How to Shop Smart for a New ERP

October 10, 2018

Posted by Jack Payne

ERP, Manufacturing, Food & Beverage, Workarounds

 

Managing growth is one of the greatest challenges facing manufacturers today. An ERP system has to both manage today’s business requirements, as well as be able to support the growth of the company.

Many organizations are using extensive software customization to extend a system beyond its intended usage, leading to workarounds, or temporary ways to move forward without actually solving the problem. These workarounds are typically outside the system of record, creating inefficiencies and resulting in a lack of transparent information across the enterprise. They often do not scale, inhibiting growth in their own right.

Workarounds mortgage the future to support the present. A recent Aptean study found that these temporary fixes not only make it difficult to make informed decisions, but also hinder technology and performance improvements.

Sound familiar? It may be time to start looking for a replacement ERP. As you consider whether or not it’s appropriate to upgrade your ERP, it’s critical to a take a fresh new look at your selection criteria to find a system that will fit your needs now and years from now.

Here are three critical factors that should be on your shortlist when replacing your ERP systems.

Functionality and Ease Of Use

According to Aberdeen, the top two selection criteria are ease of use and functionality. Your ERP system should take advantage of the latest technology while providing a user-friendly experience. If the system is not easy to use, people will resist it, possibly creating workarounds and limiting value to the company. A solution that has the functionality to address current and future business requirements will ensure that your company operates efficiently, maintains process standards, and supports future growth.

Support

The average lifespan of an ERP solution is seven to 10 years, so you will want a beneficial long-term relationship. Support should come from both the vendor community and the user community.

Make sure the vendor displays a commitment to training and continuous improvement. Find out if there are webinars, workshops, and other events where you can gain further insight into how to best utilize the solution. Examine the product roadmap to determine scalability.

The user community can be a tremendous source of support. Other users with experience can provide a wealth of knowledge and advice to glean even more information from the system. While the products may differ, the pain points may be similar; willingness of other users to share insight to help shorten your learning curve is invaluable.

Total Cost of Ownership

Many top-performing organizations recognize that cost should not be the primary driver. Any savings will be quickly washed away if the solution doesn’t address the key business requirements and achieve the intended benefits.

In addition to considering license fees and implementation costs, evaluate the expense of any necessary customizations and ongoing maintenance. Balance these with the cost savings of any workarounds that will be eliminated. Careful consideration regarding functionality will ensure that you are implementing a solution that supports your key business requirements.

Replacing a legacy system can be a daunting project, but the investment is well worth the money and energy. For more of Jack Payne’s tips on how to select a new ERP, read the full article at Food Manufacturing.