The Basic and Hidden Requirements of Your ERP
Your ERP system needs to support the detail within your operation. But, focusing on a comprehensive solution can be a daunting task, after all you are not an application developer, you produce, sell, and distribute a very specific product.
Your major hurdle once production is in place and sales are growing, is managing the day to day, pay the bills, keep costs down, and reports that tell you where you need to focus to drive new revenue. That is where software comes into play. In many companies, the functional areas cling to what they know
The finance department uses a finance application they are familiar with and they can use to meet the needs of their job for payables and receivables. The floor managers use the tried and true process of managing production, scheduling and quality measures to get good product out. Production managers use inventory and scheduling tools they are familiar with to keep the floor moving at peak capacity with maximum output. Owners gather disparate information, review the data and make buying, production, and downsizing/growth decisions. And lastly all the players meet periodically to review where management talks about solving shortcomings, driving new revenue, and exchange ideas on how to make things better. This is the painful part of running a production/distribution company.
The above is an elementary view of what it takes to get the job done. As you read through the obvious points listed above, you were probably thinking of other issues you deal with that take it to the next level of your individual infrastructure. That is where having a solid ERP helps your company. Whether you have an old system or are shopping a new one, all the basics have to be accounted for as well as solving your specific problems or issues you are currently trying to overcome. This is where the adage “measure twice, cut once” makes a lot of sense. The other things to consider are what others are doing that you are not to be more competitive, prepare for future unknowns, and stay current with technology that is the foundation of the “office” side of your business.
In the production and distribution environment your internal system structure needs to be solid. They must be as efficient as your machines are on the floor and your shippers are at handling customer delivery. Here are some important questions you need to ask when reviewing your current ERP or when looking at alternatives.
- Should I have a comprehensive infrastructure to manage all my data?
- Will I be locked in to what my ERP provider has available or can I integrate with other solutions?
- How hard will it be to train my users on a new system?
- Are there best practices built in for core functionality out of the box?
- Do I have to be able to write code to perform customizations?
- Is or will my new system be viable in 5 years?
- How often do updates come out to stay current and what is the cost going to be when I implement them?
- Am I able to leverage current technology when I want to e.g. mobility options?
- Can it solve my current problems and offer new ways to handle internal priorities?
- Will using the system allow me to ease into new processes that drive revenue?
- Consider all the costs: a system that grows with me or has to be replaced after it’s depreciated.
- What are the benefits to annual maintenance? Is the program offered a cost function or a money saver?
When buying a new ERP or replacing an old one, there is going to be a cost associated with it on the product side and an investment in time. If done with commitment, a solid solution can be the advantage you need to grow your business, drive customer satisfaction, and reduce daily headaches which will allow you to focus on what is important, the success of your company.
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