As more and more firms look to acquire manufacturing ERP applications, many of them struggle to find the right solution from the right provider at the right price. There are countless vendors out there offering a variety of manufacturing ERP solutions that they claim are “the best” or “the most cost-effective.” So how can manufacturers determine what to purchase, who to get it from, and how to most effectively deploy it?
The tips below will help to dramatically simplify the selection and purchase process, and they will help your business find the manufacturing ERP software system for your needs.
The best way to determine if a manufacturing ERP software vendor can effectively meet all your needs is to issue a request for proposal (RFP). These documents ask targeted, pointed questions about a solution’s features and functionality and inquire about the vendor, its financial stability, its customer base, and the value-added services it offers.
RFPs also clarify fees and pricing structures, so you’ll know exactly what a solution will cost. Be sure to include a complete checklist of all the capabilities you require, as well as any existing or legacy systems the manufacturing ERP application will need to integrate with.
Like most manufacturers, increases in sales, profits, and market share are probably all on your list of key organizational objectives. Therefore, these goals need to play a big role in your manufacturing ERP strategy. Be sure the manufacturing ERP solution you choose is highly scalable and expandable, so it can easily grow and adapt in the future as your needs change.
Solid experience and in-depth expertise in industry-related processes and activities will clearly differentiate one manufacturing ERP vendor from another. Look for one who has worked closely with several companies who have business models that are somewhat like yours. Ask to speak to existing customers within your industry or with similar production and supply chain processes, and discuss their experiences with both the manufacturing ERP software and the vendor’s service and support teams.
Nothing like a hands-on trial period can help you determine whether or not a manufacturing ERP solution will deliver tangible, measurable value to your business.
Any reputable vendor who is confident in their offering should be willing to let you test drive the manufacturing ERP application for a brief period (typically 60 or 90 days), so you can see how it works in real-world scenarios.
Once you’ve selected the manufacturing ERP software system that meets all your needs, you’ll need to decide how it will be deployed. Many manufacturing ERP vendors will give customers the option of purchasing the software and installing it at their own location, or “renting” applications that are already implemented at the vendor’s site and accessing them as a service via the Web.
While each approach offers advantages, companies must carefully consider the pros and cons and decide whether on-site or hosted manufacturing ERP applications are the best choice for their specific requirements.