For manufacturing and distribution companies, when it comes to supporting growth, implementing a new ERP system or upgrading the ERP system you already have may be a wise choice. As this previous abas post makes clear: “Ask yourself where the organization will be in five years and make assumptions based on that strategic plan to ensure that you are looking to the future as you begin preparing for the system implementation. Will the new or upgraded system have the capability to do everything your business strategy demands?” It should.
Take the ERP Readiness Quiz
Is your company at the stage where you’re ready for a new or upgraded ERP system? It's not always easy to know the answer to that question. Here’s a quiz to help you assess your ERP readiness
- Do you feel confident in the accuracy of the financial, production, sales and inventory reports you use to make key business decisions?
- Can your current system support your growth plans for the future, such as mergers / acquisitions, significant organic growth or expansion into other countries?
- Is all of your relevant data in one central system?
- Are your customers satisfied with the efficiency of doing business with you?
- Can you easily get support if you experience problems with your current system?
- Is your ERP system easy to use?
- Does your ERP system include a workflow tool that automates functions and tasks?
- If your processes changed, would you be able to easily map those changes to your software?
- Is your supply chain integrated to allow vendors access to your system?
- Do you have the reports you need?
- Are you able to identify bottlenecks in your production processes early on?
- Do you know exactly what you have in inventory right now?
- Do you have visibility into all your service activities, appointments and resources?
- Does your finance system automate tasks and give you full visibility into all your financial transactions?
- Does your ERP system include mobile apps?
- Can you work in offline mode?
- Is the organization ready to commit the necessary time, money and resources to ensure a successful ERP selection and implementation?
- Are you committed to communicating clearly with employees about the upcoming change?
Tallying Your Score
Count the number of questions to which you answered yes, no, and ones you weren't sure about. If you answered no or not sure to 8 or more of the questions above, it's time to start considering a new or upgraded ERP system.
Read on to learn about getting started.
You may be interested in our how-to guide: Selecting an ERP System in 7 Easy Steps
Where to start when selecting an ERP
Knowing you want to start looking for your first, or an upgraded ERP system is a big step. But many companies are intimidated about getting started with the selection process becsause it is such an important decision. Don't let that stop you. Here's a look at the high-level steps to selection:
- Planning: Start by doing your homework. Learn the basics about ERP functionality, what to expect from the process, and costs. Be sure your management team is in agreement about the goals of implementing ERP and where you want to see the organization go in the future.
- Gathering requirements: Be agile with your requirements. You'll learn a lot about ERP throughout the selection process, so be ready to adapt your requirements as you go. But you need to start with a basic idea of what you're looking for. Be forward thinking, looking not just what you need for the here and now, but what you'll need in the future to grow your business.
- Narrowing the field: There are hundreds of vendors out there, but start to narrow down your options by looking for vendors who specialize in your industry, are a good organizational fit, and who offer the functionality you're looking for. Most companies send an RFI to 3-5 organizations after looking seriously at about 10.
- Demos! Expect a 60-90 minute intro demo from each of your serious contenders, then a longer, on-site demo and discovery session with your top 3.
- RFP and Selection: At this point, you're ready to ask for the final details you need to make a decision - pricing, implementation, number of users, etc.
Need more details or some guidance along the way? Our experts are here to help! Contact us today to discuss your ERP needs.
Systems and Data are the Lifeblood of Your Business
IT systems and data are the lifeblood of all businesses today. They enable your leadership team and employees to have visibility into your performance, and move quickly from planning to execution. Your systems and data need to provide you with the business intelligence – data transformed into insights – to act both wisely and quickly. But systems and data flows can represent a problem as companies mature. Many growing companies add on or bolt on systems and processes to meet a pressing need (whether temporary or not), cobbling together a way of working that never quite gets fully integrated and connected across the growing company.
Workarounds and ad hoc solutions can proliferate in different business areas of a maturing company, but these solutions don’t scale up or across the whole organization. You have pockets of excellence and isolated best practices that don’t get shared or scaled up. Bottlenecks ensue, creating frustrations and inefficiencies that impact your bottom line.
The Organization Needs to Be Connected
Connection is a key capability for maturing people and companies alike. Your different functional areas and business units had better be working together towards the same strategic goal. Getting your systems in order, linking them in a way that optimally meets the needs of your team, customers and stakeholders, is exactly what ERP systems are all about.
What does ERP deliver? Integration of systems, coordination of systems and people, better communication to support collaboration, a single source of truth (i.e., we’re all on the same page), a platform for digital transformation upon which to build a better future as technology evolves, and so much more.
Find out what's involved in a typical ERP implementation project. Download our ERP Implementation Case Study: