Start Now To Search For New ERP Software For 2012

June 3, 2011

Companies need time to make sure the right software to support their business strategies is selected. Now is the time to define needs, identify potential solutions, and complete a well-structured process to acquire the right software for the next ten years. A small to medium sized manufacturer should estimate 4-6 months to complete a thorough search and decision process. Start now to be ready to implement in 2012.

The search begins with a definition of a software’s value to the company. Why does the company need new software? How does that value equate to the cost of software license fees, annual maintenance costs, as well as data conversion, implementation planning, and training? Why will the business owner sign the check to buy the preferred solution?

System value can be strategic or tactical. Beyond strategic value, employees will need to agree on what the software needs to do today. Future requirements are often how customers and suppliers need to be connected to the business and opportunities for new products and new markets. There also should be improved processing of daily transactions involving better technology and software design.

Potential software should be prequalified as being used successfully in your industry, the vendor is financial stable, a track record of valued enhancements, and the capability to interact with today’s business infrastructure (remote connectivity, Internet connectivity, and handheld devices among others). A full suite of software functionality including customer interaction (CRM), engineering management (PLM), supply chain (SCM), manufacturing (MRP/ERP/Lean), distribution (WMS), and financial applications should be verified as offering the capability that will improve each employee’s value to the company.

Multiple rounds of demonstrations should be completed with detailed reviews of capability by not only the selection team but as many potential users as possible. At the final stages of decision making demand and check user references, particularly for essential functionality that must be “as advertised”. Don’t rely on seller representations, talk to real users in the real world to make fully sure that you will realize the value that will ultimately define the purchase of the new solution.

For more information, please contact Keith Ashlock at 215-552-3800 or send email to