In a world where data is the new oil, it has never been so important to get all the information available in order to run a successful business. Leaders make business decisions based on the data that they have and take calculated risks with the insights it provides. A company maintains its stock based on order information and will plan for the future according to leads, market behaviour and trends, all of which require visibility and data interpretation.
The Auction industry is no different, and that’s where an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system comes in, bringing critical advantages to auction houses. With ERP software, your business can integrate and manage its processes through a suite of applications designed to enhance productivity and efficiency. Even better if it is a custom-made solution, or Customized Resource Planner, a platform specifically designed to run your company and track its main assets, from projects to resources, giving you a comprehensive view of the business and the data, you need to make the right decision.
In this article, you’ll discover what are the 6 mandatory modules of an ERP solution for the auction industry.
Both are booming. Last year, global auction sales shot up 25% to €9,9 billion, according to the yearly ArtTactic report. As for the global ERP market, Stratistics MRC projects that it will grow to €65.6 billion by 2026, up from €30 billion in 2017, bolstered by cloud adoption and digital transformation projects.
ERP’s have been heavily implemented in Sweden and Denmark
Some European countries still lag on ERP adoption and that is seen as an obstacle to their companies’ transformation journey. Surprisingly, the UK is one of them: according to CBI (Confederation of British Industry), ERP adoption levels in the region are still way below the digital champions in Europe, Sweden and Denmark. Other countries report very high levels of ERP implementation across all sectors, even when economies are not growing exponentially. Such is the case of Spain, where 82% of businesses said they were using an ERP solution in a 2017 study by software comparison specialists SoftDoit.
So why invest in ERP?
It will make your employees more productive and your auction house more profitable. ERP software allows for back-office automation, keeps all data in one location, ensures comprehensive reporting, improves customer service, enhances security and guarantees regulatory compliance.
What should the ERP do for an auction house?
There are several key functions. One is to manage the workflow, from qualifying vendors and buyers, preparing and running sales to receiving and paying invoices. It should also help convert leads and communicate with vendors and buyers, centralizing all the required data to sell the lots.
The use of an ERP solution will make your employees more productive and your auction house more profitable and easier to run
The ERP must help users prepare stock for the Auction with a dedicated active workflow, provide financial tools to keep track of receipts and payments, vendor and buyer fees and keep a record of buyers’ attendance. Most importantly, it should be able to provide integration with online auction platforms and e-sales tools.
With the essentials laid out, there are 6 modules that an ERP needs to have in order to serve auction houses:
- Company setup and management
A set of features designed to manage company’s data, including branches and sites so stock location is properly tracked. It also needs to allow managing users, employees and external providers who come in contact with the company’s data.
- Reference Data management
Each auction house focus on different sets of stock types – while some may be auctioning real-estate properties or cars, others may focus on arts and crafts, watches or furniture. The ability to configure the system to support any stock type is key for a good lot description that is searchable, making sure it is found by all potential buyers and therefore guaranteeing its accurate market price.
The Customer Relationship Management module is a must-have, not only to create and follow-up on leads but successfully converting them into accounts. It should be 100% customized, with the exact descriptions your business requires, and allow for easy-to-set-up marketing campaigns.
- Inventory management system
This is an extremely important module, at the heart of the auction house. It provides tools to incorporate stock check-in workflow making sure all the lots are properly prepared for the sale. Business process management must guarantee stock is apprised, valuated, prepared, photographed and described before being allocated to a sale.
- Catalogues & sales
What it does: manages sales catalogues, sales transactions and integrations. With sales catalogues, users can allocate stock to sales. In sales transactions, auction bids are collected and sale decision registered along with the buyer identification, setting the final selling price. The catalogues should be able to be integrated into online sales systems, such as auction systems, tender or live interaction with physical auction rooms.
- Invoicing and accounting
At the core of the business is the invoicing and accounting platform – it should be integrated. This module should track all phases of the business. First, sales and purchase orders, which make stock acquisition easy along with commissions and fees or additional services. Then, the ability to convert sales orders into invoices and get a comprehensive view of all the receivables. Finally, turning a purchase order into a “payable to supplier” record, with the ability to see all payables pending payments.
All companies can improve their business by implementing an ERP solution, with multiple benefits to account for. There are so many operations and tasks involved in running a business that getting an individual application to manage each of them is too complex and most often inefficient. A core, unified system will improve tracking and reporting while automating tasks, which will make your employees more productive. In turn, that will translate into better customer service and increased sales, providing a stellar return on investment and, overall, a business ready to thrive.
Interested in making your auction house more profitable and easier to run? Feel free to contact us and test our quality of service.