Enterprise resources planning (ERP) in merchandising, often referred to as trading ERP, have to deal successfully with numerous business processes and procedures like inventory tracking and management, purchasing, supply chain planning, commissions to third-parties, the overall sales and marketing process. This complexity gave birth to a set of business software applications for trading ERP that are sophisticated enough to cover the requirements of business customers that may operate merchandise chains comprising hundreds or thousands points of sales, stores, or a complex online sales network.
As far as ERP systems provide an integrated business software solution, they feature functionality and modules that deal with various aspects of running a business, including finance and accounting, supply chain management, human resources, customer relationship management, and project management. Each of these modules could be configured relatively independently of the others, while each software module can also be customized to meet the particular requirements of a customer. A trading ERP system, as a whole, can be customized as well, providing marked competitive advantage over rivals who use only ready to use releases of a product i.e. do not extend the core functionality of a ERP system.
ERP customers should bear in mind however that although most software modules of merchandise ERP can operate independently, they are in fact closely related and dependent on each other if the full potential of the system is to be utilized. Therefore, one should explore all available configuration options before opting in for the customization of a ready to use ERP system. For example, ERP systems usually feature built-in best practices that allow for better management of business processes that may or may not be industry-specific. If the software vendor is able to configure the software in a manner that produces notable competitive advantage over rivals, then software customization should be considered an unnecessary step.
That said, most organizations deploy ready to use ERP system, mainly because of the high cost and time-consuming nature of the ERP system implementation. On the other hand, a highly configurable system may take longer to adopt but such prolonged implementation period it will pay off through improved efficiency, better integration, and smooth operation in the long term. Customization for its part boost competitiveness to a next level by providing further configurable options and functionality that is not available to competitors, or at least is not available as ready to use solution. Thus, configurability and customizability of a ERP, be it a trading ERP or a solution used in manufacturing, should be considered major factor to assess before purchasing and implementing a ERP solution.
Other factors to consider are overall user satisfaction and user friendliness, which have been underestimated by both software vendors and ERP software customer for long time. A user friendly system that features intuitive interface can markedly improve overall employee performance, while not sacrificing core functions related to the business processes under management. Integration of third-party applications into the ERP is often considered a sort of customization that also improves user acceptance while providing extended functionality. Obviously, a custom made solution will be more costly on average compared with ready to implement
ERP systems, but a possible workaround is to look for a configurable system that may operate reliably when adopted across various types of businesses. The grocery round the corner most probably will never adopt a ERP software suite but if a ERP system can be configured to be of benefit to a local store and allows to be configured to meet the requirements of small-scale business customers and multinationals alike, there is a good chance it is a safe bet. Since a trading ERP is used as a major business software tool within an organization, high configurability and customizability will always provide a marked competitive advantage.