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Most Popular ERP Features

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As the business world becomes competitive, companies are looking for any edge they can get. One way to stay ahead of the competition is using an ERP system. ERP brings all departments to one system. It helps you automate and streamline core business processes. It also enables you to improve collaboration, gather real-time insights, and become more efficient.

The best ERP software even enables you to automate business processes in compliance with local laws. But with so many options available, how to choose the best ERP? What features should you look for? That’s what we will answer today! In this article, we'll discuss the most popular ERP features and how you can use them to your advantage.

What are the Basic Features of ERP?

Here are the basic yet powerful and popular ERP features. 

  • Centralized data management

  • Real-time visibility 

  • Human resources and payroll

  • Inventory management

  • Customer relationship management

  • Security

  • Financials and accounting

  • Business intelligence

  • Supply chain management

  • Project costing management

Let’s dig deeper into each basic feature of ERP. 

1- Centralized Data Management 

One of the key features of ERP systems is centralized data management. All the data from the various business processes are consolidated into a single database. This provides a real-time view of the entire business to make more informed decisions. Another benefit of centralized data management is that it helps with better data analysis. With all the data in one place, it is easier to identify trends and patterns. This makes it easier to make decisions and improves efficiency across departments.

2- Real-time Visibility

Another key feature of ERP systems is real-time visibility into all aspects of the business. This means authorized users can see the data from all the different business processes in one place. This provides a complete picture of the company, which can be used to make better decisions. Real-time visibility also allows for better collaboration between different departments. It will enable employees to share information and work together more effectively. 

3- Human Resources and Payroll

Human resource and payroll management are critical for any business. They help ensure everyone is paid what they deserve. The system also makes it easy to monitor employee information such as their employment history, skills, and other personal information. You can track their hours worked, vacation days, benefits received, and more. 

4- Inventory Management

The inventory management feature of an ERP system is an essential part of any business. It helps track inventory, manage it and maintain a record of all your products in stock. The inventory management feature of an ERP system offers a lot more than just keeping track of your inventory. It also allows you to perform many other tasks:

  • Manage orders and keep track of them

  • Control your stock, so you have exactly what you need at any time

  • Manage inventory across multiple locations or divisions in the same company

5- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Customer Relationship Management CRM in ERP helps manage your customers throughout their lifecycle. It is a central repository for all customers, including their contact information and inquiries. You can also track their orders, quotes, and payments. In addition, you can use the information to understand their buying behavior, needs, and expectations. This helps build long-term relationships, upsell opportunities, and increase retention. 

CRM also includes tools for automating marketing and sales processes, such as lead management, campaign management, and opportunity management. For instance, you can trigger emails based on their actions on your website to increase engagement. In addition, you can generate customer base analysis to identify hot and cold leads so you know where to focus your efforts. 

6- Security

Security has become a critical factor for businesses of all sizes. Hackers are always looking for that one backdoor that gives them access to your sensitive information. However, if you are worried about ERP security like most companies, you don’t have to. 

Modern ERP systems employ multiple security measures, such as encryption, role-based access control, and multi-factor authentication. But at the same time, irrespective of whether you choose on-premise or cloud-based systems, security must always be at the top of your mind. 

You might argue that providers are responsible for keeping your cloud ERP secure, which is true. They have security systems in place to protect against cyber attacks. However, you must educate your employees on keeping their systems secure. Here are some tips.

  • Use role-based access to ensure only authorized users can access sensitive information.

  • Implement multi-factor authentication (if available).

  • Use unique passwords, possibly a combination of numbers, letters, and special characters.

  • Educate employees regularly about password policies, internal security protocols, identifying phishing attempts, and what to do when an event occurs.

If you use an on-premise ERP solution, follow these tips. 

  • Implement multi-factor authentication.

  • Use unique passwords, possibly a combination of numbers, letters, and special characters.

  • Update the software and security patches as they become available.

  • Educate employees regularly about password policies, internal security protocols, identifying phishing attempts, and what to do when an event occurs.

  • Implement data encryption, both at source and in transit.

  • Monitor the system constantly to mitigate risks.

  • Create an incident response team to respond quickly.

7- Financial Management and Accounting

Finance and accounting features are crucial when choosing an ERP system. Your business needs to track financial information such as sales revenue, expenses, and profits. Accounting software allows you to keep track of your finances in real-time so you can make better decisions about future growth opportunities.

The finance module of an ERP system contains several other features as well:

Some of the key features of the finance and accounting module include the following:

  • General ledger: The general ledger is the central repository for all financial data in the system. It consists of all accounts, transactions, and balances within a company and its subsidiaries. 

  • Accounts receivable: It tracks customer invoices and payments. It also has features for managing collections and issuing refunds.

  • Accounts payable: It tracks supplier invoices and payments. It also includes features for managing supplier discounts and payments.

  • Financial reporting: The financial reporting module provides standard and custom reports. Reports can be generated for specific periods and exported to other applications for further analysis. 

  • IFRS reporting: IFRS or International Financial Reporting Standards are a set of accounting rules to make a company’s financial statements consistent, transparent, and easily comparable globally. Thus, your ERP must help you with IFRS-compliant accounting for all business transactions.

  • Cash flow management: It helps monitor and manage cash flow to ensure that a business has enough money to meet its financial obligations. This includes forecasting cash flows, monitoring actual cash flows, and taking corrective action as needed. 

  • Fixed asset management: This feature allows businesses to track their fixed assets, such as buildings, equipment, or machinery. It also allows them to keep track of depreciation expenses incurred by these assets over time.

8- Business Intelligence

BI converts raw data into insights that can help inform and improve business decisions. An ERP with built-in BI can track and analyze data to identify trends, optimize processes, and improve performance. 

And it makes sense. BI can help ERP users make more informed decisions about utilizing resources best and managing operations by providing visibility into data from all business areas. It also enables you to identify trends and patterns in customer behavior so that you can optimize your offerings.  

9- Supply Chain Management (SCM)

Supply chain management in enterprise resource planning (ERP) helps manage the flow of goods and materials throughout the supply chain from procurement to production to delivery. This includes managing the inventory, transportation, and warehousing of goods and materials.  ERP systems integrate all these functions into a single system to provide a 360-degree view of the supply chain and enable real-time decision-making.

The supply chain management module in ERP also allows you to create an inventory plan based on previous data and forecasts. You can then use these insights to determine what quantity of products to order and when you need to reorder them again.

10- Project Costing Management

The project costing management module in ERP software provides a comprehensive view of project costs. It offers a complete picture of project spending, enabling users to track and control costs at every project stage. The module also allows for the creation of cost-effective project budgets and provides powerful tools for analyzing and reducing project costs.

For instance, you can generate project estimates vs. actual cost reports to identify areas you have spent more money. Then, use expense tracking to identify where you are spending so you can identify cost-cutting opportunities. You can also generate a project's cost and revenue structure to determine profitability.

Bottom Line

There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to the most popular ERP features, as the needs of businesses vary. However, some of the most commonly sought-after features include inventory management, financial management, CRM capabilities, and business intelligence. Therefore, when choosing an ERP system, it is essential to carefully consider the specific needs of your business to select the right solution.

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