6 Tips for Choosing the Right Manufacturing ERP Solution

It’s no secret that enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions for manufacturing tend to be more complicated than ERP solutions for other industries. In manufacturing, organisations tend to face more involved technical integrations and require higher levels of customisation to achieve the results desired from an ERP solution. Fortunately, there are a few ways to reduce the complexity of choosing the right manufacturing ERP solution:

1. Create a comprehensive list of must-have features

The first step in selecting the right manufacturing ERP solution is to create a list of all the ERP features your organisation wants. Call it a wish list, because in most cases, that’s what the initial list becomes. It usually includes every feature that is both necessary and nice to have. Then, divide that list into three parts: must-have features, highly functional but not necessary features, and nice-to-have features. It can be worth considering the features you’ll want in the future, as you may decide to invest in a customer relationship management system. When you do, it would be beneficial if your ERP system could integrate with it.

When the list is complete, you should have a solid understanding of which features are essential and which are just nice to have. This list also makes it possible for competing vendors to more accurately quote their products and services.

2. Evaluate mobile capabilities honestly

As you’re evaluating features, keep mobile capabilities in mind. Tablets and smartphones have become essential devices for most organisations, and we’ve seen them create real value in a manufacturing setting. Rather than having to return to a desktop computer, shop floor managers and other active users could access ERP functionality where they stand, on their tablet or smartphone. This capability could be a great benefit to an organisation. Just make sure that mobile holds value for your organisation before investing in the capability.

3. Create key users and get them trained on the out of the box solution

These key users could be members of different teams within your organisation, and should be people who would be using your new ERP solution frequently. At Acora, we’ve found that training users early on, helps everyone involved have a clear view of what customisations, if any, are required. We’ve found that this helps to reduce unexpected requirements, and therefore project overrun.

4. Justify the necessity of every customisation

Some manufacturing ERP systems can be highly customised, because no two organisations use exactly the same manufacturing processes. Whereas some ERP systems, like Microsoft Dynamics NAV, have manufacturing capabilities built-in. So, look closely at the customisation you plan to undertake to ensure that it’s truly necessary, because customisation at installation can also mean customisation in future upgrades, maintenance and upkeep, and that can incur more costs over the long term.

5. Review add-ons created specifically for your ERP solution of choice

Some ERP solutions have add-on partners; these partners have created specific and additional functionalities to bolt-on to your ERP. These functionalities can be very specific, such as better control over inventory and in most cases these add-ons are more cost-effective than customisations. For information about Acora’s partners and add-ons, view our page about Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

6. The IT environment

It’s always worth looking at the support you will receive from each ERP partner, their knowledge of technology and the experience of their developers. This will be beneficial to you over the long-run. Technology is constantly changing and improving, so choosing a robust IT environment in which to host your applications is key, and Partners like Acora are on hand to offer advice.

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