The one secret all scale-ups share
We work with 39 companies on the UK’s official scale up index. These organisations have grown, and continue to grow, at an extraordinary rate.
By working closely with scale-ups for many years we’ve been able to identify the patterns that most rapid growth organisations follow.
A key stage is the realisation that existing processes, systems and working methods are no longer fit for purpose. In many cases the very systems that have helped the organisation reach its current state suddenly become overwhelmed.
Instead of supporting further growth, these systems start to restrict it.
We’ve observed that the scale-ups that transition past this critical stage all have one thing in common.
A system that is scalable in itself.
Cue the entry of enterprise resource planning, or ERP for short. ERP systems provide the essential foundation helping businesses become scalable.
Connecting your business
First and foremost, ERP connects every facet of your business operation, from supply chain, inventory and financial accounting to human resources and customer relationship management.
This gives you all your core business data in one place, which is invaluable when scaling up.
With an overview of your entire operation, you can identify shortages, bottlenecks or readily available resources far more easily. That provides much better insight when it comes to directing resources to wherever they’re needed most.
It also allows you to make informed decisions about recruitment, expansion and purchasing in the long run.
This kind of information and insight is a great way to make sure your processes are as efficient as possible.
When it comes to scaling up your business, the need for resources to adapt to higher production levels will mean that the value and insights an ERP system can provide will be instrumental to sustaining growth.
A scalable system
As well as facilitating scalability in the best way possible, ERP systems are scalable by design. Their cloud capacity is the perfect example of this. Rather than requiring internal servers, most ERP solutions are run in the cloud – using a software-as-a-service model.
The vast amounts of data and functionality are powered by secure, external servers. Should you need to add functionality or scale up the amount of data you’re managing, the cloud has limitless capacity to help you do it.
The software-as-a-service model also means you don’t have to deal with
updates or upgrades. Your ERP software will be regularly updated by your service provider, giving you the best version with all the latest functionality without any hassle on your end.
Adapting to your requirements
A lot can change as you scale up – and it’s important to have a system in place that can adapt to this change rather than slowing you down. ERP software provides a wide range of modules which can be added or removed however you see fit.
Budgeting, procurement, cash flow, inventory, sales, customer service, workforce management – you can simply cherry pick the right functionality for your business to create a single, all-encompassing solution.
Crucially, it can also adapt to the ever-changing variety of technologies that your business uses. Whether it’s the internet of things, artificial intelligence or just the latest mobile devices, a constantly updated ERP system can essentially future-proof your company so you’re always ready to scale up.
Integrating when required
As discussed, ERP is wide-ranging. That said, there’s always the possibility that you will need another third-party solution. Perhaps you’re merging with another company to scale up and need to use their existing technology alongside your ERP.
Whatever the case, ERP can be integrated to avoid any gaps in your system.
This will eliminate the risk of data or department silos which can slow or even distort the scale up process.
Some ERP vendors have established partnerships with applications that are commonly used with their solutions. This allows them to offer simple, certified integrations that do exactly what they say on the tin.
Alternatively, you can create custom integrations using the application programming interface (API), with additional support from your service provider.
Scalability isn’t just about internal resources. It covers anything that could interfere with how you scale up. For many businesses, that includes the requirements of international expansion. Entering new markets is one of the best ways to scale up your business, but it’s also one of the most challenging with the need to adapt to local languages, laws and even taxes.
With the right ERP system, this shouldn’t be a problem. ERP software can adapt to support growth in countries across the globe. This includes different languages for local staff, but also more complex requirements like rules and regulations for data storage and protection.
Ready to scale with ERP?
If you want to empower your business with highly scalable ERP software, the team at Thinc are on hand to help.
We provide expert advice and assistance with leading ERP solutions Sage 200 and SAP B1. From recommending the right system to deployment, management, optimisation and integrations, we’ll make sure your SME is fully equipped to scale up without limits.
To talk more about ERP software and how it can help you, get in touch with our team today.
Tel: 0808 168 8922
Thinc's Scale-Up Series has been designed around our experience in working with some of the UK's leading start-ups.
If you're looking to scale at speed speak to our scale-up team on 0808 168 8922