What is an ERP system? And why should anyone care to use it?
If you are already convinced you need an all-in-one system for your organization, you can skip this page.
Today, small & medium sized businesses (SMEs) are not so different from large/enterprises. The SMEs face similar complexities as a large businesses do, but have limited resources to deal with such complexity.
Small businesses (like their bigger counterparts) have to:
- do accounts to keep track of sales/ purchases
- pay taxes to the government
- pay their employees
- manage deliveries within promised timelines
- deliver quality goods and services
- communicate with customers, answer queries And generally try to keep everyone happy.
Large enterprises have been able to invest 100s of millions of dollars in very sophisticated systems such as SAP. Systems like SAP are able to handle requirements from such large enterprises to bring their multi country, multi company, multi currency, global businesses into a single platform. This has helped them achieve consolidation of data / records related to basic process such as accounting, taxation, payroll, reporting and supply chain to name a few.
In contrast to large enterprises, SMEs have been left out of the 1st wave of digital revolution (1995-2015). The main reason for being left out is because they dont have the $ power to license, hire programmers and customize such software to match their needs. Systems like SAP have been no-go for most SMEs. Such systems need a minimum CAPEX or OPEX layout of $100k (Yes, One Hundred Thousand Dollars) and upwards. Even with cloud offerings (Software as a Service, SAAS) from such vendors, there is no easy Do It Yourself (DIY) people can feel confident about.
So even today, small businesses continue to struggle to keep things organized. They often use a mix of applications and tools such as spreadsheets, accounting softwares, web based CRMs to manage their day to day record keeping. As a consequence, they have to access different systems to understand customers master data, sales, cash flows or profitability. The information exists in silos. The data is hard to combine to get useful insights or alerts. As a consequence, SMEs are reactive instead of being proactive in their day to day operations. With such a constrained way of working, there is limited scope for growth.
ERPNext addresses some of the above fundamental problems of: * affordability : It is a Free & Open Source Software, freely available to download, install * completeness : All necessary modules are covered Full List * customizability : Easy to add fields, or to add more features * efficiency : Computing requirements are relatively low (cheaper to host and manage) * wholesomeness : One system & one database that allows multiple users to record transactions or extract data, simultaneously.
What is ERPNext?
ERPNext is a full featured business management solution that helps SMEs to record all the business transactions in one system. Further, SMEs can use it to make informed, fact based, timely decisions & remain ahead of the competition. It serves as the backbone of a business to add strength, transparency and control to your growing enterprise.
Among other things, ERPNext will help you to: * Track all invoices and payments. * Know what quantity of which product is available in stock. * Identify and track your key performance indicators (KPI’s). * Identify open customer queries. * Manage payroll. * Assign tasks and follow up on them. * Maintain a database of all your customers, suppliers and their contacts. * Prepare quotes. * Tracking your budgets and spending * Determine effective selling price based on the actual raw material, machinery and effort cost. * Get reminders on maintenance schedules. * Publish your website.
And a lot lot lot more.
Is ERPNext only for SMEs?
ERPNext could be used by SMEs as well as large enterprises. There is no known limitation or performance issues. So far it has scaled well. We know of several retail chains in Africa and a highly regarded equities trading company in India (with 1000+ employees) that uses ERPNext.