So you’re considering a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system for your company.
You have a long list of grievances with the way things are currently running in your company, and you’ve been dazzled by the promises that an ERP system will help your operation run more smoothly and help you increase profits.
And it will — if you select the right ERP system and if you actually use it.
Selecting the right ERP system is going to take a good deal of research and time. But if you do your homework right, you’ll solve many of your company’s problems.
Make a Plan
Before you go knocking on ERP vendors’ doors, gain a thorough understanding of your company’s requirements. This should be an extensive process, so plan to spend a good chunk of your time on it.
You’ll need to speak to the end users, as well as your IT department. Get a solid understanding of the needs of each department, and make sure you communicate those needs when you’re speaking to vendors. Don’t assume anything; be detailed and clear.
The smart way to do this is to create a narrative, rather than a checklist. Write down your processes: “When we create an invoice, first we do this. Then we do that. If we encounter this challenge, we handle it in that way.”
This will help you identify the features you really need, and not get caught up in the wrong direction. When you’re talking to vendors, ask them to show you a demo of a specific narrative so you can see how it functions.
And think of the end: Consider what you hope to be able to gauge from the system. This will help you determine if an ERP system will offer the reporting and metrics you need to manage your company and make future decisions.
The Importance of Industry Specific ERP Systems
When you begin shopping for an ERP system, don’t waste time with vendors who know nothing of your industry.
An industry-specific system will already have many of the tools and features you need for your door and hardware distribution, window and door manufacturing, commercial building materials, division 10 distribution, specialized commercial equipment, or security business.
Talk to Other Customers
Ask your potential vendor for references from past customers, and ask the customers to tell you what worked well and what could have been improved.
You can also ask colleagues in your industry association for ERP system recommendations. Ultimately, you’ll need to make the decision that best suits your specific company, but listening to those who have been there/done that will help you focus your search.
Consider the Changes the ERP System will Make on Personnel
A new ERP system will likely cause many current jobs to be reconfigured — or even eliminated. Carefully consider how the culture of your company is going to be altered with the new system.
Appoint a Project Manager
You’ll need someone within your company who will understand the new ERP system inside and out, and who can act as point of contact for all employees. This person should also be able to work with the vendor and coordinate training.
Choose one of your best employees for this position so the transition will be handled smoothly and you can avoid delays.
Put Time and Resources into Training
Transitioning to a new ERP system is a huge deal. If you don’t put time and resources into training your employees on how to use it, it will be a waste.
You’ll need to train your employees during transition, and you’ll also need to schedule regular time to stay on top of training once the system is in use.
Learn More About ERP Systems
Implementing a new ERP system can be challenging, but also rewarding. Learn more from ContractERP. We’ll answer any questions you have.