According to research from IT management website Computer Economics, enterprise resource planning programs are the most popular software for businesses in many industries, based on rate of investment. ERP can provide a high return on investment when implemented and used correctly, as well as provide other benefits that are less immediately quantifiable, including better operational visibility and enhanced access to information. However, simply spending on ERP doesn't mean that a system will automatically or immediately provide these benefits. Businesses need to select the right ERP system, follow implementation best practices and make sure everyone from work floor employees to C-suite executives are on board.

Computer Economics reported ERP as having a high total cost of ownership and low ROI level, according to a survey of 200 companies in various fields. Organizations need to understand that ERP isn't a magic fix all that can immediately begin to solve problems. Businesses have to make sure they're doing everything in their power to decrease ROI timelines and make these platforms as effective as possible. One approach that can lead to significant benefits over out-of-the-box ERP, or even a highly customized system, is a modular platform that allows for adaptation without requiring costly adjustments.

Less risk, more reward
IT Jungle pointed out that the full range of ERP results run the gamut from complete success to marginally useful and total failures. Businesses that are looking to have their systems cover the entire range of operations, from finances to inventory tracking and timekeeping for employees, should consider building a system from individual components, using a software backbone such as Microsoft Dynamics NAV. Selecting different components based on need and level of functionality allows the major needs of an organization to be addressed as a first priority, with lesser concerns following behind.

The modular approach allows for not only better control of spending, but makes the investment effective as well. Businesses can find the right component for each and every function of operations without having to pay for the costly customization of a system. Modules make it easier to deal with the eventual updates and modifications that an ERP system will experience during its lifetime, as it's simpler to add and change the makeup of a system by building onto it instead of altering it at the source. ERP will remain popular for manufacturers, so companies need to make sure they're using the most effective approach.

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.