Daily business decisions can be as low-stakes as prioritizing your email inbox or as momentous as deciding on a strategic acquisition. Your choices can lead to solutions to the problems your company faces—or to regrets and harsh consequences. Although you can’t necessarily prevent every mistake, incorrect choices are often the result of poor research and a lack of insight into and understanding of the details of your business.
This is where users of ERP systems know ERP can be an incredible asset in achieving success. But in many cases, ask the average start-up entrepreneur, “What is an enterprise resource planning system?” and you may get a blank stare. In today’s world of endless tech acronyms, that’s understandable. The simplest analogy is that ERP, as it’s abbreviated, is software that serves as the nerve center of a business. More specifically, it’s a system that manages and integrates all of a company’s business processes—operations, financials, commerce, HR, etc.—into one simple platform.
An ERP system essentially is designed to optimize performance and enable agility, and help accelerate business growth through increased visibility. All that should provide you with greater flexibility to make the right decisions at the right time.
As a company grows, it becomes trickier to keep detailed accounts of all aspects of the operation, and all too easy to lose track of ballooning expenses. It can be even tougher to get a full picture of how something happening in one area of the business impacts other areas.
Many businesses start with a host of disparate applications and, depending on the sophistication of the operation, possibly a mountain of paperwork that represents their financial accounting. Users of ERP systems have generally reached a stage in their operations where they are juggling more complex operations beyond financials and R&D, and are fully immersed in manufacturing, inventory, quality control, and project management.
With a unified system, every worker can be on the same page and not duplicate efforts, which reduces redundancies, makes the operation leaner, streamlines the commercialization process, and automates project management. For manufacturers in industries like life sciences that must comply with regulatory mandates, ERP satisfies validation requirements and produces the documentation necessary for quality management. The system can integrate with e-commerce and customer engagement systems, and can coordinate with counterpart systems at third-party suppliers to deliver real-time inventory and logistics information.
Thousands of businesses have unlocked the value of an ERP system. The greatest challenge in getting started, however, often is determining which solution in this crowded market will best fit the specific needs of an individual business. A simple internet search on “What is an enterprise resource planning system?” usually brings up another acronym: SAP.
SAP is a European multinational company, formally named SAP Software. SAP—an abbreviation for Systems Applications and Products in Data Processing—is also the name generally used for the business platform that is SAP Software’s flagship product offering. SAP is an integrated platform that is used to manage business applications and relationships.
So, is SAP an ERP system? It is, indeed, one of the top ERP platforms in the world, sitting alongside competing products from Oracle and Microsoft, among many others. SAP was the first company to launch an ERP platform, and has grown in sophistication over the years to offer the latest technologies for cloud-based computing.
While many ERP systems are built for companies of a specific size, SAP can be used by many types and sizes of businesses. The system actually scales with companies as they grow, so customers won’t need costly upgrades or lose time to new system implementations. This is important because a growing company may not know which modules and functions they’ll need in the future. With SAP ERP, businesses can start with what they need today and grow.
Since ERP systems come with a learning curve for new users regardless of how simple they are to use, a SAP platform is desirable because it offers all the functionality a business requires and yet has a streamlined interface to enable quicker success. It also usually has a shorter implementation time.
There also are prepackaged industry solutions such an SAP Life Sciences Solution and SAP for Distribution that can help users of ERP systems achieve rollout faster.
SAP Life Sciences Solution
Life sciences businesses are positioned in an extremely competitive industry with especially stringent quality and validation demands. Their path to growth requires a solution that can scale with the business, ensure compliance in a complex regulatory web with different requirements in every country, and provide the kind of data analytics that can be used to drive efficiency and bolster revenue.
Navigator’s cloud-based SAP Business ByDesign is a great fit for life sciences businesses at all stages. Learn more about how our SAP Life Sciences Solution can help drive operational efficiency, optimize your supply chain, ensure regulatory compliance and validation, and improve forecast accuracy.