Quick Guide to Requesting a Quote for ERP Solutions
Quick Guide to Requesting a Quote for ERP Solutions
Quick Guide to Requesting a Quote for ERP Solutions
Dec 14, 2021Jack Payne
If your business has chosen to lay the foundation for a digital transformation with an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, you’re likely feeling a mix of excitement and uncertainty. You’re eager to reap all the benefits of a purpose-built, cross-functional system, but also unsure of how much it will cost in terms of time, effort and—perhaps most significantly—financial resources.
You’ll be doing plenty of research to determine what platform is right for your organization, but determining just what you’ll pay to have the system implemented according to your specifications is also a critical part of doing your due diligence. Thankfully, most vendors are happy to provide you with an ERP price estimate, but they need a good idea of your requirements and desired configuration in order to calculate an accurate quote.
Here, we’ll be covering the key questions you need to be prepared to answer in order to get a precise figure with your ERP request for quote (RFQ), as well as some of the important decisions you’ll need to make during your solutions assessment process.
Key Questions to Answer to Get Your ERP Cost Estimate
Just as every business is different, every ERP implementation is unique in its own ways. As you begin to narrow down your list of solutions to consider and prepare to submit your RFQ, take time to think through your answers to the following questions.
Will You Be Deploying On-Premise or Via the Cloud?
Both on-premise and cloud ERP implementations have their benefits. If your company sees having the physical system on-site as a benefit, you can consider an on-premise deployment to keep everything in-house. That being said, at Aptean we recommend cloud deployments for a number of reasons.
First, you’ll avoid paying the up-front costs of purchasing and installing new hardware. Your employees will also have better access to the platform, needing only a WiFi connection and internet browser. And in the case of Aptean’s solutions, you’ll have greater reliability with our redundant servers and dedicated cloud support teams.
For further proof of the advantages that cloud implementations can deliver, consider that the recent IDC Food and Beverage Global Trends and Strategic Insights whitepaper commissioned by Aptean found that businesses with cloud setups experienced revenue growth of 3.3% and profit growth of 3.9% over the past year, compared to just 1.7% revenue growth and 2.7% profit growth for those with on-premise installations.
At How Many Facilities Will You Implement the Solution?
The answer to this question is likely straightforward. You probably want to deploy the new system at all of your facilities, as leaving any to operate on old or different software when others are using your new ERP will create confusion and hamper communication, visibility of data and overall effectiveness of the teams working with outdated solutions.
How Many Users Will You Need?
Each individual employee from your teams that you envision using the system with regularity will need to be set up as a unique user. Because ERP platforms are packed with features for just about every aspect of operations—from supply chain management and production planning to financials and accounting—both staff from the factory floor as well as the front office will need to be created as users.
Generate a list by starting with your most important stakeholders and managers—the people who will use the system day-in and day-out. Work your way down, determining the level of necessity based on the individuals’ main responsibilities. In the end, come up with a realistic number that doesn’t undershoot your needs.
Of course, change is part of the nature of business, so you should also work with the vendors you’re considering to understand if they’ll be able to include a clause in your service contract that allows for the addition of extra licenses after the initial go-live date. That way, you’ll be able to lock in your price based on current circumstances while maintaining flexibility for expansion down the road.
What is Your Desired Timeline and Go-Live Date?
ERP implementations, especially those that are larger in scale or more complicated in configuration, require significant time and effort. The initial deployment phase might take only a matter of months, but for a full roll-out, the process frequently takes more than a year—and all along the way, your business will be responsible for allocating the necessary staff, funds and coordination for each step in the journey.
Outside of the actual installation, you need to consider the time it will take for all of your teams to get up to speed with the new interface and all of the training that must be completed. Having a good approach toward change management will also be crucial. Try to be realistic with your goals, and work with your provider to create a solid plan and roadmap, complete with milestones.
What is Your Current Hardware Configuration?
Knowing what hardware and systems your company will be leveraging for this new ERP can also be important when providers are calculating a price quote. The process may take more time and require additional resources if your current solutions and equipment are outdated or deviate from what’s typical in your industry.
What Industry-Specific Functionalities Will You Need?
It’s vital that you find an ERP solution built for companies in your industry, but take time to think about the critical processes that are specific to the sector in which you operate. You likely have some highly specialized tasks that the system will need to accommodate through integrations or otherwise. Here are some examples:
In the world of food and beverage, the needs of a meat packing plant are different from those of a fresh produce distributor. Catch weight management is vital for the former, whereas consignment tracking is critical for the latter.
For industrial manufacturing operations, real-time planning and scheduling is vital for the flexibility that the industry requires. Many businesses in this space also need a shop floor execution module that facilitates automation of processes, real-time monitoring and a “why-late” view to identify issues on the line.
Process manufacturers deal with large batches of goods coming off their lines each and every day, so they need lot traceability features that allow them to know what materials ended up in which products and where they are headed in the supply chain.
Likewise, importers and distributors must have robust import management features to ensure the smooth shipping and receiving of overseas orders, as well as excellent tools for inventory management and forecasting to make sure that shortages don’t occur in peak periods.
Try to determine the equivalents in your line of business and communicate them to providers clearly. Or ask your provider for their guidance and recommendations on industry best practices.
What Compliance and Regulatory Requirements Apply to Your Industry?
Consumer and employee safety remain key concerns, with governments and regulatory bodies imposing requirements on businesses to ensure that both the products they sell as well as the working conditions for their staff do not pose unnecessary risks. Which pertain to your facilities, workers and goods will depend upon the industry your organization falls under and where your company operates.
These examples should illustrate this point:
Food and beverage manufacturers in the U.S. are subject to the regulations of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. An ERP built with automatic compliance checks helps these businesses stay within legal standards and avoid food safety emergencies and fines, making such features invaluable for continuity, brand reputation and financial health.
Chemical manufacturing businesses in the U.S. are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency and the provisions of the Toxic Substances Control Act. An industry-specific ERP system can help manage the testing documentation and results, as well as any pertinent Certificates of Analysis, to ensure compliance.
Distributors can face a number of different regulations, including the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and requirements enforced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and FDA. An ERP solution built for companies in this industry is critical for ensuring that all applicable standards are met, and chargebacks and EDI fees are correctly applied.
As part of your research leading up to submitting your request for a quote, you should ensure that the solution you’re considering is built with features that can help satisfy the specific requirements your business faces. After all, the additional work for both parties would be wasted if it’s discovered later in the process that a key compliance functionality is missing from the system.
Other Answers to Determine Internally Before Submitting an RFQ
Some additional questions you might have surrounding the RFQ process need to be answered by your leadership team based on your budget and overall approach to selecting the ERP solution that’s right for you. One such consideration would be when to request a quote from a solutions provider.
There are no set-in-stone best practices on this matter, but if your business must keep expenses for your implementation below a strict limit, it may be better to request a quote earlier in the process, perhaps before sending your request for proposal (RFP). On the other hand, if money is less of an issue compared to getting the ideal system, you might prioritize an RFP and product demo before taking that step.
You may also be wondering how many quotes you should request from different providers. Again, there is no hard-and-fast rule—your organization’s “short list” of top platforms to consider could have as many as 15 options, or as few as 3. What’s important is that your key stakeholders come together and determine what’s best in your unique circumstances and proceed accordingly.
Request Your ERP Quote from Aptean
At Aptean, we’ve made it easy to get a quote for the ERP system your company needs. All you need to do is fill out this simple form and select your desired solution from our suite of offerings, and a member of our team will be in touch to make sure the quote you receive is tailored to your circumstances.
We also offer other resources for organizations searching for a new business solution, such as our food ERP RFP template and Ultimate Guide to Digital Transformation. We’re passionate about getting organizations like yours ready for the future, and our offerings are among the best on the market for those looking to fully modernize and prepare for what’s next.
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