Pavlo Author of the article Pavlo Bilan CEO

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The difference of ERP for SME and Startups

If your business processes are not transparent, there is a pool of inefficient paperwork, your departments are disparate, and it’s hard to find needed information quickly – it’s time to consider using an ERP solution.

But finding an effective ERP solution is only half a plan. Finding software that fits your specific business model and needs perfectly is something you should focus on when looking for an ERP. What is the difference between platforms for large enterprises, SMEs, and startups? 

If your business is at an early stage or you only plan to build a one, you should prevent such an issue. A scalable ERP system can become a great option for you.

Such ERPs are designed to grow and scale as your company grows. Let’s find out how to choose a perfect ERP for startups and SMEs along with looking at some examples.

ERP for SMEs

So what is ERP and why it plays such an essential role in the operational performance of each company? If you’re a business owner you’re no stranger to optimizing and maintaining processes that often require additional time resources. With an ERP system, you can avoid manual work and reach cost efficiency, as well as data accuracy and availability.

The key features of ERP systems that fit small and medium-sized businesses:

  • Integration
  • Automation
  • Data Analysis
  • Reporting
  • CRM
  • Accounting
  • Tracking and Visibility

Whether you have a small company in the manufacturing of a digital startup, you’ll need some core set of features for each business process. As your business is developing, you require more information to be collected and managed. So the ERP system should be scalable and adaptive to your changing needs.

With an ERP platform, you can improve the efficiency of everyday workflow. It’s a tool for managing resources, tracking, tracing business, and manufacturing processes from A to Z. All in one system.

Let’s look at the key modules that you may need:

  • Invoicing
  • Supply chain
  • Sales
  • Inventory control
  • Development

Best ERP system with a set of core features for small businesses

IQMS Manufacturing ERP

IQMS fits SMEs perfectly. What is good about it is a clear interface, centralized data that is easy to use and manage. IQMS has one cloud-based app covering all modules and functionality, so you can access it at any time. Why is IQMS so good for small businesses, let’s take a look at its features.

  • Inventory management allows you to get full control over the cash flow, see the number of assets, bills of materials, and work orders. You can also get alerts in real-time and see the sticking level. This functionality is useful for optimizing business processes by managing and forecasting reorders for the future. It also helps you manage the production workflow and prevent any troubles that could lead to the cost loss.
  • Real-time data. Each piece of information is accurately displayed in real-time. Track the performance and efficiency of all the teams on helpful dashboards, monitor the production time, prevent any unexpected downtimes, the number of parts missing, and so on.
  • Quality Management Software helps meeting all the requirements from government and regulatory organizations and provides accurate information on current product quality.
  • Electronic Data Interchange is used for processing orders and invoicing. You can easily automate lots of processes, have a shorter supply chain cycle with auto-filling of requests, production time reduction, and so on.
  • A built-in warehouse management system that also works in real-time. Manage the inventory and production amount with access to required accurate information anytime.

Custom ERP

Most businesses consider building a custom solution when looking for a perfect match. Unlike out-of-the-box-solutions, custom ERP will have the right number of features or modules that you can choose yourself. You can build a solution for your specific industry vertical – no matter if it’s manufacturing or banking, retail, or supply chain business. It’s also flexible and scalable to your team’s requests. And of course, you won’t need to pay a monthly/yearly subscription or worry about security issues.

ERP for medium-sized businesses

When choosing an ERP for your SME, mind such factors as budget, timelines, processes, and resources. Think about all functional requirements to find an ERP that meets 100%.

Also, check some more factors will be useful:

  • Warehouses with a bar-code scanning module
  • Bills of materials
  • Planning module
  • Repairs and services
  • Inventory management module
  • Simple return process

It’s a good practice to compare the ready-to-use ERP systems using this list of features. If you choose to build your solution discuss each module and requirements with a software vendor, consider using business analysis from their side to ensure platform efficiency.

Try not to overdo with the ERP system. It doesn’t need to be super complicated or difficult and requires much time for staff training. This solution aims at simplifying and automating the processes. 

Also, you should choose if use a cloud or on-premise-based solution. Most modern systems are cloud-based and this trend is growing. Is it the best solution? Let’s consider the issues that may arise here:

  • Internet connection quality
  • Remote access
  • Scalability

Standard or Custom Solution

Are your requirements standard and common in such ERP systems? How to choose an up-to-date solution that will meet all the modern needs and processes? 

Here are the features that every modern ERP platform for small businesses should provide:

Cloud solution with no need to maintain the hardware or software yourself.

Mobile interaction with your customers and employees is not a competitive advantage but a must-have in today’s market. 

E-commerce should be easy and accessible 24/7.

Cross-platform solution – the more channels for interacting with the customers you find, the more profit you may gain.

What is the best cloud ERP for SME?


Being an open-source project, it can be used as an ERP platform for SMEs. Odoo offers a package of modules and features covering CRM, sales, inventory, manufacturing, project management, etc. You can choose those modules that you need for every team in your company.

The reduction of manual work is one of the most powerful advantages Odoo has.

All modules are compatible with each other and they act as parts of one big application, not as disparate apps. Automate processes, keep all the functions in one place, and access accurate data when you need it with one user-friendly platform.

Odoo provides free and paid apps. ERP system cost can vary and depends on the package. A comprehensive set of apps may make you lost – you’ll spend much time until you choose all you need. Here are the top categories for the Odoo modules:

  • eCommerce
  • Human Resources
  • Localization
  • Manufacturing
  • Marketing
  • Productivity
  • Point of sale
  • Accounting
  • Document Management
  • Сustom

Here you can think about making a custom solution if you’re not a tech-savvy person and have a lack of time to deep dive into all the features and models. In such cases hiring software, a vendor may be a good option to consider. A vendor will become your partner and will take care of the whole process from start to finish. All you need to do is describe your requirements and expectations.

The second reason for choosing a custom solution is the lack of features or modules that you need. Each business is unique and out-of-the-box software solutions can’t always meet the needs of each company.

ERP for Startups

Managing a startup requires much time not only on searching for investors or polishing the ideas but on operational tasks as well. Once you face the number of tasks that you should handle, there comes a time when you have to choose a solution that will help you get over it. A right ERP solution will save you time and resources.

What kind of software will work for a startup? An aim of using ERP platforms is assisting businesses with their everyday activities. Evaluate how much time and other resources you spend on the processes that can be automated. Scaling and growing may be hard when handling hundreds of tasks, if you feel like it’s too much – consider using an ERP.


Maximum efficiency is vital for each startup company. You should ensure access to accurate information to track and improve the way your every-day processes go – both with your customers and employees. You can access this information from any device, even from your phone. You can even have a mobile ERP system.

Your team members can have the same access to the information or you can limit this access for some specific parts of the data. You won’t need to spend time collecting information, analyzing it, and generating reports based on it. Automate this process, eliminate the chance of making a mistake and give yourself a boost on growth and scale.

No spreadsheets or notebooks are required. or If you have a custom app, you can have any visual elements that you want to see. You can decide how the future software solution will display information for you and your team players.


ERP software growth and scales as your business do. It’s better to avoid using free apps as most of them are not supposed to be scaled in the future.

What are the best small business ERP cloud solutions?

Apprise for Discrete Manufacturing

This ERP platform provides such modules as financials, manufacturing, logistics, importing, retailer compliance, demand planning, forecasting, transportation, mobile sales, and so on. Any information is accessible at any time. You can manage all the manufacturing processes from the point of delivery to finishing operations and cost reduction. Apprise is available both on Android and iOS devices.

Batch Master for Process Manufacturing

Having a pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, cosmetic, or chemical and food business? Consider using a Bath Master ERP. You can use it as an add-on to Sage 100, QuickBooks, SAP Business One, or Microsoft Dynamics GP. It has modules for managing inventory, entering and updating formulas, reporting, auditing, and managing documents.

Epicor for Wholesale Distribution

This ERP system fits good for HVAC, electrical, fastener, petroleum, medical, plumbing, and fluid power industries. Manage orders, make purchases, accounting, manage the supply chain, and inventory with Epicor modules. You can also use the built-in Business Analyser to optimize the processes. This software is compatible with Windows OS.

TradeGecko for eCommerce

A cloud-based platform that acts out as a B2B e-commerce portal. You can add users so they could sell wholesale to retailers with the help of custom storefronts. There are complex CRM, accounting, demand forecasting, sales reporting, and demand forecasting modules. You can easily integrate it with Shopify, Amazon, Magento, WooCommerce, or Bigcommerce.

How Does ERP for SME and Startups Differ?

The reason for implementing ERP software in any type of business is meeting needs and requirements. Startups and small businesses often have different processes and needs of course. 

A startup provides a new product or service, uses new technology and innovation to bring this product or service to life. There’s no structured approach in most of the cases. It uses its own experience to grow.

An SME uses the so-called old approaches to analyzing the market niche, planning and organizing the production processes, and so on. They use someone else’s experience to grow.

Each business has its list of tasks to be solved and goals to be reached – focus on them when selecting the best software solution in your case.

Why you should pick up a scalable ERP solution

There’s one thing that unites all the companies no matter what industry you are in. It’s scalability. Why do you need it? You get an opportunity to grow. You get an opportunity to reach all business goals that you think of. It’s good to keep this idea in mind all the time when you are viewing information about ERP solutions.

How can you scale off-the-shelf products? Get in touch with the software developers and ask them about any updates or solve any problems. If they don’t have actively-responding support or don’t provide system updates, flexible features – try to avoid such a solution. You better to build a custom solution that will be as scalable as you need this.

How can you pick up a scalable custom ERP solution? You need to hire a reliable software vendor with a strong experience in building such applications. Check the Bilsoft portfolio to see the cases we worked on. If you decide to have a custom ERP app for your company or have any questions, we’ll be happy to assist you.

Pavlo Author of the article Pavlo Bilan CEO
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Enhance your earnings with customized software! Take action for financial growth today!

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