10 Questions to Ask Before Selecting Your Distribution ERP System – Part 2
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10 Questions to Ask Before Selecting Your Distribution ERP System – Part 2

This is the second part of the 2-part series entitled 10 Questions to Ask Before Selecting Your Distribution ERP System. Check out Part 1.

To recap, your distribution company has decided to invest in a new ERP system to drive growth and foster a competitive advantage for your distribution business. From Part 1, you’ve assessed old procedures, taking into account all your existing wastes and the structural issues that gave rise to them.

Now let’s dig into the questions to ask around about new procedures that will take hold once you make your ERP selection.

In what ways will the new ERP system support your new procedures?

If your operational procedures need a full overhaul, you must choose an ERP based upon new procedures rather than the old, outdated and ineffective processes – this can be trickier than it sounds.

We, as a people, tend to default to known ways of doing things. When implementing massive changes, it’s vital to maintain a circumspect view of all the changes throughout the organization.

Distribution ERP systems excel at giving users easy access to up-to-the-minute data analytics, but these insights will only serve the business if the data is reflective of new procedures and KPIs. Be sure to include every department, perhaps even select vendors and clients that will be affected by new processes.

Who will be most directly affected by the implementation of a new ERP?

ERP systems are extremely valuable tools for those people that will be the most affected by the ERP technology – the users. Before investing in a new ERP solution, it is important to have an understanding of who the primary, secondary, and even tertiary users will be.

A smooth transition from your old system to your new distribution ERP is never guaranteed, but understanding your users, how they will be affected and preparing for the transition will increase your chances.

What input do the primary users of the new system have for the selection process?

With the user base for the new ERP system determined, take the time to get input on their specific needs and concerns surrounding the new processes.

An ERP system can shine on paper to company leadership, but they are not in the trenches and wouldn’t necessarily understand the day-to-day job processes the way the staff would.

Calling the shots from solely from the C-suite and its understanding of the theoretical impact a new ERP can have on the business can be disastrous, so be sure to consult with your affected personnel early and often in the process.

As a bonus, this kind of collaborative selection process helps personnel feel their input is valued by management and incentivizes their engagement with the process and the company as a whole.

Beyond the users of the system, how will the ERP change the business for employees?

Wholesale distribution ERP systems help to root out waste. As a result, you may discover that certain individuals are—from their perspective—negatively impacted by your operations growing more efficient.

What will be the greater impact of implementing a new ERP on the staff within your distribution business? Whose jobs will be streamlined and made easier and how will that happen? Some roles may become redundant or unnecessary so don’t get blindsided by resulting changes to existing employees’ capacities.

What steps have you taken or still need to take to ready your company for distribution ERP?

Any project as large as implementing a distribution ERP system takes significant preparation, so here are some additional questions to ask:

  • Have you selected a project team and a leader to spearhead the endeavor?
  • Are your department heads and various stakeholders in implementation aligned with the mission and intended outcome of the project?
  • Is your HR team prepared to field and address concerns from your personnel?
  • Have you developed KPIs for implementation to assess how the process is going?

An ERP project represents a significant investment for most distribution companies, so the need to ensure the ERP selection process leads to a successful deployment and user-adoption is ever-present.

As you embark on your ERP journey, the number of questions for which you’re expected to get answers can be overwhelming, but we can help!

With the right approach to your ERP planning, you and your team will be able to effectively manage internal expectations and get better results.

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