9 steps to choose the ideal ERP-partner
1. Do your research and explore the opportunities
What used to be your premium solution might not be it anymore. Technology changes rapidly and so does your business. Therefore, an exploration phase must be considered essential when looking for a new ERP partner. Map out the current trends, the available technological solutions, and your existing and future needs – and remember to ask questions along the way. This gives you a head start to choose the right solution at the end.
2. Determine the greatest benefits through employee and customer feedback
Use common sense when in the market for a new solution. Avoid delving excessively into complex analyses and studies in advance but focus on recognizing and determining the greatest benefits and challenges within your existing process. Get these insights and feedback by engaging not only your employees but also your customers.
3. Outline your goals
Now is the time to establish priorities for your future business. Ask yourselves: what is our goal and which painpoints is crucial? Whether it is automated production, removing siloes, or something else, make sure to have all perspectives of the supply chain in mind when deciding. This ensures that the solution is suitable for both short-term and long-term needs.
4. Choose your features
When you have prioritized your objectives, discuss which features and functionalities the ERP system should provide to benefit your organization the most. Is it real-time insights into project progress? Or maybe bidirectional integration to reduce time to market? Remember to differentiate between need-to-haves and nice-to-haves.
5. Opt for industry best practice
While an all-encompassing solution might be tempting, it also comes with a risk of extensive customization that often leads to higher costs and longer lead time before the advantages materialize. Instead of getting a tailor-made solution, it is often better to opt for a partner who originates from a foundation of industry best practice. Thereby, you are guaranteed a reliable solution that can take your operation and organization to the next level quicker.
6. Use ERP to your advantage
A well-established ERP solution is supposed to ease your daily operations and make the cooperation between your business’ different departments smoother by connecting the manufacturing dots with real-time project insights. This ensures stable data flows and minimizes data silos.
When looking for the right ERP partnership you have to make sure your upcoming partner understands the necessity of including and integrating your entire supply chain – and don’t take this lightly.
A smooth process is essential in order to meet your deadlines and obtain maximum ROI quickly after integration. This becomes attainable when the entire process is based on the same set of data insights.
7. Go for a future-proof solution
As technology changes fast, it is crucial to prepare for the future in the best possible way. Aim for a future-proof solution that not only fits you now but also the next 5-10 years – which is the average lifetime of a well-functioning ERP solution. Ask your potential partners how they handle software evolutions and innovation to make sure they can keep up with your potential changing needs and accommodate you in the years to come.
8. Take a good look at your total cost of ownership (TCO)
At this time, you have probably narrowed down a few potential partners based on available features, compatibility, price tag, and their ability to keep up with your business plan. But other things should be taken into consideration too. Consider the TCO over a period of 3-5 years. After all, additional expenses such as maintenance, data migration, training, and updates will be added to the original purchase price.
Your IT team will undoubtedly have some questions due to this like:
- How does the ERP solution integrate with existing systems and applications?
- How reliable and robust is it?
- How about security and leaks?
- How is the infrastructure?
Your upcoming partner should be able to help you weigh the TCO against the estimated benefits and ROI. Sometimes a solution with a higher TCO turns out to provide a higher ROI if it brings more quantifiable benefits.
9. Prepare for a step-by-step growth
An ERP solution is never a one-size-fits-all. However, it’s not a fixed solution either – or at least itshouldn’t be. What you need today might not be thesame as you need next year or the year after that.That is why you should aim for a modular solutionthat grows with your business instead of potentiallylimiting it.The best advice is to start small and then prepare yourself for step-by-step growth adding new features and functionalities along the way to accommodate specific occurring needs.
Think big, start small and scale fast!
Remember to also consider the humas aspect!
Technology, functionality, innovation. There are a lot of buzzwords around an ERP solution, but at the end of the day, it is the people who really make the difference. Therefore, when looking for a new ERP solution you should also consider the human aspect. Which organization did you really connect with, and who can you see yourself partnering with in the long run? Choose a partner that understands your business and can help you realize your future goals.