Deciding on the right provider, set-up and features can be a difficult proposition for companies adding an enterprise resource planning software system to their operations.

When other considerations – like considering the use of industry- or segment-specific modules and the connection of different departments' data – are added into the conversation, choosing the right platform can be almost overwhelming. Whether your business is looking for a basic solution to meet its needs or a more fully realized ERP system that includes additional features like barcode integration and timekeeping software, some guidance on the matter can help a great deal.

Quality Magazine recently discussed some market trends that should be considered when deciding on an overall ERP implementation.

Adaptability is a major concern
The ability of ERP systems to handle some level of business-specific concerns, along with processes unique to a given industry, should be a driver in the selection process. While the basic functions of most platforms include functions to handle general concepts like financials, increasing functionality in other areas may require the use of specially configured sub-programs or modules.

The use of a base system along with specific, modular add-ons may prove to be the most flexible and responsive solution, especially for industries like manufacturing and fabrication that involve a mix of basic and more involved needs. The Microsoft Dynamics NAV system features a variety of modules geared toward these needs. As a business expands or changes, different components can be combined with the system to meet evolving needs.

Approximately 8,000 companies chose to use Dynamics NAV in 2013, according to MSDynamicsWorld.com, indicating its continued popularity among the manufacturing and warehousing industries.

Create benchmarks, measure collaboration
When discussing ERP with a potential provider, there should be a focus on the ability for different departments of a company to share and act on information provided by such a system. Operational efficiencies and adjustments based on data should be able to be found by a wide variety of employees and analytical tools – information gathered by the software shouldn't remain siloed by department.

An  of what a business wants out its ERP software is also important. Setting goals and discussing them with ERP distributors should be an area of emphasis. Understanding the timeframes for recouping the initial investment as well as the kind of savings expected to be realized ahead of time will help companies make the right decisions based on individual needs.

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.