Making the decision to roll out enterprise resource planning (ERP) software usually, comes after a long process of deliberation for any business. Opting to upgrade is not always as easy as flicking a switch, and requires an element of input from each department to be successful. However, it’s also important for businesses to ensure the solution they choose is right for their business, as the increasing amount of choices available caters to a variety of specific requirements.
With so many ERP options available, choosing the right package can be an overwhelming task. Many companies wrongly assume that any software will work well for their business, bringing with it the benefits that they have undoubtedly heard so much about – but failure to do some research ahead of the purchase could prove disastrous.
So, what is the most efficient way of finding the ERP solution that is best suited for your business? We have outlined several steps below.
Review your processes
ERP is a business initiative and should be treated accordingly. Therefore, it is important to define and document any current business processes, including strengths and weaknesses. While conducting this research, take some time to consider what your methods should look like in the future, and what requirements you are likely to have too. Doing this will help you to evaluate your company’s position both now, and in the future, therefore helping you to find a solution that is well suited for your needs.
Consider the technical fit of ERP
It is essential that businesses consider how the rollout of ERP will align with your current IT infrastructure. For example, if you are accustomed to using one type of solution, it is best to opt for a solution that will support and work alongside this. But remember, technology is evolving and adopting legacy software could pose real problems in the future.
Calculate the total cost of ownership
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Some businesses put off the rollout of ERP due to the associated costs. However, if you take some time to calculate this early on in the buying process, there shouldn’t be any surprises later on. It is much easier to accept potential costs at the beginning of the process, rather than after you have committed to a particular solution. Furthermore, take some time to discover any hidden costs – including implementation costs, software support, software upgrades, and software maintenance.
Keep an eye on the business benefits
Many businesses fail to recognise the impact ERP has on their operations because they do not measure the specific changes. It is possible your company is viewing ERP as a way of reducing costs, increasing revenue or scaling for growth, and you should estimate and measure benefits against these metrics if you are going to utilise ERP to its fullest potential.
Evaluate your options
Keep your options open when selecting an ERP solution. As we mentioned earlier, there are more vendor options available than businesses may initially believe; therefore it is important to consider every possible option when carrying out that all-important initial research. A considerable number of companies choose a solution based on the brand name, or what their competitors are going for, and fail to consider what will benefit them specifically truly. Organisations need to consider the options that are going to meet their unique requirements best and bring a competitive advantage.
Ask for advice
It can be all too tempting to believe every word uttered by the vendor when it comes to ERP, but we’d recommend looking further for advice. Speak to your colleagues, employees and other business contacts about what they would recommend. Also, take the time to conduct research online and look for failures as well as successes when it comes to each option. If you have little or no knowledge when it comes to ERP, find other sources of advice like industry analysts or publications.
Manufacturing businesses on the lookout for the right ERP solution are advised to carry out as much initial research as possible, delving deeper into the market and how this software can help, not other businesses, but you. Seek software demonstrations from multiple vendors and choose the right fit for your business based on what your needs. In the end, your ERP will only be a success if you can see and measure the benefits of the solution for your manufacturing operations.