The primary advantage of single ERP system usage is “single point of control.” A single software system is the primary source for your manufacturing company. One ERP system allows you to streamline your business processes by providing a single location for all data. It also makes data maintenance easier and serves as the primary source for data entry in one, central location.
As the “single point of control” for your data, the use of one software system eliminates duplicate data entry. Customer, inventory, formulation, production history, and lot and batch control updates are processed once with real-time transactional posting. Compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, for instance, is simplified. You can maintain a verifiable audit trail for your financial reports and reduce bookkeeping time by eliminating data that does not match in multiple systems.
There is a basic software truism: “No matter how hard you try, data in two places will eventually be different.” Never is this more applicable than with the use of more than one software system. As the sole recipient of all data, a single ERP software system avoids this scenario. Information entered in one location will always be the same.
Consistent data allows for simple research and reporting through one ERP system. Comprehensive reports can be run to deliver cross-promotion opportunities that allow you to reduce stale inventory, reuse equipment, or leverage purchasing power. From these accounting reports and summaries, specific transaction details can be investigated.
Training is less complicated with a single software system. Users adjust to one “look and feel” of a system, as opposed to conforming to several different landscape designs and controls. Users also learn only one set of new business practices instead of two or more, depending on the number of software systems in place. This conserves time and effort during the training process.
One software system means one vendor. This prevents the “not my problem” syndrome that occurs when vendors pass their software issues off to other software systems. Instead of wading through a number of sources, only one support team is responsible for addressing your system feature questions or data conversion issues.
Your system support problems are fewer with a single ERP system, as maintenance is lower. Rather than juggle the support of several systems, technical personnel handle regular updates and a back-up method for only one software system. Network issues, such as system interaction with network infrastructure, are kept to a minimum.
In addition to lower maintenance, single systems are easier to upgrade, too. Multiple software systems conflict when one system is updated and no longer works correctly with other systems. These differences are eliminated with single ERP system upgrades.
The more software systems one utilizes, the more associated costs are generated. Referring to the adage, “It is more expensive to maintain linkage than to create it,” it is far more expensive to support multiple software systems than a single ERP package. Utilizing several systems typically requires high overall implementation costs, including adaptation to your IT environment, user training, and integration with other corporate software, in addition to the cost of the system itself.
In the end, ERP is all about process control. The most common point of failure for ERP software is where it links to other systems core to ERP processes. Removing the bolt-ons used by integrated ERP and developing all the tools in a single solution reduces the customer’s risk of failure and removes the traditional clumsy workarounds caused by multiple systems welded together, ensuring process controls are adhered to 100% of the time.