What is the best ERP software? That’s a question with many answers—or no answer—depending on who is asking the question and what criteria the questioner has in mind.
The basic truth is this: most ERP solutions are more alike than different. But that is not to say that you can randomly choose any system from any of the top ERP software vendors and expect to get the same results. There’s a lot more to ERP than simply checking off the modules and functions and assuming they each “fill the square” in the same way.
Nevertheless, ERP is ERP and most systems cover the basic elements quite well—inventory and production, planning and scheduling, purchasing and customer orders, financials and costing and the rest. The devil, as they say, is in the details.
So, rather than ask what the best ERP solution is, ask what are the best ERP solutions for a company in your industry, of the size of your company, and with the objectives and needs of your company.
In a “textbook” ERP selection process, the company will survey the market and identify some number of candidates that offer an ERP solution that is appropriate for their size and industry—perhaps as many as a dozen “first cut” candidates. Some companies will limit their search to the top ten ERP software providers and others will limit the breadth of their initial search in other ways to arrive at a realistic number of candidates to start with. There are several selection tools and directory websites that can be very useful in compiling the first cut list.
Further research will whittle down the list to a more manageable number—say three to six. This is the “short list” of potential best ERP solutions for the company. More research, meetings, demonstrations, and reference checks will lead the company to the final selection of the “best” ERP solution for their particular situation and needs.
The final selection will likely hinge upon factors other than a simple feature/function comparison. The best ERP solution for your company will be the one that:
- Best addresses any specific or unusual processes or procedures, particularly those that might be competitive differentiators in your market.
- Is most “comfortable” for your users—meaning the look and feel that most closely resembles the way the users do their jobs. Consider how easy it is to tailor the user interface to make it more usable.
- Comes from a company with support resources that understand your industry and have successful implementations in your industry.
- Comes from a company with good financial stability and a history of product support and enhancement that promises to keep the system up-to-date with new technologies as they emerge.