Insights from Orion Group

Where Do You Start When Looking for an ERP System?

In our last ERP article, we talked about 3 signs that you may need a new ERP system. As a refresher, they were: inventory levels are unreliable; data errors are rampant; and customer satisfaction is a problem. If you recognize even one of these conditions, then you may need to start thinking about the first step in the ERP evaluation process.

Most ERP systems these days have lots of bells and whistles and do all of the basics like accounting and reporting very well. In order to make a wise choice, you need to look deep within your company for areas that you think might be different than how other businesses work – what makes your company unique and gives it a competitive advantage. Those are the areas where you will find the differentiators that will guide you to the best ERP decision.

Here is some advice on information you should start to gather to help you find those areas of differentiation:

  • Ask each department in your organization for a list of features they would like to have in an ERP system and ask them to rate them based on whether their items are requirements or just “nice to have” features.
  • Look for specific tasks in your company that seem to take a really long time to complete. Could the right software package speed the process?
  • Are there jobs in your company that only one or two people seem to be able to do? This can be a risky problem. Where would you be if one of those people abruptly left the company? Make note of these areas and check to see if any of the ERP systems offer software that could help.
  • Talk to other companies in your area, your customers, and suppliers to find out what software they are using. Also what they like and – especially – what they don’t like about it. Every company is different, but hearing other people’s opinions will help give you ideas on what you want to look out for.

The literature is littered with failed ERP implementations. Many businesses try and shortcut the evaluation process jumping to what appears to be the ‘right’ solution for their company. Don’t take the bait! Do your due diligence. Engage your internal user base. Ask many pertinent questions. Ask for product demos on features critical to your business.

Remember, moving down the path of choosing and implementing an ERP solution is a costly and time-consuming endeavor full of risk. But, implementing the right solution for your business is transformational and can raise the quality of your products and services to levels never before imagined.

Contact Orion Group today to schedule a consultation with our ERP experts.

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