Growing Small Businesses Need Big Data Solutions

Robert Brice
Tue, Aug 11, 2015
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Companies use data reporting to support growth.

Small retailers and manufacturers that find themselves entering larger markets see an increase in information volume. As a business grows, so does the amount of data generated from inventory, distribution, production and consumers.

An RFgen case study explained how a building materials manufacturer needed to improve its data reporting capabilities to keep up with demand and increase service performance. The company, Continental Materials, was using paper and manual processes that slowed down communication, caused inaccuracies and wasted funds on overhead. Continental Materials implemented Oracle's JD Edwards EnterpriseOne ERP software and hand-held barcode scanners to process work orders, track inventory and capture data.

Manual and paper-based data collection strategies can't handle the demands of the modern market. To stay competitive, growing businesses need to leverage data capture tools that facilitate complete visibility and streamlined operations.

Software Solutions
Enterprise resource planning software is a standard tool of modern business. Manufacturers need the information platform to oversee production operations and plan supply resources. Retailers want an integrated software system that facilitates communication between distribution and sales.

A software solution promoting company-wide visibility - such as JD Edwards EnterpriseOne - allows a business to utilize data across all aspects of its operations. Demand Media stated different department information that works together eliminates miscommunications and other factors hindering growth. As more employees, departments and locations are added to a business's infrastructure, ERP software keeps the company synced.

A properly implemented ERP system is cost-effective and should generate a measurable ROI. Implementation must be a gradual process; software should be adopted to meet very specific goals. Productivity, information sharing and growth can all be improved through data reporting and visibility, but a company wants to start by focusing on particular processes to gauge success.

The Small-Business Market
There was a time when ERP systems were only employed by large corporations. Improving technology and new strategies literally puts ERP technology into the hands of small-business owners.

TechTarget said most software providers are focused on creating programs that are flexible and scalable. Small businesses are growing consumers of data capture technology and software programs are designed to meet their demands. New tools are cost-efficient, adaptable and convenient.

Mobile technology is the current trend most business owners are clamoring for. The modern software client is mobile. Manufacturers need tech tools utilized on shop floors and distributors want to track deliveries in real time. Mobile data collection solutions that integrate with ERP systems work on preferred mobile devices and match the speed of the current market. They're used by shipping docks, in production plants and on the road between locations.

Improve Data Capture
Continental Materials used barcode scanners to provide its software system with information. The mobile data capture solution allowed the company to track inventory, supplies and assets. As a company grows, it should invest in tools facilitating simple and uniform data entry procedures.

A software system needs a steady stream of information to achieve optimal performance. Business2Community explained how certain software tools perform automatic data entry. A company can establish criteria and procedures for the system to perform automated tasks.

Some information, though, has to be captured manually. Physical objects traveling in and out of warehouses have to be visible to distributors. Production workers must log manufacturing performance into the company infrastructure. Mobile technology, like barcode scanners and voice-directed technology, turn real-world objects and procedures into digital information.

ERP solutions are most effective when the entire company works together. Supplying all members of an organization with data reporting equipment ensures every single part of a business is contributing to growth.

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