There are many companies that want to upgrade to new software, especially ERP. A Microsoft Dynamics implementation is one of those solutions. However, ERP vendors will want to know what exactly businesses want with new software. There are a lot of different functions to various modules that are available for use in a given software solution, each of them with benefits that are specific based on the needs of the business. Not every series of apps works best for a given company. Something all firms, especially manufacturers, should consider is creating a request for proposal to give to developers. That way, they don't make the wrong choice from giving too little information.

Making out all the points
TechTarget defines the RFP as a document that an organization publishes to elicit bids from potential contractors and other companies. This posting is usually requesting the development of a specific component or the integration of some software into a business model. Sometimes, it's used for provisioning special services that require the use of a third party company.

Given the stakes of ERP and how much money and time is needed to complete a single implementation, using this posting can help determine what companies are best suited for the needs of the business at large. Sometimes, the top-tier solution isn't necessarily the best, as we have noted previously.

What RFPs do is clearly explain the end result through what deliverables are necessary to complete the project. For example, the software may need some special modules, such as mobile warehouse management or barcode data collection to ensure inventory accuracy. These components may be essential, but sometimes they don't come with specific ERP solutions, or are only available as an option that costs extra to install.

Developing the plan
When creating the RFP, a list of requirements should be made to confirm the necessity of the software. Writing these needs up properly can help vendors identify whether to bid on a company's proposal with their ERP solution. This list should contain important and relevant information related to the business and how ERP software works, according to expert Tom Miller.

For example, a company should title the requirement so it's clear what is needed. From there, it should describe the reasons why this particular component is necessary. That includes improving product cycle times, increasing automation on certain products and eliminating workarounds that are needed in the current legacy system. After this has been established, a business should establish the priority of this particular need, either through description or a score system.

Once the requirements are identified and described in the RFP, a company should spend time establishing expectations from the vendor. These include what the end results should be, as well as the time frame to complete the project. Research will be necessary to ensure that mistakes aren't made that cost money overall. From there, the RFP should be released, with vendors being given a means to respond, allowing an implementation strategy to develop.

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.