Avoid the pitfalls of individual ERP customization

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For a relatively long time, at least when it comes to the rapid advancements in the business world, many companies found that the best approach to enterprise resource planning software was a heavily customized system that better addressed the individual needs of an organization. This is especially true for enterprises in the manufacturing and warehousing fields, where most operations had to reconcile many different functions that weren't usually addressed by basic, out-of-the-box ERP. Customization allowed businesses to have a fully functional platform, although the downside was plenty of implementation headaches and system downtime when upgrades could no longer be avoided.

A recent article on tech website InfoWorld relayed the experience of an IT staffer dealing with a particularly intractable customized system, including a house-built network that was completely incompatible with any commercially produced software. When the time came to implement new ERP, troubles abounded. These problems limited the effectiveness of ERP in the long term, but that's thankfully no longer the case for companies that choose the right kind of software. With the development of modular ERP such as Microsoft Dynamics NAV, organizations can now select from a wide variety of vendor components that build on a strong software backbone to provide customization without the headaches caused by previous generations of software.

A best-in-class approach
Manufacturing companies with the most agile and effective strategies for ERP use have a few major factors in common, according to Aberdeen Group. Besides seeing efficiency in various categories at levels above average, many of these companies have eliminated the use of multiple ERP systems and streamlined their approaches. By using just a single platform, better cross-organizational access and visibility occur and information doesn't have to be manually transferred or analyzed – defeating a major purpose of such systems.

Modular ERP allows companies to not only select the right kinds of modules and levels of functionality at the time of initial selection and implementation, but easily add components after the fact. Based on yearly budgets and the growth of an organization, it may not be possible to have every single feature installed at the start. By adding parts on an as-needed basis, businesses can better match ERP to individual needs ranging from financial to functional.

Learn how to define your ERP strategy by downloading the white paper entitled "ERP in Manufacturing: Defining the ERP Strategy" from the DMS website today.