ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning and simply describes a type of software that business owners can use to manage and update their back-office systems.

An ERP system is designed to manage all the information internally within your organisation, whereas EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) creates a connection between your business and your trading partners, allowing you to exchange electronic documents. Using EDI alongside an ERP system can make a business more efficient whilst making it much easier to communicate with your trading partners and third parties.

The simplest way to think about an ERP system is as a way of integrating all the key functions of business into one complete system. This means that information flowing around your organisation can be streamlined and that employees from different departments can refer to the same database for the information they need to do their job.

Some of the most common ERP modules manage back-office activities such as stock level management, distribution, accounting, marketing, finance and HR.

The benefits of an ERP system

You may choose to implement ERP because your current software, or your own homegrown accounting systems, no longer meet the demands of business.

Some ERP systems allow staff to pull reports without having to manually key in any data or amalgamate their information with data from another department. For example, if management wanted to check on sales numbers, they wouldn’t have to go to the sales team and ask them to manually key in the numbers on a spreadsheet as the ERP system would account for the sales and automatically have them flow into the financial system. Cutting out human intervention also means cutting out a large number of errors and means that orders can be fulfilled faster and more accurately.

The main benefit of effective ERP is having access to all the important business data from one platform and improving the flow of communication throughout your organisation.

What should I look for in an ERP system?

If you’re looking to implement ERP, it’s very important that you choose a system that will support your business both now and in the future. For example, you may want to log in and manage your ERP system on the go, in which case you’ll need to be able to log in to it from any device, including your mobile.

And while it may seem strange to place your data in the cloud if you’re accustomed to using on-premise products, this is definitely something worth considering. With a cloud-based system, your data will be more secure, and you don’t run the risk of losing access, should something happen to damage your hardware in the office.

Integration is another important feature to consider. Integration means that your ERP system will understand EDI messages automatically, without the need for any human intervention. At NetEDI, our software has been designed with integration in mind. Here are just a few of the ERP systems we can integrate with:

• Oracle
• Sage
• Microsoft Dynamics
• Exchequer
• Netsuite and,
• Access Dynamics.

We use a type of technology known as API, or Application Programme Interfaces to achieve a perfect connection between your two systems. With this method, part of your ERP system is left ‘open’ to our software so the two can communicate directly and update in real-time. The connection is fast, accurate and secure.

Looking for more info?

Read our previous blog on Choosing the right EDI System for your business, to find out more about what you need to consider if you want to implement EDI or switch providers. Or you can always use one of the options at the top of the page and speak to one of our experts for a no-pressure chat about your business needs.

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