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What is the difference between ERP CRM and SCM?

Written by Laura Schomaker

December 31, 2020

Business management software solutions have improved and diversified dramatically over the last decade, so much so that today’s businesses almost have too many options on the table. To that point, decision makers at companies must choose between multiple solutions, including ERP, SCM and CRM. What is the difference between ERP CRM and SCM, and how can they affect a business?

SCM–The Basics

Every business offers products or services. For those who manage physical stock SCM, or Supply Chain Management is a software solution that provides oversight of materials and products, and their associated data, as they proceed through the supply chain from supplier to consumer. By gaining access to key data in this process workflow, businesses are better able to coordinate workflows, improve efficiencies, and ensure that consumers get the product they need.

CRM–The Basics

You can look at CRM, or Customer Relationship Management software, as the ‘opposite’ of SCM, in some ways. It manages the customer relationship cycle, providing key insights into a business’ interactions with everything from leads to devoted, return customers. It’s the ideal sales and marketing tool and creates actionable data out of many of the ‘soft touch’ moments that happen in sales and marketing.

ERP–The Basics

ERP, or Enterprise Resource Planning, is software designed to serve as an all-in-one business management solution. It is a suite of applications that work in tandem. This coordinated effort gives decision makers at a company actionable data on multiple activities at a company, from product planning to sales to customer relations. It can be everything or it can take a more minimal approach, thanks to its modular design, too. Businesses can create a bespoke ERP that suits their particular needs.

Besides the big data advantages of ERP, this holistic solution can also enhance collaboration and understanding across silos at a company. It gives end users access to collaborative spaces and data from other previously isolated departments.

ERP can include both CRM and SCM besides modules that address the needs of accounting, marketing and sales, inventory management, and more.

Choosing the Right Fit

Now that you understand the difference between ERP CRM and SCM, which solution is the right fit for your company? There are several factors to consider. For one, there’s the matter of scale. As a holistic solution, ERP may offer more bells and whistles than some smaller SMBs need. It is, however, a customizable solution that can scale to your needs and grow with ease.

Any company that handles large volumes of physical product can benefit from a SCM, of course. Retailers, manufacturers, and larger companies with multiple locations are all ideal fits for SCM.

While any company can benefit from managing customer relations effectively, CRM can bring the most advantages to companies that depend on lead flow and management, such as service-oriented businesses or companies in the hospitality sector.

However, ERP encompasses them all and is one of the most effective tools for comprehensive business management available today. Have you had your own experiences with ERP, SCM, or CRM? What are the advantages of any or all of them for your company? Let us know in the comments below. If you want to learn more about ERP and other business management solutions, start exploring your options today.


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