Selecting ERP software that best serves your company does not have to be the stuff of magic or dreams. It may feel overwhelming to consider all the permutations, but in actuality it simply takes a solid process—consisting of analysis, group input and collaboration, careful planning and preparation, and maybe some consultancy or customization if needed—to identify software that will bring your company to a level of functionality that allows everyone to sleep at night. - Kelly B. Keller, VP Marketing, SupplyChainBrain
For mid-sized manufacturers looking to evolve and considering a new or upgraded ERP system - I came across this document the other day from the TEC: TEC 2014 ERP for Midsize Manufacturers Buyer's Guide. It is a very comprehensive guide well worth the read if your are a midsize manufacturer looking to upgrade or replace your ERP system.
The following are some excerpts to help summarize this guide:
ERP for Midsize Manufacturers
Small to mid-sized manufacturers often reach a certain point in their development where they face a new type of challenge: transforming themselves from a manually managed businesses (Paper / Excel) to structurally and scalable organizations that have the working attributes of professionally managed businesses.
In reality, however, in many fast-growing medium-sized manufacturing businesses, management is more concerned with daily operations and technical details than with how to further the company’s strategic development and global and long-term vision. This often occurs because the company owners are transformed into managers but still hold onto their previous views and perspectives. Busy with daily routine, founders may not realize the urgency of such strategic exercises, and therefore they may not choose the right time and conditions to start taking more strategic decisions.
Typical ERP Evaluation Considerations
- Legacy system upgrade versus new system
- What implementation strategy to follow
- Vertically-focused versus generic ERP
- Best-of-breed solutions versus a single all-inclusive ERP system
- Large global ERP vendor versus smaller counterparts
- Large ERP vendor relationships with partners
Cloud, On-premise, or Hybrid
In general, businesses today are looking for a new generation of solutions that won’t be as burdensome and self-centric as traditional heavyweight ERP software systems. Manufacturing businesses would prefer not to be distracted by IT issues and ERP software challenges. By its nature, cloud-based business software allows companies to concentrate on their core business rather than on maintaining their own complex and expensive IT structure. But the truth is that cloud ERP is not a panacea for manufacturers.
- TCO - Total Cost of Ownership
- Data Ownership and Security
- Adaptability and Configurability
- Available Functionality
- Implementation and Maintenance
- Flexibility and Scalability
- Web-Based / Mobile
- Infrastructure / Redundancy
Bottom-Line: Midsize Manufacturers have a plethora of options when it comes to ERP. The harsh reality is that upgrading or implementing a new ERP system is going to be a very painful process. For organizations that need assistance and guidance going through this process, it is highly recommended to engage with a third-party consulting firm or outsourced project manager to develop the processes and procedures to keep your ERP project focused and on track.
If you're currently going through this process and want to have a conversation on challenges you are facing - Let's Chat!