Today’s Smart ERP Software Shoppers

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Being in the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software industry for many years, we have seen a shift in the way customers approach the replacement of their business software. Whether shopping for a toaster, a car or an ERP software solution, shoppers are much more knowledgeable of product offerings than in the past. This is due in part to the vast availability of information on the Internet. Their knowledge of features and functionality is extremely impressive, and facilitates in-depth discussion and detailed demonstrations throughout the sales cycle.

However, knowledge of the software is just one small component in ERP selection. There are many other factors to consider, most importantly, understanding your business processes and the pressures and challenges they face.

For example, a manufacturing firm looking to replace their ERP software might consider the following challenges:

  • Inventory turns
  • Inventory visibility
  • Write-offs
  • Rework
  • Waste
  • Inefficient processes
  • Use of overtime
  • Forecasting performance
  • Weak data

Each of these factors can be related back to how their business software manages their data, and its effectiveness in alerting them to institute corrections. ERP selection should not be a checklist of software functionality but rather, discussions of current business issues and how ERP functionality can mitigate the business risks including quantification of return-on-investment (ROI) from ERP software implementation.

The best way to ensure you don’t get caught up in an ‘ERP functionality checklist’ selection process is to find a partner with deep industry knowledge. Your partner should of course include software experts, as well as industry experts that can help guide you to improvement and opportunity for overall better performance. Partners that understand your industry will incorporate best practices knowledge to for a stronger implementation that accounts for your weaknesses and leverages your strengths.

Shopping for ERP software is no small feat. If you are embarking on this journey in the future, our advice is always to leave your software feature shopping list at home, and come prepared to discuss your business objectives. If your prospective ERP software partner truly understands your business requirements, and has the software to back it up, then you’ve got a winner!

If you should have any questions, about ERP software selection, please feel free to contact me – mharris@bdo.ca.

Marc Harris

Marc is a BDO Partner with over 20 years of experience in providing business solutions to the manufacturing industry.

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