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Catherine Cane06-Mar-2024 10:54:588 min read

Saving Money: Using ERP Systems to Cut Costs

Managing your business costs effectively is essential for keeping your company growing and profitable. And in today’s ever-changing business world, your ERP or business management system is crucial for staying ahead.  

In this article, we’ll show you how using Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or business management software can do more than just make operations smoother—they can also save you money and help your business thrive financially. From automating tasks to giving you instant insights, ERP systems can really make a difference to your bottom line.  

Automation is key 

Firstly, an ERP or business management system instantly minimises the likelihood of human errors by automating tasks that were previously manual. This will not only ensure processes are completed more efficiently and accurately but will also free up your staff to focus on tasks that that genuinely impact your business. Errors in transferring numbers or inputting incorrect information can have serious consequences for your business, and automating these tasks significantly reduces the risk. 

At its fundamental level, an ERP or Business management system streamlines order processing and constantly tracks inventory levels in real-time, triggering re-order alerts to prevent stockouts or overstock situations. Additionally, it facilitates auto-generation and sending of invoices based on predefined rules, thereby reducing billing errors and speeding up the billing cycle. 

More advanced automation features include seamless integration with your suppliers for demand forecasting, sophisticated data analytics and reporting, workflow automation, and a centralised customer database. 

Here’s a testament to the positive impact a modern ERP or business management solution, like Intact iQ, can bring to a business:

‘On our old system, processing orders for a particular customer of ours used to take hours due to its complexity. Now, with Intact iQ, we can complete it in 40 to 60 minutes, freeing up time for other tasks.’ – Simon O’Hare, O’Hare Components, iQ Customer.

Right stock, right time  

Integrating a modern business software or ERP solution provides instant, real-time insights into your stock levels across multiple locations and warehouses. Having a visual dashboard at your fingertips empowers you to make well-informed decisions on maintaining optimal stock levels and meeting customer demands. Not only can this lead to significant cost savings but it’ll help you to avoid overstocking and safeguard against inventory write-offs. Plus, it can make your business more competitive and keep customers happy! 

Features like real-time inventory tracking, demand forecasting, supplier integration, automated re-ordering, batch and serial tracking all enhance efficiency, reduce errors, and optimise your stock levels, ultimately saving you time and money!  

One of our customers, Galaxy Insulations and Dry Lining Ltd, has achieved industry-leading inventory levels by optimising their stock control and enhancing their order management using Intact iQ. You can read more about this here. 

An ERP or business management software system can also assist you in selling stock items more effectively. You can upsell popular items, offer discounts on different products, and suggest related items to customers—all in real-time through automated alerts at the point of sale. 

Good for the environment!  

Embracing a paperless setup not only champions environmental sustainability, but also saves you money, cutting expenses tied to paper, ink, and other resources. Furthermore, having critical data and documents housed in one location means information is easily accessible when needed, significantly reducing the likelihood of missed opportunities. The removal of manual paperwork not only boosts productivity and efficiency across the board but also frees up valuable staff resources. 

Here are some key ERP features that play a crucial role in helping you become more paperless: 

  • Electronic Document Management: An electronic document management system is a piece of software that stores, organises, and manages documents in the form of electronic files.  

Unlike traditional paper-based systems, which are slower and more laborious, this software quickly scans and stores documents on your system in seconds. It can handle various documents such as proof of delivery, purchase invoices, order confirmations, returns, and more.  

Solutions such as Intact InDocs simplifies document management using QR Code, OCR, and PDF text scraping technologies. You can effortlessly digitise and organise documents and transform your purchase ledger management.  

  • Seamless Task/Process Workflows: With automated alerts integrated into your system, the reliance on sticky notes for staff communication becomes obsolete.  

For instance, if a certain product is out of stock, you can set up an automated alert to inform your sales personnel of related or similar products so as not to lose out on a sale. Conversely, to prevent selling products below a certain margin, automated alerts can be configured to ensure compliance with pricing policies.   

Or, if a customer is near their credit limit, you can ensure you sales team are aware of this by setting up a warning prompt. There are lots of instances where you can reduce the need for paper or printed lists using automated alerts. 

Features like Intact Nexus make it incredibly easy to automate countless tasks, processes and business rules, reducing manual processes and promoting a paperless environment.  

  • Electronic signature pads/delivery apps: Electronic signature pads are a great way to capture customer signatures at the point of sale without having to print out a sales order. A copy of the invoice and receipt can also be automatically sent to the customer, along with any product specifications, if needed.  

And for your delivery drivers, mobile applications like Intact Access enables efficient capture of signatures, locations, photos, and any delivery issues encountered while seamlessly updating your system and linking all documentation to your orders. This will eliminate the need to carry around clipboards, pens and paper.  

Again, you can configure conditions to automatically forward this information to your customers, providing real-time notifications.  

  • Inventory Tracking/Stock management:  Using business software with integrated stock management features can significantly reduce paperwork by digitising stock management processes. This results in fewer printed documents and decreases reliance on paper records, promoting a more paperless operation. 
  • Mobile Accessibility:  Apps like Intact Access allow you and your team to access important business information on your phones or tablets, cutting down on paper usage. Instead of using printed documents, tasks like managing customer orders, deliveries, viewing management KPIs and more can be handled digitally, making your operations less reliant on paper. 
  • Centralised Database – A central database saves paper by storing all information digitally. Employees can access, share, and update data and documents to your system, so there’s no need for printed documents, making things simpler and more efficient.  
  • Automated/Scheduled and On-Screen Reporting – This functionality not only reduces your reliance on Excel spreadsheets but also eliminates the need to print out reports. Mini reports can be quickly and easily created on-screen, saved to your dashboard, or scheduled to be emailed to you when you need them.   
  • Supplier and Customer Online Portals – Online portals streamline communication and transactions with your customers and suppliers, minimising the need for paper-based documentation and paperwork. By providing customers and suppliers with easy access to the information they need, you save time and money spent on printing and postage, while also enhancing relationships with both parties. 

These features collectively help in reducing your reliance on physical paperwork, enhancing efficiency, and promoting a more sustainable and paperless business environment. 

“The driving force behind our move to Intact Xline was the integration capabilities available within the software and the potential it offered in helping us to become a paperless business” Dave Clark, Managing Director at Vanitorials. 

Credit Control  

Poor credit control can result in bad debts, higher overdraft fees and time-wasting. Late payments, a common fallout of insufficient credit control, inflict a substantial blow to your profits, disrupting cash flow and hindering financial stability.    

Using ERP or business management software can help save money and improve cash flow. These systems automatically create and send invoices to customers, help you set limits on how much credit they get, and send reminders when payments are overdue. They also make it easier to talk to customers about late payments and give insights to help improve how credit is managed, ultimately reducing costs. 

Giving customers access to an online account management portal also lets them manage their accounts whenever they need to. They can see their orders, invoices, quotes, deliveries, statements, and payment options all in one place.  

Tools like Intact eAccount let customers access real-time information from your Intact system, saving you time and making things simpler for them. 

Having an integrated accounts system within your ERP software is crucial for getting accurate and trustworthy data. It helps manage credit control, lets you make better decisions, and gives you more control over your finances in every part of your business. 

ERP or Business management software empowers you to proactively manage credit risk, optimise cash flow, and streamline operations, ultimately leading to significant cost savings and improved financial health. 

When T.N. Robinson first partnered with Intact, Managing Director Chris Drake emphasised the significant cost savings and operational efficiencies they anticipated, especially in the purchase ledger and credit control areas. He noted that the ‘increased automation functionality would greatly benefit the company’.  

SaaS reduces upfront cost 

Traditional ERP implementations often have a substantial upfront cost. The SaaS model allows businesses to subscribe to ERP software on a monthly or annual basis, reducing the initial financial burden of taking on new software. This also ensures that you have predictable ongoing costs, making it easier to budget and plan for future expenses. This becomes valuable for financial planning and enables you to allocate resources more efficiently. Because the ERP software is hosted and maintained by the SaaS provider, you will cut costs associated with maintaining your own IT infrastructure.  

Scalability is a huge benefit of the SaaS model as you can adjust how much you use the software based on your needs and how your business grows.  You also have the flexibility to change what features you use and how much you pay as your needs change. And of course, your data is backed up automatically, so if something goes wrong, you won’t lose it. 

In Summary 

ERP systems yield significant cost savings by streamlining operations through automation, providing real-time stock updates, fostering a paperless environment, and enhancing credit control. SaaS further reduces upfront costs, ensuring ongoing predictability and eliminating the need for maintaining IT infrastructure. These measures not only optimise efficiency but strategically position you for financial stability and competitiveness in the market.  

At Intact, we offer fully scalable business management solutions that can make a huge impact on your bottom line whilst boosting your efficiencies company-wide. For more information or to explore our products and services further, visit our homepage. 

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Catherine Cane

I joined Intact’s marketing team in October 2023. My academic journey began at the University of Liverpool, where I studied English language and literature. Feeling that one degree wasn’t enough, I stayed and earned a Master's degree in creative and critical writing. During my studies, I wrote for various platforms, including a student newspaper and a famous Liverpool attraction. I knew I wanted to pursue a career where I could write daily, leading me to explore the world of content marketing. At Intact, I compile and write content for our website, upsell campaigns, customer newsletter, and manage our social media channels. The best part of my job is the opportunity to interview colleagues, seeking their insights and knowledge for valuable content, and that each completed task is followed by ten uncompleted ones. Outside of work, I’ll be at the gym, out for a run (jog), or exploring markets in London with friends.