solutions are built to serve a larger audience than a custom solution, they are often less expensive and feature-rich.

Unfortunately, these same benefits are why off-the-shelf solutions can be deceptively counterproductive. For instance, while businesses are able to get the features they need, they often are paying for far more features they will never use. This has led some companies to have multiple ERP systems to manage all the necessary tasks.

Custom ERP development

Now, in direct contrast to off-the-shelf systems, we have custom ERP development. Obviously, going custom has much higher initial costs, but one of the common misconceptions is that you can earn a better ROI by getting an off-the-shelf solution. In reality, if you invest early in an all-in-one solution built just for your business, you will save more money down the road and be working with a better system from the start.

The other common reason why businesses don’t use custom ERP development is that they see it as too involved for what they need. This comes back to cost: small businesses can’t afford to invest in something that doesn’t have clear benefits for their business. However, this is exactly why you should consider custom development.

When you have the ability to specify precisely which features you want to include and what processes you want to automate, you are saving time and money that would otherwise be spent on licensing costs and development of superfluous features. Instead, with a development team, you get to decide exactly what you want.

Benefits of developing an ERP system

If you can’t already tell, we are huge proponents of using a custom ERP system to maximize the efficiency of your organization. However, there is still a lot of resistance to developing custom solutions, so we want to further support our argument by taking a look at the benefits that a custom ERP system offers.

Transparency

When you opt for a custom ERP system, instead of having to compartmentalize your data by department, you can have one central data center accessible by everyone in the company. This can serve to eliminate time spent trying to find the right information that you need, as well as reduce the amount of errors that come with sending data back and forth between parties.

Those familiar with blockchain development will be able to tell that ERP systems will only benefit from more blockchain solutions on the market. In the same way that your ERP system will house all the information in one place, blockchain can take things a step further by encrypting this info and ensuring that only registered users have access.

Decision-Making

The transparency of a custom ERP system can also greatly benefit the decision-making process for your business. When everyone on your team can come to a meeting on the same page and has access to the same information, you are able to not only make better informed decisions, but you can make them in significantly less time than with older systems.

Gone are the days of long meetings and unnecessary exchanges. Now, you can run an Agile development project through your custom ERP system to save you company both time and money.

Productivity

While we have mentioned this repeatedly in this piece, it bears repeating that custom ERP development can boost the productivity of your business across almost all processes. This obviously makes sense, as when your team is able to better communicate and prioritize their work, the more efficient they will be in getting things done.

But it should also be said that when your team feels like they are contributing to something that affects the entire organization, they are more inclined to put in their best effort. While it would be irresponsible to say that simply adopting a custom ERP system can revolutionize your business, it can give you the tools you need to do it yourself.

How to know when you need an ERP system

Finally, the last area we will examine is how to know when you need an ERP system and what steps come next when you do. Here are a few instances where custom ERP development should be seriously considered:

  • Inventory or supply chain inventories become difficult to determine.
  • Sales forecasts are based on guess-work more than data.
  • Orders surpass capacity and can no longer be handled on just a spreadsheet.
  • When finding customer data becomes a chore.

If you find yourself experiencing any of these scenarios, it may be time for you to invest in an ERP system to help maintain and automate these processes.

Final thoughts

Once you have realized that there is a need here to be filled, the next step will be to decide whether you want an off-the-shelf ERP solution or a custom ERP development. We hope that you will take into consideration our argument for using a custom system, but the choice will eventually come to you.

The final thought we will leave you with is this: do you want a solution that solves some of your problems or one that was built just for you to solve all of your problems? The answer really may be that simple.