Evaluating Your Software Options for Your Manufacturing Business
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Evaluating Your Software Options for Your Manufacturing Business

Choosing the correct ERP software solution is a major strategic business decision with long-term implications. While most businesses spend time and resources evaluating the efficacy of newly implemented software, it is vital that this same focus is brought to evaluating your ERP software options prior to the point of purchase.

When Does Your Business Need ERP Software?

It’s hard to know when it’s the right time to invest in ERP software. Businesses typically benefit from ERP software under the following conditions:

  • There is room to make operational processes leaner and more efficient or to automate them entirely.
  • Your manufacturing is done locally.
  • Your vendors are local.
  • You tend to discover problems in operational efficiency after they’ve become issues as opposed to rooting them out in advance.
  • Your current software solutions are not integrated with one another.
  • You need faster access to information about your businesses and operations to make wiser decisions.
  • You have to be onsite to access operational data.
  • You have any degree of trouble determining your current inventory.
  • There is limited collaboration between teams within your business.
  • You tend to struggle with finding solutions to improve productivity and efficiency.
  • You struggle to keep up with new regulatory challenges.

If more than five of the above apply to you, the time has come to begin assessing your ERP vendor options.

Cloud-Based vs. On-Premises ERP Deployment

When you’ve determined the time is right for ERP solutions, you have the option of choosing between cloud-based and on-premises ERP. The comparative benefits of each deployment method are broken out as follows:

Cloud-Based

  • No local hosting necessary for software
  • Easy access to ERP onsite or offsite
  • Enterprise-grade cloud security
  • Flexible guided configuration and implementation
  • Lower software investment costs

On-Premises

  • Hosted locally
  • Managed by in-house IT personnel
  • Autonomy in ERP configuration and implementation
Which Solution Is Right for You?

Evaluation of ERP vendors and deployment options is a multi-step process.

  • The first step in evaluating ERP solutions is to get organizational leadership on the same page with how to evaluate ERP options according to what makes sense for your business. Be critical about what isn’t working in your operations which could prevent you from scaling effectively.
  • Second, determine the standard criteria by which all potential vendors will be evaluated (eg. cost, deployment features, etc.).
  • Third, solicit and schedule consultations and demonstrations with reps and experts with the products on your radar. Using the information they give you, narrow down to a small handful of the solutions that seem best to you.
  • Fourth, schedule time to follow up with your shortlist of vendors. Make sure to prepare a list of outstanding questions or concerns in advance.
  • Fifth, seek out other companies that have implemented software from your potential vendors and learn about their experiences. How has their experience of the software been? Has the vendor been responsive and supportive regarding any issues that occurred?
  • Finally, once you’ve selected your ERP vendor, set quantitative and qualitative assessment criteria for implementation within your business. This will allow you to track issues as they may arise and work with your vendor to sort them out quickly.

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