The food industry has seen explosive growth in organics and nutraceuticals (food and herbal supplements used as an alternative to allopathic medicines). Entrepreneurial visionaries may put people’s health first, but they also have to have a healthy business to continue to provide those products to the market. Emerging businesses often falter because they do not have the infrastructure—processes, and technologies—to enable growth.
One beneficial action we see small businesses taking is moving from running their business on spreadsheet-‐ type or “lite” ERP solutions (such as QuickBooks) to implementing an enterprise ERP solution. Although spreadsheet-‐type solutions seem to be an easy and low-‐cost choice, as the business grows, the spreadsheet approach quickly encounters problems. Financial reporting and managing day-‐to-‐day activities such as planning, manufacturing, or basic distribution functions are often not part of these lite ERPs.
SMEs (small and mid-‐sized enterprises) are embracing ERP. This is a fairly new phenomenon catalyzed by the availability of robust cloud solutions. Fortunately, ERP providers for SMEs have been investing to meet the depth in the functionality required to support a growing business. This is especially true for the food and healthcare sectors which are experiencing rapid growth at the same time that regulatory and industry reporting requirements are increasing the pressure to automate key processes.
We have spoken to dozens of small business executives about their move to adopt the technology. Certain companies, though, stand out as powerful examples for others who may be considering such a move.