It must meet the demands of the market through efficiency, quality, cost-effectiveness, differentiation, accessibility, and customer service. These pillars of performance are constantly evolving, though the objective to deliver a product to the final end-user is the same. Investing in an ERP may be perceived as an investment that has no interaction or effect on the consumer, but it can enable the survival of a retailer in markets that look beyond the product to make purchasing decisions.
Retailers are in the process of restructuring their organizations to fully leverage and optimize the people, processes, technology, and data in their supply chain in order to remain competitive. Restructuring occurs from a geographical, partnering, rebranding, and technological infrastructure point of view. A centralized technological infrastructure underpins the pillars of performance and provides fluidity for restructuring. The essence of an ERP is centralization and connectivity.
As a general concept, once your retail business has either more than 5 locations or a larger volume of employees, clients and transactions, an ERP might be a better fit for your business model. Though an ERP may seem like a big step for a smaller scale company, these integrated solutions are designed with different user needs in mind, as the needs of a business with 5 locations is significantly different than those with more than 25.
Smaller businesses generally look for more basic features in a retail ERP and its implementation with the option to seamlessly expand as they grow. A retail ERP can help you transform with ease from a small to medium-sized business, or medium to large. An ERP is built to last with longevity and agility in mind and will assist in navigating past critical plateaus along your journey.
If you’re already at significant sales and employee levels or have multiple locations, then you’re at the point to consider restructuring your technological infrastructure. Keep in mind that it can be easier to implement earlier than later because the more a business scales with its prospects, it also becomes more complex— thus making the implementation more complex and costly.
ERP implementations are as diverse as retail companies themselves. Your ERP solution will depend on your size, needs and growth strategy. Keep in mind that you can add elements as you progress as your needs change—so it is not an “all-or-nothing” approach. ERP implementations are designed to be modular in nature in order to be a system that evolves with your business.
While all of the above is important to different degrees depending on your business needs, there are key retail ERP elements to keep in the back of your mind during the selection and implementation process:
The above are important concepts to consider, but again each business is unique and so will be the implementation. You will need someone internally to not only spearhead the coordination of the implementation with subject matter experts, but also assign business process owners responsible for each element. Your team matters as much as the technology.
If you think you might be ready for a retail ERP but are unsure if you’re ready, have the right staffing, or equipped to implement—reach out to us. We can have a consultation on what can be expected, the surprises that will inevitably come up and how to implement the features you need in the timeframe you want.