How to Compare ERP Systems

Posted by Stephen Whitehouse on 9 Jul

erp-software
As a small to medium sized manufacturing and distribution firm seeking to install or upgrade an enterprise resource planning software (ERP) package, you may well feel overwhelmed. Not only are the systems involved complex, but your options seem limitless. So how to compare ERP software and get the system that's just right for your company?

Ultimately, it's all about identifying the package that both meets your needs and is within your budget, and working with a quality solutions provider. Here's a look at how to go about it.

Comparing ERP Softwarecompareerp

Direct comparison of ERP software packages is difficult because they come in a range of architectures, operating systems and configurations. Some are customised for a particular company or industry, others are modular allowing users to choose individual components. Some run on open source software, others on proprietary software from firms such as Microsoft. However, as a rough rule, here are the key factors you should look out for.

Core Components and Modules

However much ERP systems may seem to vary, they all work in the same way. Each requires a central database to hold data sourced from around the organisation, and programs to process that data and distribute the resulting knowledge to the decision makers that need it.

When looking at potential systems for your firm, be sure your chosen package can handle everything you require it to do. Depending on your business type, setup and objectives, you may need to focus on advanced accounting and buying modules, strategies to implement lean manufacturing, or ecommerce integration, for example. In addition, you may need to consider how important such matters as mobile integration are to your particular operation.

Moreover, be sure your chosen system offers adequate power and capacity. The last thing you want happen is server overload or to run out of storage space during a mission critical operation.

Budget

Cost control is a major consideration for any business and installing an ERP system involves a major outlay. However it's one that will pay its investment back many-fold. For this reason, you need to see your ERP installation as an investment, not as an expense.

Generally the more you pay, the more powerful and sophisticated the system. But never shop purely on price. Remember, you're not buying a commodity but a customised solution that will deliver immeasurable value to your business and is vital for your future success and profitability.

So while working within your budget, it's important that you acquire just the right ERP software for your needs. And don't forget to factor in future expansion. You need a system that's scalable and adaptable to accommodate any future expansion and diversification.

Vendor Reputation and Experience

It's important to realise that most ERP failures are caused by poor planning, user training and support rather than any flaw in the system or software itself. This makes choosing your ERP provider the most important decision you'll make. You need to choose a company with a proven track record, who understands your industry and can talk your language.

Installing and using ERP is a long term commitment in time and resources so you need a solutions provider who will stay the course and offer any support you need in the form of updates, upgrades or servicing. You also want to work with a firm that offers rigorous planning and training in the use of your new system. Ultimately, comparing and choosing the right ERP software involves finding and working with a provider that's a partner and not just a vendor.

Manufacturing Case Studies

 

Topics: ERP Software

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