Enterprise resource planning has been around for a long time. The ability to more effectively handle orders on a small and large scale, initially through materials requirements planning, is a common aspect in all but the smallest manufacturers. Many businesses have jumped on the ERP bandwagon, using such platforms such as Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015. However, some have stuck around on it for years, enough that what they have could be considered a legacy system. With this in mind, there is a need to question the role of such a system. It is in this situation that a company is able to determine when and how it will upgrade to a new system.

A valuable investment
The important thing to remember about ERP systems is that they are a major investment to any manufacturer. Consequently, they cost a lot of money and resources over time, both during and especially after implementation. As the years go by, a company and its employees will tweak the software without using workarounds to create a highly customized platform that suits their needs. While this may result in some bloat and inevitable slowdown of expected returns, it still provides the ideal information and processes that all the stakeholders can work with.

ERP Focus notes the balance that is usually required for understanding a legacy ERP system can be vast. As time progresses, the system becomes more complex to use, especially among newer staff members. Training becomes more difficult to get the ideal results that were obvious only a few years prior. With customization, it becomes even more difficult to have a system that all stakeholders understand. On the other hand, the company may have fully realized the benefits of the software from its continued efforts to tinker with it.

A change must come
Still, a company cannot dismiss the potential of new ERP software. Recently, Gartner Research declared that by 2016, on-premise ERP software will be considered a form of “legacy system” on its own. By then, the cloud will have reached a tipping point and become used by companies everywhere, though manufacturers will still have a strong use for the software.

It comes as software has changed dramatically over the last 10 years, in part due to different approaches in development but most importantly due to the rise of mobile devices and the software changes they have brought about. The user experience has become far easier in many circumstances. This has led to the expectation, especially among younger workers, of dealing with a system that can be as easy to pick up as the apps on their smartphones. Other ERP features, such as mobile warehouse management, have taken shape with this in mind.

With these concerns in mind, it may be a good time to at least consider the process of either upgrading or implementing a completely new system. However, the entrenchment of the legacy ERP system should be taken into consideration, and it’s important to remember it’s still functional. When evaluating new software, something that can live up to the standards created by the old ERP is always a good idea.

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