When looking into software to help manage your business, it can feel a bit like wading through word-soup. There are many acronyms to wrap your head around, and there is often significant overlap between concepts. In this post, we’re going to explain three particular terms you will encounter a lot concerning inventory and management of supply chains.
Those terms are Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Supply Chain Management (SCM), and Customer Relationship Management (CRM). It is not uncommon to see these terms pitted against each other in articles with titles like “ERP vs. CRM vs. SCM” as though they are competitors. But the truth is they each serve their own purpose in the smooth running of any enterprise. Let’s dive a little deeper into what these terms mean.
What is Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)?
We wrote last week about ERP vs. PLM. so you might have an idea about this one already. For clarity, ERP software records the many data points of your business automatically, making that data available for planning and management purposes. Enterprise resource planning focuses on the internal processes of a company, such as human resources, sales and marketing, product planning, and manufacturing. This software can be used to automate your business’s technological resources and is primarily concerned with collecting information. The advantages of enterprise resource planning are more apparent in large-scale companies. However, smaller enterprises can find many benefits in lightweight versions of the software.
What is Customer Relationship Management (CRM)?
CRM software deals specifically with customer data. This data might include things like preferences, purchase history, and any other data points that can improve the relationship between you and your customers. One example of the benefits of analyzing the data collected by a CRM application is recommendations. If you sell clothes and you know a particular customer purchases an above-average number of v-neck sweaters, you can use that information to recommend new products. Thus you are strengthening the relationship between that customer and your brand.
What is Supply Chain Management (SCM)?
This system involves tracking and data collection at every stage of your supply chain, from the initial design of a product to the final sale. The information gathered from an application like this can be used to streamline your supply chain significantly. In the process, this makes your business run more smoothly and saves on costs at the same time.
With proper management of your supply chain in place, you achieve full transparency at every step of your supply chain. This visibility significantly reduces unforeseen logistical complications and communication errors that can cause delays and missed shipments.
Working in Harmony
Any of these systems can help to streamline your business and highlight areas where you can cut costs. So it’s less a question of ERP vs. CRM vs. SCM and which is better, and more about how to implement all of these systems to increase profits through greater efficiency.
That said, they can be costly to run individually. In addition to any infrastructure necessary, the time taken to collect and analyze the data means a comprehensive suite of software is often only practical for large-scale enterprises.
Suuchi reimagined what supply chain processes looked like and developed a better way for businesses of all sizes to manage their operations.