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  • Jon Brown FCCA

4 Questions to ask before implementing an ERP system

For many businesses, implementing ERP software is no longer a question of ‘how would it help our business’, but is rather a necessity for staying competitive in your industry. If it takes your competition a minute to process an order, whereas you take 10 minutes, you are on the back foot.

As you grow, there is no point if sales grow, but your systems don’t. If you keep your processes the same, chances are you will work three times harder to maintain those sales and be making no more profit.

Installing and implementing an ERP system involves installing the software, moving your data over to the new system, configuring your users and processes, training your users and then getting the right reports out to drive your business forward. Choosing the right partner for implementing your ERP system is just as important (if not more important) as selecting the right software in the first place.

ERP software can be implemented in industries such as retail, manufacturing, health, not-for-profit, agriculture, and many more, assisting with increasing the speed and efficiency of communication within the various departments.

When implemented successfully, ERP systems bestow impressive strategic, operational and information-related benefits to business of all sizes.

ERP systems have a vast scope and offers a catalogue of modules within a sole system for businesses to customize to suit their individual needs. It is better to have one main ERP system, rather than have 10 different of pieces of software that fail to integrate well together,

To truly understand the value of an ERP system, it is important to understand not only what an ERP system does, but to ask the right questions to know what system is best for your company, and if you are ready for an implementation – your implementation partner should know the right questions to ask you, the business owner, as well as you being the one asking questions.

Is the ERP system cost effective?

Obviously the cost of an ERP software is a very crucial element in choosing an ERP application for the business. Sometimes it can be a deal breaker because you are unsure about the return on investment it will provide. Remember that to move forward to the next level, you usually need to invest now to future proof your business. If you are considering implementing an ERP system into your business, be sure to do your research about what costs are involved. For example:

  • What are the initial set up costs?

  • What are the subscription/ongoing costs of maintaining the system?

  • How many, and what type of licenses do you need to purchase?

  • Will you have your ERP system on-premise or will it be cloud-based, and what are the infrastructure costs required?

  • Do you require all aspects of the ERP system, or do you only need some of the main modules provided?

Is the software Customisable?

Many business owners think that their business is ‘standard’ – you usually find that there will be small differences that apply in your industry than in other. ERP software is implemented to increase the efficiency and make your business operations more effective. Having the option to customize or tweak your ERP system to suit your business needs will allow for the system to be optimized to your business, rather than changing your business to change suit the system.

How much training is required with implementing ERP software?

The implementation of an ERP system into your business is quite a significant change into your business practices, and will require staff at all levels to partake in training to get the most out of the ERP capabilities. It usually is a lot more cost effective to adopt a ‘train the trainer’ approach, where a consultant will train one of your staff, and then that member of staff then trains your other staff – a ‘superuser’ if you like. Having a new ERP system can be daunting for some people, and some staff may require more training than others, so it is crucial to take constant feedback during this phase to prevent things from snowballing.

Does ERP software implementation require technical support?

Whether you are hosting your ERP system on premise, or on the cloud, it is important that you have technical support available to you when you need it. When deciding upon an ERP system, considering a local dealer who can assist you with any concerns or problems that may occur is a valuable commodity to your business and ERP implementation.

Just because one type of ERP system works wonders for one business, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best solution for you. Be sure to do your research and consider all the options that are available, and how they can benefit your business.

Drop us a line if you want to know more.

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