How do you decide which product to buy? It’s easy to base a purchase decision on brand familiarity, and this works well for low-cost, low-risk items like laundry soap or sunscreen, when a fast decision can be more important than a good one.
But what about big-ticket, complex purchasing decisions, like a new ERP system? In these cases, selecting based on which product is a household name could be an expensive mistake. In the ERP world, big-name companies like Microsoft and Oracle are known for offering cookie cutter solutions for the masses. And chances are, you’re not running a cookie cutter business. It’s the smaller, more agile players – some you’ve likely never heard of -- who take the time to truly understand your business and are able to develop highly specialized, flexible ERP solutions that can take your business to the next level.
"The question you always have to ask is, 'Are you selecting an ERP system because it's the most familiar, or are you really looking for the best solution for your plans, goals, and objectives?'" Alan Salton, president of abas USA, explained.
If the software is so good, why haven’t I heard of them?
Have you ever heard of Baader, a company that holds a 90% share of the world market for food-processing machinery? How about Johnson Controls, a Milwaukee-based manufacturer of automotive interiors who made more then $28 billion last year? Many of the world’s most successful companies keep their focus squarely on providing a highly specialized product and less on brand recognition. Sometimes referred to as “Hidden Champions,” these innovative companies tend to stay out of the spotlight, but provide superior solutions for a very specific need.
Hidden Champions abound in the ERP world. In fact, some of the most innovative ERP solutions fly under the radar, providing a solution that is exceptionally well suited to one particular industry or type of customer. These companies are focusing their efforts on products, people, and superior solutions for their customers.
"Our investment is in our product. Our investment is in our people. It's not in marketing," Salton said. "If you go to Yankee Stadium, there's a big SAP sign. Imagine if SAP had put the money that they invested in that sign toward improving their product instead. What if they had put it into customer support? At abas, investments are based on a philosophy that what customers want and need is substance, not sizzle.”
There are so many choices and I don’t have time to research all of the small players. If I can’t base a decision on name recognition, how to I narrow down my options?
Creating a list of 5-10 ERP vendors to investigate, then narrowing down the section to the most promising 2-4 options seems like a daunting task, but a few key data points can tell you a lot about companies you may not have heard of before:
- Customer loyalty – how long do companies stick with an ERP system?
- Customer satisfaction – how happy are customers with the solution?
- Long-term costs of operation – Can the software grow with your business? How much do upgrades cost?
- Vendor-Customer relationship – Do the people at the software vendor understand your business well enough to really help you grow and achieve your goals?
Should I consider abas ERP even though I haven’t heard of them before?
abas ERP is not right for everyone, but if you are a mid-sized custom or industrial manufacturing company with unique processes and requirements, there are some significant reasons to put us on your short list.
- Our customer loyalty rate is 92 percent.
- A high percentage of abas ERP users stay with the company long-term. In fact, a 2014 Tech Consult survey found abas ERP to have the longest average usage time (6.7 years), higher than Microsoft, SAP, and others. 24 percent of our customers have been using abas ERP for more than a decade.
- The 2014 Tech Consult study also found that abas ranked highest in ability to support customizations and changes.
- In a 2013 i2S Survey, abas ERP ranked best for customer satisfaction, most recommendations, and the most successful international projects.
- An exceptionally high 75% of abas ERP users are on one of the two most recent software releases, an indication of customers’ willingness and ability to upgrade regularly.
"We want to be the best in the mid-size manufacturing market. We focus all of our development, implementation, training and documentation to make ourselves the best choice," Salton explained. "When you have a product specifically tailored for a certain market, it allows you to surpass the vendors who try to be everything to everyone."
abas also offers a unique approach to working with customers that many larger companies can’t. “Large ERP vendors might be satisfied with meeting your requirements, but at abas ERP, we consider that the bare minimum,” Salton said. "What we really want is to bring clients to a place they didn't expect to be. Better products, better operations - everything. The real value-add a vendor should provide is to challenge your assumptions and show you what you didn't know. Our teams don't just solve problems, but find new opportunities to help your business grow," he added.