As we enter another year, business leaders are beginning to think about implementing a new or updating their current Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution to enhance and streamline operations and processes. If you find your company’s current ERP system isn’t up to date with all the new technology innovations, like mobile or Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities, it may be time to move to an ERP system better designed to meet the challenges of manufacturing and distribution in the 21st century.
When evaluating your current ERP system, the primary focus should be whether or not it has features or functions that adequately support the businesses. Another focus should be how well your ERP solution can integrate with external systems, applications, customers, and suppliers to help manage the extended enterprise. Are there multiple-point solutions like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or Supply Chain Management (SCM) that you added on afterward and aren’t fully integrated into your ERP? This is important to consider while you’re in the process of evaluating your current ERP.
5 Features to Consider While Selecting a New ERP
Gathering information about ERP solution vendors in order to help the selection process go as smoothly as possible is another best practice you should consider when looking for an ERP system. Below are five steps to use when evaluating ERP vendors.
- Which vendor knows my industry the best? Will they keep up to date with technology changes or are they static when it comes to innovation?
- Do the vendor’s technology platform and architecture support my company’s IT strategy?
- Many vendors will claim to have the right functional fit for your company’s unique needs, the key here is to identify the vendor solutions that closely align with best practices in your industry.
- Does the vendor offer ERP support? This should include education and training programs along with maintenance and phone support, user groups, and partner networks.
- Many vendor prices initially appear similar, but there are several factors that can impact the cost, like annual support fees, implementation rates, and ongoing support. To make the most informed decision, look to understand the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) over a five-year period.
Transform with ERP
Sure, ERP systems may be a major investment, but not making the investment has an even bigger cost. While some companies choose to stick with their old habits that are proven to work, others seek technology platforms to help enhance efficiency. Investing in an ERP solution gives those businesses a greater competitive advantage by providing the following benefits:
360-degree view of business operations
There’s always a possibility that a customer may need to make a change in their order, and since you can never say no to a client, you have to improvise and figure out how to make the necessary changes AND make the original delivery date. With an ERP system, client changes won’t be as stressful because of the 360-degree view into your business—sales, customer service, planning, accounting, production, distribution, HR—they’re all integrated, and data is shared across all levels, all relevant departments are notified when the schedule or product changes.
Improved customer service
ERP systems usually tend to come with some sort of CRM application, along with sales, financials, and other front-office functions. The CRM function of an ERP is extremely important since the main way a business stays competitive and “in the game” is by obtaining returning customers – which results in profitability. For instance, sales and customer service department employees can communicate with customers better and improve relationships with them through faster, more accurate access to customers’ information and history that an ERP system provides.
Simple estimating and quoting
ERP software helps make reporting and quoting much easier and more customizable. With improved reporting capabilities, your company can respond to complex data requests more easily and users can even run their own reports without relying on help from IT. This saves your users time to use toward other, more important projects.
Better business decision-making with real-time info
One immediate impact of implementing an ERP solution is the systematic and uniform flow of business data and information across all departments in an organization. Being provided with this real-time information allows you to make better business decisions and ensures you that all the information and data is completely up to date and precise. Many business organizations get a step ahead in real-time analysis with complete access to standardized and reliable data.
A considerable number of businesses experience remarkable enhancements in their efficiency and overall productivity with investments in ERP solutions. An ERP system can help eliminate repetition in business processes and tedious manual tasks, as well as improve efforts following the implementation of an ERP software – which saves employees valuable time. This, plus so much more, allows them to focus better on other areas of business operations or processes that need improvement.
Looking for more? Download our ERP buyers guide for free and compare the top 24 products available on the market with full-page vendor profiles. The guide includes four key capabilities to look for in an ERP solution, plus five questions to ask yourself and five questions to ask the software provider before purchasing. It’s the perfect resource for anyone looking to find the right ERP for their business/organization.
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