How to Build Your Own ERP System: 5 Steps to Follow During Development

19 Oct 2020
10 min
author avatar
Katherine O.

An enterprise resource planning or ERP is a piece of software that helps companies manage multiple business processes from one place. It can be accounting, logistics, inventory management, human resources, or whatever else. Building an ERP system lets companies take care of the entire chain of business processes.

Quick stats:

  • The total ERP market size is expected to reach $49,5 billion by 2024.
  • The ERP market size in North America has already exceeded $10 billion.
  • 49% of companies make improvements to the business processes.

Why is ERP so popular? ERP solutions let you polish workflows and so stop losing money. In this guide, you’ll learn more about ERP systems and find out how to develop ERP software.

Table of contents

Few Words About ERP

Enterprise resource planning or ERP is the process of managing all business components and departments. ERP systems make interactions between core processes easily manageable.

Where to use ERP:

  • Marketing
  • Human resource management
  • Finance management
  • Project management
  • Compliance monitoring
  • Business intelligence
  • Automated reporting

There are two types of ERP systems — out-of-the-box and custom. The first type stands for software built for the mass market offering no or little customization opportunities. It means that every company would have to adjust such software for their processes and spend time and money to train employees. As for custom ERP, this solution is modified by an organization’s software engineers to better fit into the company's processes and become more convenient to work with.


Learn the ERP system basics: must-have modules, architecture, and examples.

Many companies develop ERP systems for internal use. The primary benefit of using a custom ERP system is an opportunity to link a variety of processes and deliver better efficiency to the entire company. For example, the ERP system can let users track the full revenue cycle — from invoices to cash recipients.

How to build ERP system


Reasons to Use ERP Systems

With ERP software companies can optimize their workflows, reducing time and expenses.

Here are several benefits of ERP for business:

  • Business process automation. ERP allows putting internal company processes on autopilot. Human resource management, financial management, customer relationship management and the list goes on.
  • Data-driven decisions. ERP offers real-time data that is profitable for marketing, management, and accounting. For instance, it’s possible to add a precise lead analysis feature for your sales department. As a result, it’s possible to make balanced decisions faster.
  • Improved collaboration. Employees can collaborate more effectively having access to all necessary company data instead of using separate databases for each department.

Out-of-the-Box vs. Custom-Made ERP System: What Is the Difference?

There are two options with ERP software — an out-of-the-box system or a custom solution.

The first option stands for buying an ERP system from vendors. It can be a one-time payment for license or subscription. Custom-made ERP means building ERP from scratch according to your requirements.

Out-of-the-Box ERP: Benefits and Drawbacks

Software as a service providers offer various ERP systems for businesses of any size. For example, Acumatica, Sage Intacct, and SAP Business One are perfect for small and middle businesses. Also, there are solutions like Oracle NetSuite, SAP S/4 HANA, and Microsoft Dynamics for larger companies.


I’ve already touched the SaaS app development topic and revealed its price. Follow the link to learn more.


  • Budget-friendly. Third-party ERP systems tend to have a monthly or yearly fee. For example, SAP ERP charges $94 per user, per month and $3,000 for the license. If the company has 100 employees, the ERP system will cost $12,400 per month.
  • Proven quality. SaaS providers pay attention to product quality and continuously update the product.
  • Faster to deploy. Having a small or middle company, you can integrate the software quite fast. However, enterprises can face integration difficulties due to many parts of the product. Your developers can customize parts of the system, manipulating with source code and APIs (this process is usually time-consuming).


  • Functionality gaps. Out-of-the-box ERPs usually can’t fulfill all business requirements. That’s because they’re built for a mass market rather than a specific company.
  • Licensing fees. To use the third-party ERP system, you need to buy a license that can be quite expensive. For example, the Netsuite base license costs $1,000 per month.

Custom-Made ERP Software: Benefits and Drawbacks

Developing ERP systems, you can create an organization-specific software and avoid rebuilding workflows just to use software from vendors. It’s possible to add any features you need for finance management, supply chain management, or whatever else.


  • Customization. Third-party solutions can have features that you don’t need. In the case of custom development, you only add the necessary functionality.
  • Required features. It’s possible to develop features for each department. For example, you can create a precise lead analysis feature for your sales department.


  • High cost. Custom ERP development might cost you a pretty penny. It’s complicated to calculate the final price because it depends on requirements and the project’s overall complexity.
  • Development time. As ERP systems cover the entire company’s work, they’re pretty large. So, the development time is extensive. Not talking about continuous support.

How to Make an ERP: Steps to Follows

Building an ERP from scratch seems to be the right investment for many companies. Out-of-the-box software can’t provide the set of features every company in the world needs to do their business effectively. That’s why building ERP software can save a lot of money in the long-term.

Let’s find out how to make an ERP software step by step.

How to build ERP

How to develop ERP from scratch

Step #1. Define Your Company’s Goals and Requirements

To get a quality and useful product, you need to describe your goals and requirements for the development team. It'd be good to communicate with employees from different departments to figure out their problems and think of how to solve them with ERP.

A quality custom ERP system should be able to manage data flows of different activities (like sales, planning) and automate routine processes. Some enterprises have specific requirements, while the majority want to include such business activities as:

  • Sales
  • Financing
  • HR
  • Distribution or delivery
Want to build ERP?
Get consulted by our Solutions Architect on ERP development for your company. It’s free of charge.

Step #2. Dive into UI/UX Design

Design is a significant part of any project. Speaking about an ERP system, UI/UX design should be user-friendly and straight-forward. ERP software usually has several user roles and multiple navigation buttons, charts, and other elements.

It’d be a good idea to craft wireframes and think over the user flow before getting to UI design.


Wireframes stand for a schematic representation of the future interface that shows the main elements of the app.

Once ready, it’s time to move on with fonts, buttons, and other details. Your design team shouldn’t overload the ERP software with unnecessary details. It’s better to lay on simplicity.

Building ERP

Wireframes example

Step #3. Consider the Tech Stack

How to create an ERP system and make it stable? You need to choose a robust tech stack.

The tech stack depends on the chosen platforms. So, if you create an ERP for desktop platforms, developers will use C++ or C# (Windows) and Swift or Objective-C (macOS).

For the web version, software engineers use Angular, Bootstrap, JavaScript, and Node.js.

To give you a hint, there’s a list of required technologies to build an ERP.


Note: You should consult with professionals to choose the tech stack for your ERP system. The final toolset always depends on your technical needs and project requirements.

Building ERP: tech stack

Required tech stack to build ERP

Step #4. Integrate ERP Modules

During the development, it's common to use various third-party integrations. Developers can integrate services like G Suite, Office 365, and others into your ERP system. Software engineers use different APIs from third-party services to access the data and display it in the ERP system.

Popular third-party services to integrate into ERP:

  • G Suite
  • Office 365
  • FreshBooks
  • Jira
  • Salesforce
  • SAP

Step #5. Review the Final Product

Building ERP from scratch, you need to test each part of your product. The development team should have several QA engineers to test the system. They test the system to find and fix all the bugs.

It’s a good idea to involve your employees in testing ERP software. They’re the best beta-testers who’d tell you weak sides of the system.

How to Create ERP Software [Checklist]

  • Step 1. Consider why you need to build a custom ERP software.
  • Step 2. Develop your vision of the system.
  • Step 3. Meet with department chiefs to create a list of the required functionality.
  • Step 4. Make a decision where to host your custom ERP solution.
  • Step 5. Form an in-house team or get a software development company to help you develop the ERP system.
  • Step 6. Calculate the required time and cost to build the solution.
  • Step 7. Start the development phase.
  • Step 8. Test how well it integrates with the company’s business processes.
  • Step 9. Deploy and enjoy.
Make ERP system

ERP system example (Source: Dribbble)

How Much Does It Cost to Build Your Own ERP?

The ERP cost may vary between $25,000 and $350,000. In some cases, it may take even more to build a custom ERP system. Everything depends on its complexity and your requirements.

If you have a team of in-house developers, it won’t be hard to calculate the price to build an ERP.

The costs to build an ERP system may start at $25,000 and exceed $150,000. So, it's better to contact the IT service provider to specify details and request more precise numbers.

Find out the cost of ERP
Tell us about your project idea and get a tech consultation at no charge.

The cost of ERP is impressive. So, the question arises: what does this cost form? Here’s a list:

  • Project complexity. It’s obvious that complicated projects cost more. Developers need more time to build the required features not talking about a higher qualification.
  • Development team. There are three options to cooperate with software developers — cooperate with freelance developers, create an in-house team, or find a reliable vendor. In our experience, in-house developers or outsourcing software development companies are the most suitable option for ERP building. Freelancers tend to fail deadlines. Also, it’s quite complicated to check the code unless you're a tech guru.
  • Region. Software development cost varies depending on the region. However, the qualification depends on the region. For example, companies from North America charge the highest rates. On the contrary, Asian software companies have the lowest rates, but the product’s quality and customer service are often questionable.
  • Seniority level. It’s common to divide mobile app developers into three categories depending on their work experience — junior, middle, and senior ones. Creating an ERP system, it’s better to hire middle or senior developers. They are experienced in various technologies.

How We Can Help: Cleveroad Expertise

Cleveroad is a software development company located in Eastern Europe. Our development team has a solid tech background in developing scalable business solutions based on their requirements.

Here is one of our latest projects — RetailOps.

We’ve developed this project for two platforms — iOS and desktop.

RetailOps is a powerful SaaS solution for retail. It offers a bunch of cool tools for retail companies like warehouse and inventory management.



Frequently Asked Questions

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(730 ratings, average: 4.93 out of 5)
07.10.2020 at 17:06
Hi I'm hopefully opening soon a new business and my vision and aim is the systemized processes so it'll be capable to scale up in no time, I'm now working on my ERP structure and bumped into this article wouldn't mind to clarify a point or 2 with someone. Thanks Ben
Vitaly K.
12.10.2020 at 14:41

Hi, Ben! Please, fill in this form and we'll contact you back soon.

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