Choosing the Right Software Vendor for Your Manufacturing Business

When choosing the right manufacturing ERP vendor is just as important as selecting the right ERP system, your software evaluation must include an assessment of your vendor options. Among other things, you’ll need to be able to see through marketing claims to determine whether your vendor has the track record to be able to provide you with continuous support. With that in mind, we’ve outlined a few things to consider when choosing the right software vendor for your manufacturing business.

First, you’ll want to have a good sense of what your business actually needs. As part of your software evaluation, you should be considering the list of features you’d like to have versus the list of features you must have. Be honest and critical of your own needs. Figure out how the new ERP software will integrate with any software you currently use and make sure that your system is compatible with any new software solutions you add to it.

Too many available software systems offer more bells and whistles than most manufacturers would ever use, so it is important to be sure you aren’t overpaying and muddying the waters with features that don’t serve your purposes. Similarly, vendors offer different services and product values, so do your homework on which vendors will best meet your specific requirements.

Look ahead and consider scalability goals. Make sure that the vendor you choose can keep up with your business operations as they scale. Your ERP software and vendor need to be able to keep pace with you as you expand into new markets and grow your product offerings.

Don’t forget to check into the software provider’s pedigree, how long they’ve been around, and whether they have a good track record of servicing their accounts. How do their current customers rate them? Or are they a fly-by-night outfit that doesn’t have a proven track record yet?

Focus on your vendor’s credentials, partner certifications, and the health of the organization as best you can assess it. Be sure to look into other businesses that use the vendor for like software solutions and get a sense of their feedback.

Test drive the software while having an open conversation with your prospective vendor. You know the software and vendor look good for your business on paper, confirm it by taking advantage of a free trial period. Try before you buy, but make sure you understand the costs. Some software vendors charge for services that other vendors might offer for free, so be sure to look beyond the sticker price at areas like extended support contracts, service fees, costs for additional training, etc.

Double check to ensure that you maintain full ownership of your data in the event that you part ways with the vendor down the line. Collaborate with your vendor and get your KPIs in order before you agree to a contract. You should have agreed upon criteria by which you evaluate how well the new software is working for you. Work with your vendor to determine the best key performance indicators so you can collaboratively root out any issues before they become problems. Continue to reassess along the lines of the agreed upon KPIs.

The Epicor ERP system is among the most advanced, versatile and scalable ERP solutions for manufacturers. Epicor ERP offers full-service modules from customer relationship management to inventory and production management. For a successful ERP experience, your manufacturing company requires more than the ERP software itself, you need an established vendor who will review your business requirements, help migrate your data and train your employees, and much more.

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