How Fieldmobi Frontline Helps Small Businesses Get ERP Ready

Even though enterprise technology has been around for decades, small businesses have struggled to roll out software, especially complex software like ERP, which traditionally have long and complicated implementation processes. Small businesses often simply don’t have the resources to hire expensive consultants or many members of their staff who are able to roll out a system of that sort, leaving most of the work up to the owners, many of whom are not always very comfortable with technology either.

 

What is ERP and Why It’s Important

Before we start, you might ask what ERP is. ERP or Enterprise Resource Planning software is used by organizations to manage day-to-day activities such as inventory, orders and accounts.

Handling a business can be very difficult if you don't have a proper system. There are a lot of areas that you need to keep a check on, on a daily basis. If you have a small retail store and you just started out it might be easy (or at least possible) for you to keep track of every transaction. But eventually when your business starts thriving and you have more customers, more inventory and more employees to deal with, you’ll need a proper system to have every piece of data at your disposal. With ERP, you can easily retrieve your data whenever you like, which further lets you make the right decisions for your business and minimize losses. That’s why large organizations pay millions of dollars to roll out these solutions. It ensures that an organization’s data is well-organized, making them far more credible, often leading to major increases in company valuations.



Why Jumping Straight to Traditional ERP May Be Difficult for Most Small Businesses

The value of ERP is quite obvious so more and more smaller organizations are working toward implementing ERP solutions. But it isn’t so easy. Before implementing ERP you must lay proper groundwork to take your business to the next level. This can be difficult for smaller businesses which usually have fewer back office staff.

Here are some of the things you need to prepare before rolling out ERP software:

  • Get Your Masters Ready: Master information is the primary data required to get your system started. This includes employee, vendor and customer information, your work locations, equipment, assets and vehicles that you use, your product catalog, etc. 
    Many small  businesses don’t have all of this information organized. It’s often in physical books and multiple non-standardized excel sheets. But before you can do anything on an ERP system, this has to be structured, collected and organized.
  • Define Processes: Most large organizations spend months or even years, working with expensive consultants, trying to get their processes right. This can be very difficult for a small business with limited resources. But here’s the good news. Small businesses also require less complex processes. The challenging part is remembering that once rolled out, processes have to stay constant. Traditional ERP systems have a lot of flexibility that is great for large organizations that know exactly how they want to set up processes but may not be right for smaller businesses that may need some predefined structure to set things up.
  • Define Roles: Traditional systems are designed to have various levels of visibility that need to be set up based on roles. This is because most larger organizations have hundreds (if not thousands) of back office workers, managing and inputting data into the ERP system. For a small business, this can be overkill but it is another major complexity that you will have to think about before setting up your ERP system. 
  • Think About How You’ll Keep the Data Updated: Who is going to input data? Who is going to update master information if it changes? How will you keep track of all your resources and ensure that the data stays updated if things change? There are a lot of things to think about in terms of where the data is coming from and how it is maintained. Large organizations have large teams managing this. In small business this often ends up being the owner’s job. Traditional ERP can therefore overburden owners.



How Does Fieldmobi Frontline Help Small Businesses Roll Out ERP?

Many small businesses tend to have a small number of managers (it’s often just the owners who manage things) and a relatively large ratio of workers, on the shop floor or in the field, working remotely. From an owner’s point of view, It’s not always possible to call up and ask about every single detail and update and most traditional solutions are too complicated to roll out among workers even if you ignore the cost implications. 

Frontline acts like a stepping stone to ERP for SMBs. Frontline is a direct line to your team, resources and operations on the field (or floor). It comes with an app that is simple enough for your team on the frontlines of your business to use, much like a basic consumer app, because it only shows them what they need to fill up and nothing more.

This app makes it possible for workers on your team to collect the data you need for your masters such as site, vehicles, employee, equipment and asset information as well as ensure that they are up-to-date with inspections and issue reporting. 

Fieldmobi Frontline is designed to counter all the issues that small businesses have with ERP software, getting them ready to roll out an ERP system (which we will be launching soon - Keep an eye out for Fieldmobi First ERP).

Let’s get into a detailed explanation about these applications and how each application in Fieldmobi Frontline would benefit you. 

 

  1. Team Manager 
    Under the Team Manager application there are several modules which help record employee information, manage attendance, leaves, expenses and keep track of employee status. This is very important in terms of determining the roles that members of your team will hold, a major step in setting ERP up.

  2. Information Manager
    The second application is Information Manager, which allows you to collect and maintain key business information (aka Master Information) such as work sites, equipment, vehicles, assets, products, partners, customers, etc.
    This is vital to getting your ERP ready as your team can help you collect this information from the field and you (as the owner or manager) can approve and add it to the database.
    It also can be used to conduct inspections and update the status of your resources.

  3. Issue Manager
    The third application is Issue Manager which deals with the problem and issues that you may face with various resources. The applications allow your team to report issues so you can assign them and trigger the issue resolution and verification process. This is again important for your ERP system as it helps you maintain the status of your resources. 

  4. Activity Manager
    The fourth application is the Activity Manager that deals with activities, requests, tasks and updates. This will help connect Frontline to the active transactions on your ERP (in Fieldmobi’s case First ERP). Even without the ERP system, this allows you to start managing your team and resources, assigning work and tracking process. This is extremely important to get your business ERP ready and you can experiment with various processes before connecting it to orders, and in turn inventory and accounts (i.e. your ERP system).

As you can see, this entire application with its modules will lay out a methodical arrangement for you to coordinate with your field workers, while setting you up to implement ERP. 

Find out more about Fieldmobi Frontline here.

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