How to Select Small-Business ERP Software

Topics: ERP Software Integration

Posted On Sep 4, 2018 11:48:00 AM by Mike Stadelman

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How will you select your ERP software?
So, you're interested in a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to replace some of the ways you run your fabrication or custom manufacturing shop. However, you find a quick Google search identifies a dizzying array of choices, many of which are expensive, too large and don't quite match up what your business needs. You're looking to improve operations and profit margins; making the best decision on new ERP software can make all the difference in your long-term success. There's a lot of noise out there regarding ERP, and there are various ways of selecting and implementing the software that don't necessarily apply to your business.

 "Create a selection committee?" "Find super-users?" Getting started can be confusing; the following are some basics you should establish when selecting new manufacturing ERP software.

"How many invoices or reports do you create by hand or spreadsheet?"

The things that need fixing
Start by assessing all the business processes you have, including the ones that require paperwork. After all, the software can automate manual, time-consuming manual reporting processes. You need to ask yourself, "what needs improvement?" For example, do you have specific processes that are exclusive to your shop? Are you needing to make timely decisions for customers based on specific reports? Do you have to follow current and new regulations that require a more extensive paper trail? How many reports do you have to write by hand or spreadsheet?

In all these questions you will find the issues ERP business software is designed to address. Answering them provides you direction in finding software best suited to your manufacturing company. It's important to remember that many platforms like Exact JobBOSS are designed specifically for discrete or job-shop manufacturing.

The right stuff
Once you have an idea of the business processes you want addressed, the next step is to identify basic requirements for the software so that you can make a reasonable decision. Price will certainly be a primary concern, but there are other factors to consider. For example, you have a choice between using the cloud or keeping the software on-premise. According to a recent report by Aberdeen Research, "Over the last 6 years, interest in cloud solutions has increased by 22% and decreased by 29% for on-premise solutions." This simple comparison chart outlines the difference between the two.

Beyond that, functionality is a key consideration. Going back to those questions you asked yourself about "What needs improvement," the answers should point to the essential functions of the ERP software. From there, you can establish what you want the software to do for you. That alone can make a difference on which system you decide on. Industry experience also matters, since you may need something very specific changed, and a skilled vendor will oftentimes already have a solution for you. Finally, you should ask about any training the vendor offers, since it's likely you'll be unfamiliar with the way such software works. All of these can lead to a sound decision on the manufacturing ERP software that is right for your business.

See our Manufacturing ERP Software Webinars for more information.

Topics: ERP Software Integration

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