If you’re new to hearing about ERP systems and all that they can do for your business, the amount of information may be overwhelming. As much positive information as there is out there, the horror stories exist too. It’s important to dispel any misconceptions you have heard about ERP implementations and systems. Selecting an ERP system is a big investment for your enterprise, and it’s important to have a good understanding of the facts before even beginning the process.
Misunderstanding #1: ERP systems are all the same
Hundreds of software products claim to fill the necessary ERP requirements. However, it’s important to realize that each system offers different opportunities. Some ERP systems offer point specific functionality, meaning that they are very limited, while others can provide a complete solution for your entire enterprise. Other ERP tools are designed with industry specifics in mind in order to avoid customizations, and then there are ERP systems that offer flexibility and customizations.
Because there are so many options, it’s important to consider what it is you need out of an ERP system and then do your research. In most instances, the more functionality, flexibility, and industry specificity a solution has, the more critical issues it can solve. Therefore, don’t let a vendor tell you what you need; you need to know it beforehand.
Misunderstanding #2: My solution will be implemented in less than 3 months
As a society, we have gotten acclimated to having what we want quickly. This isn’t the case with everything, though. Good things take time to be done accurately. Now, if your goal is a simple, specific fix to one isolated problem in your business, perhaps three months will be enough time.
However, if you are working to update your entire enterprise by improving things like cross-functional access and visibility to data, your solution will require time and commitment. These larger solutions need planning and research, as well as process reviews, thorough training for all employees involved, and testing of the system. Rushing is not an option for success.
Your ERP vendor can give you an estimated timeline based on the scope of your solutions and the number of departments involved. Remember that slow and steady wins the race.
Misunderstanding #3: Money equals functionality
Often times, especially with smaller organizations whose budgets may not be as flexible, problems are given solutions as they come up without any thought toward the bigger picture of the future. Technologies end up being replaced bit by bit, which in the moment seems like an economically advantageous decision. But as the company grows, and as technologies need updating due to time and use, the applications put in place to fix immediate problems are no longer adequate, or worse, they can’t be integrated into other technologies. The system ends up being disjointed, and the seamless efficiency you hoped for is gone.
Over time, it is more than possible that the aggregate cost of these piecemealed applications and their implementation can dwarf the cost of a complete solution. Not only that, it more than likely won’t solve data visibility concerns. Budget is obviously a concern, but keep the big picture in mind before investing money.
When selecting and implementing an ERP solution, it’s important to put in your due diligence to ensure that the tool ties together the functional areas of your organization, therefore gaining productivity and profitability to overcome the initial investment cost. If possible, quantify the issues to be solved in determining budget and set realistic timelines and expectations for the allocated resources.
Misunderstanding #4: The right software will solve all my problems
That is possible; however, if you don’t take the time to implement your new ERP solution properly, it could fail. This could look like the company’s list of requirements being incomplete, rushing timelines, a lack of training, or inadequate resource allocation. When implementation fails, you will be back at square one.
Misunderstanding #5: A simple UI (user interface) is the key consideration in evaluation
If you find a great system which also has an interface that is easily navigated, this will be helpful in a successful ERP implementation. But selecting a system because it is easy to use doesn’t mean that it will solve your problems. Thorough evaluation of what the system offers and the business issues it solves should rank higher than a pretty interface. Also, the ability of your vendor to provide the necessary training is also more critical than a simple user interface.
During the research and demonstration phase of your ERP project, confirm ease of use…but more importantly, the ability of the system to solve critical business issues and the capabilities of the vendor to help you fully implement your new system.
Choosing the wrong solution won’t help bring you into the future of manufacturing. Instead, it can have lasting negative effects. Do your research, ask questions of your company and possible vendors, and when you’re ready, call Godlan to speak to a consultant who will value and promote your success using Infor Syteline ERP. Visit Godlan.com or call 586.464.4400 today.