Deciphering ERP – A Key to SMS Success

Businesses today are facing various pressures and competition, and SMEs must quickly adopt technology to increase their competitiveness.  Despite not being new and implemented by large firms for some time, SMEs can take advantage of Enterprise Resourcing Planning (ERP) to help increase their efficiency.  

Khun Suchada Khotsin, Director of the Industrial and Business Development Promotion and Support Department of the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa); Khun Prawit Charoenpattanatrakul, Marketing Division Manager, E-Business Plus Co., Ltd.; and Khun Kittipong Ruaifuphan, Marketing Director of both TTH Knitting (Thailand) Co., Ltd., a manufacturer of uniforms, and Hybrid Sports Co., Ltd., Thailand’s first running event registration platform recently shared their experiences and views on using ERP to manage orders and sales for SME businesses, along with tips on how to get depa promotions and support.  

ERP systems for SMEs 

Khun Kittipong reminisced about his adoption of an ERP system to optimize TTH Knitting and Hybrid Sport’s internal processes over ten years ago, at a time when his companies implemented package software.  At that time, each program operated separately, and the data in each system was not linked.  When a purchasing order was created, each department had to waste time checking information using several programs.  With a web-based ERP system data from different teams are linked, including raw materials, cost accounts, customer information, production to delivery, and payment collection.  Information is available in real-time, allowing companies to shorten processes and approve deals without paperwork. This not only reduces costs, but the system also helps calculate cash flow, merchandise management, raw material stocks, and more.  Overall management is more efficient.  

During the latest wave of the Covid-19 crisis, Khun Kittipong’s companies have fully implemented ERP for initiating call plans to contact customers in unaffected business groups, such as food, packaging, or cleaning.  Using an ERP to make a call plan helped him know how many customers have been contacted by his staff and the success rate compared to historical data. That data can be used to create a dashboard that enables him to see all the important data for executive decision-making.  The system also allows the use of historical data for analyzing past mistakes, such as prices, product specifications, sales teams, and other information. This data enables his companies to improve sales opportunities for existing customers as they are available on the ERP system.  Khun Kittipong suggested that a time when businesses are not making much progress is the right time to improve internal processes by using ERP to help increase operational efficiency in preparation for eventual economic recovery.


Pain points of using ERP

Khun Kittipong also mentioned the main reasons discouraging entrepreneurs from implementing an ERP system. Namely, they either do not know how to embrace IT or their staff does not have IT expertise.  Khun Kittipong suggested that business owners first need to change their mindsets.  An ERP system is not that difficult to use, and staff can learn and upskill.  Business owners should explore their problems. For example, by thoroughly exploring stocks, sales, accounting, and payrolls.  Companies need to identify their goals first and then tell the developer how to adjust the system to meet their needs and future business expansion plans.  Finally, systems can be customized to suit businesses of various sizes from big to small, including good after-sales service teams to provide advice and training.  

ERP system for SMEs

Established in 1986, E-Business Plus Co., Ltd. has transformed from selling accounting software to developing package software. Now, E-Business Plus has developed a platform that integrates e-commerce, digital payments, API web service, the Cloud, IoT, e-tax invoices, and mobile applications for both iOS and Android systems in a multi-language format.   The platform supports POS, ERP, HRM, and Van Sales Mobile, and has been designed to suit the uniqueness of different businesses, e.g., fashion, stationery, building materials, food courts, and more. 

Khun Prawit remarked that during the present era where social media plays an important role in reaching customers to offer products, E-Business Plus' ERP system can connect a store to social media, such as a LINE Official Account (LINE OA).  These features enable stores to integrate purchase orders from LINE OA, such as products, customer IDs, order numbers, and other relevant information to create a text file and upload it to the ERP system.  Information can be used for back-office management and to issue relevant documents.   Entrepreneurs selling products on e-marketplace websites like Lazada or Shopee can also link the information to the system as well.น

Most people view ERP systems as belonging to big brands like SAP or Oracle and doubt their practicality for Thai businesses.  In fact, the ERP process has been developed from document flows, allowing entrepreneurs to see the overall business through a real-time database.  These features can help increase efficiency, unlike in the past when different departments worked separately with documents and data that were not shared among different teams.  This gridlock can prevent companies from tracking their overall performance.  In addition, ERP can analyze historical sales, allowing companies to use that information to boost sales with existing customers. 

Khun Prawit added that SMEs should not be afraid of using technology.  Using package software is something that can be learned.  E-Business Plus has some 15,000 customers both in Bangkok and provinces.  Khun Prawit agreed with Khun Kittipong that this economic downturn is the right time to deploy an ERP system because when boom times return companies will be busy and have no time to learn or prepare data for uploading to an ERP system.  This lockdown period is thus the perfect time for implementing ERP for improving internal processes and efficiency to ready a business once the situation goes back to normal early next year.   

depa fully supports transformation

The Digital Economy Promotion Agency (depa) has a mission to steer Thailand toward a digital economy. Khun Suchada revealed depa's goals in driving four areas: 1) a digital workforce; 2) a digital economy supporting digital adoption from the Thai digital industry; 3) a digital society with digital communities to create jobs, generating income, and improving the quality of life; and 4) promoting digital infrastructure supporting digital innovation, aiming toward reinforcement and promotion of technology created by competitive Thai startups.  Digital transformation will target every economic driving mechanism, including agriculture, SMEs, industries, and communities.  depa also promotes the building of an accommodative ecosystem to create markets and develop cities.   All these factors will lead to an increase in employment rates, purchasing power, and quality of life, as well as strong communities and sustainable economic growth.  

depa also promotes digital startups by urging entrepreneurs to transform their operations, both front and back end and infrastructure, through a Mini Transformation Voucher project.  The campaign provides free funds in amounts of up to 10,000 baht to help small Thai SMEs enhance their business by digitalizing their businesses by applying technology and digital innovations to help create useful data for business management.   The funding is for software rental, system rental for at least six months, and hardware smart devices.  ERP systems are one of the ten digital technologies* that SME entrepreneurs participating in the project can receive funding for.

TTH Knitting received funds from depa for upgrading its system using LINE OA to help with sales.  Hybrid Sport has also adopted a Messaging API technology, using a chatbot to interact with customers via LINE, including an Auto Broadcast system to cater running events suitable for interested customers based on customer data, transaction history, and forecasts of possibilities.    

Interested customers can choose technology fitting their business needs at Thai SMEs registered as juristic persons or having commercial registration can apply for depa membership at, learn details, and participate in the project at

*The ten digital technologies eligible for the Mini Transformation Voucher project are 1) CRM (Customer Management System); 2) ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning for store management); 3) ACC (finance and accounting systems), 4) HRM (for Human Resource Management); 5) POS (point of sale systems); 6) E-commerce (online sales management systems); 7) Logistics (transportation systems); 8) Smart Farming; 9) Booking Engines (booking management systems); and 10) a Digital Tourism Platform only for community enterprises. 

Source: “Strengthening and Growing Business with depa and SCB’s Partners ” seminar on July 21, 2021