The manufacturing industry is an area where enterprise resource planning software use is extremely common. In fact, research from Aberdeen Group shows 72 percent of manufacturers use ERP in some way to aid operations and improve efficiency. This is indicative of both the usefulness of such programs and the origin of ERP in the manufacturing field, as these platforms were first used in that industry before ERP caught on in any others. Despite this commonality, selecting ERP and managing both implementation and continuing use can be difficult if businesses don't adequately plan out the entire process.
Here are a few pieces of advice for organizations to make the most of the selection and installation processes:
- On some level, you'll have to compromise: No single ERP platform can provide every single minute feature that a company desires from a system. That isn't to say that some platforms can perform on a very high level and address all applicable needs, but having an unreachable golden standard only complicates the process. Instead of desiring everything from ERP software, create a priority list that flows from absolute necessity to less-needed categories like "potentially beneficial in the future." This approach also helps keep spending low by putting the focus on needs instead of wants.
- Create an equal playing field for vendors: When vendors are pitching, it's important to control for other factors, just as would be done in a scientific experiment. Although it may not be possible to have the exact same environment in place for every single potential seller, it's important to keep the big things the same. Tech Target suggests maintaining consistency in the type of demonstration provided, be it in-house or visits to vendor facilities, to eliminate the influence of factors like hospitality or convenience from the process.
- Prioritize flexibility: Manufacturing businesses that want to get the most out of their ERP should consider using a modular system to better address their needs. Instead of selecting all the pieces of a platform ahead of time and dealing with the issues that arise when a new component is required, companies can add modules on an as-needed basis, allowing for more flexibility. This approach allows organizations to time the growth of their ERP with the growth of business operations.
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