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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Wade Williamson, Lori MacVittie

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Small Manufacturers and Wholesalers Surveyed Say Business Technology is Too Costly, Lacks Clear Benefits

Seven out of 10 small manufacturers and wholesalers think that enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is too costly and they don’t see how it would benefit their businesses, according to a survey done by SMB Group and business software provider Exact. These are the top two reasons only 19 percent of those surveyed plan to evaluate ERP or ERP-like technologies in the next 12 months.

The number of businesses seriously considering ERP is surprisingly low considering that the top three “operational challenges” for those surveyed were improving manufacturing processes (60 percent), improving sales efficiency (50 percent) and improving employee productivity (48 percent), all benefits that are enabled by many widely available business software packages.

“As discussed in my blog post, this survey confirms that the legacy of ERP may be holding back necessary adoption of all business technology for small manufacturers and wholesalers,” said Steve Leavitt, GM of U.S. Cloud Solutions for Exact. “The need is clear, but the perception of high cost and lack of clarity about benefits is keeping the door closed to technology solutions that are much easier and far less costly to implement than traditional ERP.”

A majority of those surveyed (75 percent) say that “growing revenues” is their greatest financial challenge, with “improving profit margins” (68 percent) and “improving cash flow” (58 percent) coming in second and third.

“It’s an interesting paradox that these businesses want to grow revenue, improve profit margin and improve cash flow, but these are all things business technology makes easier,” added Leavitt. “Some feel that they can do some of these things with their accounting applications alone, but that’s a stretch. What they need is help understanding how easy it can now be to adopt new, inexpensive business technologies, especially in the cloud.”

SMB Group polled nearly 400 U.S. small business manufacturers and wholesale distributors in November 2013. The survey included 40 questions related to business priorities and challenges, current use of technology and future plans for technology and business software adoption.

Exact Online is a product of Exact, a global company with 30 years of experience in manufacturing and wholesale software. Exact supports 10,000 customers in the U.S.

Exact

Exact is your trusted advisor and a leading provider of business solutions for small- to medium-sized (SMB) manufacturing and distribution companies. Since 1984, Exact has been serving SMBs with information technology to launch and grow their businesses. As a global solution provider with more than 1,800 employees worldwide, Exact helps more than 100,000 local and international companies run their business every day. Exact is headquartered in Delft, the Netherlands and has been listed on the NYSE Euronext Amsterdam since June 1999. The company’s revenues in 2013 amounted to €213 million. In the U.S., Exact's business unit, Cloud Solutions, is headquartered in Newton, MA.

Exact Online offers the advantage of flexible cloud delivery to enable customers to quickly and cost-effectively streamline time-consuming tasks such as quoting, sales and purchasing, CRM, production and inventory management, so business owners can focus on growing their businesses. The platform, available via affordable monthly subscription, integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks.

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