We've collected some of the most frequently asked questions as it pertains to ERP software for the chemical distribution and manufacturing industry. Have additional questions? Let us know!
What is ERP software?
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is a dedicat
ed management system that seamlessly integrates business operations and helps improve productivity.
Many firms nowadays have some form of automation in place for their operational or financial needs – but often these systems operate as standalone processes and do not talk to each other.
An effective ERP not only streamlines processes but enables users to manage different parts of their business centrally. It typically consists of many different components, including finances and accounting, customer relationship management (CRM), demand planning and forecasting, and inventory management.
Datacor’s ERP is a cohesive and comprehensive solution that allows for informed decision making by providing access to essential data – whenever, and wherever, it’s needed.
Intuitive and easy to use, ours offers tools and functionality specific to the needs of the process manufacturing and chemical distribution industry.
What are the signs your chemical business needs ERP software?
A successful business relies on being able to collect and utilize its data and documentation. From invoices and sales orders to inventory management and regulatory compliance, keeping on track of everything is vital.
Tried and trusted manual processes such as completing piles of paperwork or filling in Excel spreadsheets can only go so far. These methods are often cumbersome and time consuming, and are also notoriously tricky to navigate and manage.
That’s why more and more companies are instead switching to fully integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.
ERP provides a holistic solution, collating information from every part of a business and seamlessly linking systems and users. Rather than having to access multiple files across different platforms or wasting hours on repetitive processes, an ERP provides a single, unified source of data – reducing errors, saving time, and allowing decisions to be made far more quickly, effectively, and efficiently.
How should you evaluate ERP software?
Just as your business is completely unique, so too is enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.
There are many different versions available from different vendors but it’s important to make your selection based on the features, functionality, and level of support you’ll receive. This is an important investment for your business so be pick an ERP that supports both where your business is today and where you expect it to be in next 10-15 years.
When evaluating any product, be sure to check the supplier’s history, background, and reputation. Consider the features you need and whether the product can be integrated with other systems and adapt as your business evolves.
Think about ease of use and the training/onboarding offered by the vendor. And lastly, consider whether the technology is reliable, widely used, and well supported.
Remember, an off-the-shelf solution aims to support businesses of all sizes and may not meet your unique requirements. While certain things are expected of any ERP, and most do them pretty well, some functions may perform better than others.
Where ERPs really diverge in terms of quality and performance is when they focus on the nuances specific to an industry. There are chemical nuances built into inventory, procurement, fulfilment, and reporting metrics for different regulatory and compliance needs. For the typical small to mid-size chemical manufacturer, Datacor is the right choice.
What are the different deployments of ERP software?
Selecting the right ERP software for your business is only half the challenge – you also need to decide how best to host and access the software.
Decide on your business’ specific requirements and whether you have the technical expertise internally to provide support and carry out maintenance/updates. Consider the sensitivity of the data you handle and whether you need to retain complete control onsite.
There are three main deployment methods, and each offers its own advantages and challenges:
On-premises ERP provides the most secure option, with all data and installations based at your site. Although you retain full control over your hardware, servers, and information, it is your responsibility to configure, maintain, and update the systems and infrastructure internally – which can prove expensive.
Cloud or web-based ERP, however, is an increasingly popular alternative. This requires an ongoing subscription to the services rather than buying the software outright. This cloud-based option is easy to install across your network and support is accessed remotely, whenever and wherever it is needed. This option also allows updates and new features to be installed automatically when available. However, bear in mind that the vendor will have access to your company’s data.
The third option is a hybrid of the two, incorporating the benefits of cloud-based technology while allowing the user to retain more control.
Who are the typical users in your company of ERP software?
From accounting and payroll to production and distribution, an effective ERP will touch every part of your business, no matter its size.
With an ERP, the accounting department, for example, can automate key tasks and manage customer accounts, process and track payments, and manage costs.
Sales and support staff can instantly access customer details from one place – including purchase history, inventory and supplier information, annual trends, business opportunities and new products.
Logistics teams can also accurately control inventory levels and optimize and automate the supply chain to improve processes and efficiencies.
Data collection via an ERP allows for analysis and provides valuable insight so that leadership teams can quickly make better informed decisions.
Properly integrated software will connect teams and systems to ensure the seamless transfer of data and information throughout an organization, helping support operations and meet your customers’ needs.
What are the benefits of ERP software for process manufacturers and chemical companies?
An ERP helps businesses streamline operations and improve processes but selecting software that is tailored to the unique needs of your business can make all the difference.
Industry-specific software not only offers all the usual functionality you’d expect from a leading ERP but can include features such as integrated batch scheduling to help with planning and scheduling production.
A dedicated specialized application such as Datacor boasts numerous additional functions such as inventory management; material requirements planning (MRP); automatic unit-of-measure conversions; lab, recipe and formula management; regulatory compliance; safety data sheet (SDS) and certificate of analysis (COA) creation, as well as non-conformance & corrective actions.
Choosing the right ERP is difficult process and there are plenty of options out there. Consider the best fit for your organization and what the software offers beyond basic functionality.
What are the features of ERP software?
ERP systems offer separate modules to cater for each of your company’s departments and functions. They help users make light work of even the most complex tasks – ultimately saving time, effort, and money.
An effective ERP solution integrates processes, provides real-time data, and serves as a single source of all the important information needed to run your business.
It helps to ensure you meet all your regulatory obligations and are fully compliant, improves workflows, and optimizes your supply chain.
Being able to control and monitor inventories, production, distribution, and the financial aspects of your organization centrally minimizes costs while maximizing returns.
Popular features and functions include: accounting and financial management; customer relationship management (CRM); business intelligence and artificial intelligence; human resources; demand planning and forecasting; inventory management; supply chain management; and project management.
What are the current trends in chemical ERP software?
The most effective ERP systems are those that can adapt and adjust to rapidly changing market conditions. They must seamlessly integrate into your existing setup and systems, be intuitive and easy to navigate, and have the backing and support of a reliable vendor with years of relevant industry experience.
Remember, the business world can be unpredictable. After all, nobody could have anticipated the onset of COVID-19 and the effect it would have on markets or would have predicted the myriad supply chain issues that have been seen these past few years. Having a flexible platform that responds to these ever-changing needs and dynamics has therefore never been more important.
For manufacturers, consider whether your chosen ERP will help you on the shop floor. If you specialize in distribution, then you need to align with a tool that has warehousing, fulfilment, and pricing capabilities.
Ask whether your critical business processes are adequately supported. Every business has something they view as their competitive advantage. If you are formulating own products, your advantage is in the formulation and the ability to build a superior product that is cheaper and performs better than competition.
Datacor’s Procession tool, for example, is ideal for manufacturers that create their own formulations – and is a feature not seen in more generic ERP software, even those that support the chemical industry.
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