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10 Tips for Successfully Selecting an ERP System- Tip #5

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Whatever process you have taken, you have finally arrived at the point where your company is going to start the journey of selecting and implementing a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) application. You have strong executive leadership and buy-in, now what? There’s a common phrase that states, “you only get out what you put into it”. Simply put, how well or poorly you plan a project or initiative will largely pre-determine the outcome. Now, you are venturing into the ERP application space. To select the best, most appropriate application and vendor, there are key points that are common, if not universal, to companies that have been successful with their ERP projects.

In this ongoing series, we’ll share best practices garnered from decades of working with customers whose ERP implementation success was pre-determined by their planning and execution thereof.

  1. Ensure the Project is Properly Staffed and Budgeted

  2. Establish an Executive Sponsored Project Team

  3. Make a Requirements List but Focus on the High-Level Differentiators

  4. Plan for What You Need Today and Tomorrow. Or as Wayne Gretzky said: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”

  5. Be Open with Your Vendors

  6. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

  7. Limit Your Short List and Schedule Demos Fairly Close Together

  8. Focus on Value vs. Bells and Whistles

  9. Focus on The Implementation Partner during your Selection Process

  10. Fully Utilize References to Aid in your Selection Process

Tip #5- Be Open with Your Vendors

It’s critical that you are open and collaborative with your ERP vendor from the start. The more information you can share, the more successful the deployment. We worked with a company who wouldn’t share information with us, so we didn’t get the whole picture during the sales process. It made it difficult to understand what they wanted and what they needed. Once we closed the deal and started to work with them, they were still that way. Another client put everything on the table from the beginning. They told us who we were competing against, what was going on in the company, what the selection process was, where we stood – our strengths and weaknesses. We had the ability to understand what they wanted and address any perceived deficiencies.

As you’d expect, the results of two different projects are night and day. You really must look to your vendor as a partner, not an opponent. Back to our example of a common phrase that states, “you only get out what you put into it. In this case, if you’re initially coming from a place of distrust that is unlikely to get better over the course of the relationship. One of the keys is transparency in our partnerships that demands both sides be open.

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