Monday, August 22, 2011

Key questions and considerations for ERP selection.

Key questions and considerations for ERP selection.

There are many factors to consider before purchasing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software solution.

How complicated is the implementation?  Who will be responsible and is there a dedicated project manager assigned to your project?  Are you converting from another system or starting from scratch?

How easy is the software system to use?   A serious evaluation of how people from all levels in the organization will access the information is a necessity.  This includes top management who might want to start with executive dash-boards, sales team both internal and external, customer service, shop floor data collection.  Do not forget your suppliers and customers. While many people still like to call your customer service department, many more prefer the self serve method from the Internet at a time that is convenient to them.

Are you a global or domestic organization?  Are your customers and/or suppliers domestic or international?  Do you need multi language support either for external contacts or internal workers?

What are your organizations top needs?  Financial management, operational management, manufacturing planning and execution, supply chain management, integrated contact management?  What will your needs include 3-5 years in the future?  Will your system grow with your needs?

So why would anyone consider new software?  Many look to ERP solutions to provide the structure to improve operational efficiency, reduce inventory levels, and increase revenue flow.  Coordination of work force efforts, easier access to key information needed to manage the enterprise.

Be the doctor for your organization.  Find out where the pain comes from.  That area is related to the business problems you should be addressing with an ERP solution.  The questions you ask and the answers you receive will help you determine if the fit is appropriate. 

Remember that you will be reviewing how well your Enterprise will utilize the software.  ERP solutions are typically organized in modules that correspond to either a department or functional role of your organization.  Some examples might be the Finance department which will utilize the Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, and General Ledger applications.  A functional role might include purchasing, procurement, receiving, and the supply chain. 

Bottom line, you will need to manage expectations at all levels in your organization.  Everyone will need to “see” the future and it will take a good deal of coordination.  The implementation is typically now the single greatest investment component.  In today’s world many organizations are already running lean.  Having cut costs for the last several years, improving the operational efficiency is the logical choice to remain competitive.  This also means that the staff now does more work with less manpower.  Implementing a new solution takes time and resources, which typically requires everyone to do “extra” work. 

Six months afterwards, you will wonder why it took you so long to commit.  Change, “they say”, is the hardest thing to deal with, but the end result will often justify the effort.

We are here to help.  You do not need to navigate the uncertain waters of change alone.  Dolvin Consulting works with industry experts VAI and IBM to define and understand your challenges.  Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

No comments:

Post a Comment