Just like many types of production businesses, service businesses can also use Enterprise Resource Planning or ERP software to help manage business processes and provide their services to customers. However, ERP works in a fundamentally different way for service companies — because there’s no product distribution, and a focus on assistance with some need rather than the shipping of products, services ERP has a different focus, and a different set of goals. In addition, the design of ERP for each segment will also differ significantly.
Financial Services ERP
In the financial world, ERP helps businesses do maintain all of that detailed workload that goes along with processing transactions, evaluating financial systems and auditing the flow of money from one party to another.
Banking ERP will generally help with transparency for front office, back office and transactional systems. It will help to make these processes more efficient, and enhance planning in terms of budgeting, financial forecasting and other tasks.
At the same time, this type of software can also use customer relationship management tools to make sure that outcomes support better customer satisfaction.
Services ERP can be customized for banks, credit unions and other financial institutions according to their business models and customer base.
Hospitalities ERP tools will also have their own unique builds. One of the interesting aspects of ERP for hospitalities is that it deals with a conventional unit of sales — a room in a hotel, resort, or other lodging business. So many of these tools will be built with visual models that track each individual room and its status over time. Other back office tools will build sophisticated reports about how the rooms generate revenue, as well as how other revenue sources contribute.
In casinos and other hospitalities businesses with customer-facing amenities, the ERP tools will also offer detailed cost and revenue information, as well as help with administrative tasks like staffing, long-term report generation, and some aspects of maintenance and property management.
Restaurant and Food Service ERP
A service ERP software package for a food service business may provide granular operation for an individual location, or big picture functionality for a chain or set of locations.
Many of these tools will be squarely focused on long-term planning and industry objectives. There won’t usually be as much focus on some of the production metrics that are common in retail ERP, but there will be a big focus on staffing and scheduling, and evaluating revenues and expenses.
Non-Profit Service ERP
Although people think about non-profits as much different from for-profit businesses, these organizations have to deal with many of the same administrative and planning challenges that face companies. A non-profit organization has to track fund-raising, and monitors the flow of money through the entire lifecycle, also assisting with other aspects of operations such as procurement.
With this in mind, non-profit service ERP will be a diverse sort of resource.
Some tools will focus on tracking donors and volunteers, and evaluating these resources on an individual level. Other tools will look at long-term planning and how to show compliance with federal rules and standards. Some will help a non-profit in flux to stay flexible in terms of handling finances and other elements of the organization. Non-profit accounting software may be built into these packages.
With sophisticated services ERP, non-profits strive to be as businesslike possible, and rival for-profit businesses in the pursuit of capable administration and sound fiscal policies.
Landscaping and Home Improvement Services ERP
Other service businesses may also use ERP for smaller types of contracts.
For example, while a “mom-and-pop” type of landscaping business may not use the software packages, a larger business with a broader set of resources might use ERP for many of the same business practices outlined in the description of ERP resources for retail segments.
In addition to keeping customer rosters, detailing AR/AP, and promoting efficient scheduling and labor management, service ERP tools for these businesses may also look at handling physical assets such as fleets and pieces of equipment that are out in the field at any given time.
Of course, they may also incorporate aspects of customer relationship management — because these businesses serve customers, often in our own homes or on their properties, customer relationships are central, and just like in other kinds of businesses, the ERP tool promotes a better individual relationship with the customer, as well as offering all of those functions for discounts and loyalty programs that keep a business working well with its customer base.
All of these types of services businesses rely on ERP to help with less tangible offerings that require a lot of back-and-forth in terms of delivery. The widespread use of services ERP is one more reminder that sophisticated technology is becoming a de facto part of modern business — just as the enormous numbers of over the road truck drivers use new tracking and reporting technologies to assist them in delivering physical goods, services companies use ERP tools to track all of the various moving parts of their businesses, and provide more transparency and efficiency for a competitive business model.