Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) has become the primary way for businesses to efficiently handle day-to-day operations. Instead of utilizing multiple programs to handle accounting, payroll, inventory, and manufacturing, and ERP combine all of these into one application. In turn, a workflow is established that helps increase operational efficiency.
The Right ERP
While the ERP can be a boom to your business, finding the right one can be a challenge. Though there’s not a perfect solution, the resource planning tool you choose should be as close to the requirements as possible. To help make the right decision, here are some considerations to examine.
Determine What You Need
You may have an idea of what you want in an ERP, but is it written down? If not, it needs to happen sooner than later. First, making a physical list solidifies the critical needs. Second, it permits others within your organization to contribute to their qualification.
In the end, making the selection process a team effort must be mandatory. What you want to see in an ERP may not match what your inventory or account managers want. Once you all get on the same page, choosing an ERP becomes much simpler.
Hire a Consulting Firm
Should an ERP be needed sooner than later, then you might not want to select it on your own? Doing so while in a desperate mindset can lead you to select a program that is not only expensive but also doesn’t meet your needs. In this environment an ERP consulting company is necessary.
This type of firm works with your organization to get down to the essential ERP components needed today and the ones required for the future. When the picture solidifies, the consulting company will provide a set of ERPs to examine.
Ease of Use and Data Integration
ERP is a new way for your business to operate. Thus, it needs to be simple to use at the time of rollout. The user interface has to interpret the needs of all users. Particularly those who are not technically savvy.
Furthermore, it must smoothly integrate data from other applications into its own database. The ERP company should never come to you with news that their software and what you currently use are incompatible. In that case, consider another company.
Your business isn’t going to remain static. Eventually, it will expand. When it does, other ERP components are going to be required. Hence, both the software and the company that owns it has to be prepared to grow with you.
We’re not talking about software updates. The ERP must be scalable. In other words, dynamic instead of static. It’s an important factor to discuss with the software company and the ERP consultants. In fact, both should already realize this is going to happen.
Reviews and Free Trials
The last items to consider are as important in creating an initial list of requirements. ERP salespeople will try to make their software seem like the best solution for you. While it might look that way on the surface, the real way to determine its usefulness is to seek out reviews.
The company website should have these available. In addition, other ERP or tech-based sites probably have information. If not, ask the sales representative for a list of current customers. Thank them and escort them out the door if they deny this request.
Should the reviews be positive, the next step is to ask for a free trial with a significant testing period. A seven-day trial does not help you make a concise decision. However, 30 days or more can solidify the direction you want to go to. Again, if this isn’t offered, then seek out another ERP.
In conclusion, ERP is an enormous investment in money, time, and training for your organization. Take the advice above to make the right decision.