Important questions to ask ERP vendors

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Businesses in the process of adding an enterprise resource planning system, or switching to a different platform because of a desire for more functionality, should make sure to talk through the entire implementation process with potential vendors, including expectations of continuing support. Manufacturing and warehousing businesses need to be especially alert when it comes to determining how responsive and helpful a vendor is, as the varied operational needs in these fields require an equally agile ERP system. To help in the selection of the right platform and vendor for a specific ERP project, here are a few important questions to ask potential providers:

  • What level of experience do you have in this industry? A long business history and positive referrals from satisfied customers shouldn't be overlooked – in fact, they should be given some serious weight during the selection process. However, a manufacturing business needs to dig deeper to find a truly effective partner for an ERP platform. Business 2 Community suggested asking about field-specific experience to better determine how well a vendor can adapt to the unique needs of a given organization. For example, an ERP provider that has manufacturing experience will be more likely to provide specific and desirable components such as a mobile WMS.
  • How flexible is the system? One area where a company can't afford to make assumptions is the responsiveness of an ERP platform. ERP that can be changed and upgraded with a minimum of downtime is extremely valuable for manufacturers. Just because a system needs an upgrade doesn't mean that customers will be willing to wait longer to receive orders, after all. Talking about both initial implementation, subsequent additions and associated costs is a prudent step on the part of manufacturers.
  • Will continuing support be provided? This question is especially important in the light of the increasing popularity of phase implementation in regard to ERP. Panorama Consulting pointed out the rise in staggered installation among companies in many different industries. With this spread-out approach to ERP, it's more important than before to make sure a vendor can provide the kind of support that is needed both during and after implementation. Help with training users on specific functions and overall insight into operations should also be addressed.

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.