ERP Software is an acronym for enterprise resource planning. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a collection of software modules such as accounting, inventory control, production planning (MRP), WIP (Work in Progress or Work in Process), BOM (Bills of Material), purchasing, sales orders, invoicing, Accounts Receivable (AR), Accounts Payable (AP) and often CRM. ERP software integrates all facets of an operation — including product planning, development, manufacturing, sales and marketing — in a single database, application and user interface.
- The short answer is – it can help to make your company more efficient. Imagine using your CRM system to flag your salesperson to follow up with a customer. During the follow up call, the sales person gets a purchase order from the customer. The sales person enters the order into your ERP System. Because you are using a fully integrated ERP system with MRP, demand is created for the product. If the inventory is already in the warehouse, the ERP system can notify your warehouse the item needs to ship. If the item is not something you normally stock, purchasing and production are notified of the demand to create (or purchase) the product for the customer. The item is invoiced once it ships, which automatically hits your accounts receivable (AR). Once the customer pays, the payment is posted and accounting is up to date.Your ERP Software can fully integrate and trigger the next step in your process (shipping, purchasing, production, invoicing). This helps to save your company time and money.
- Selecting ERP Software can sometimes be overwhelming – or over simplified. Not all ERP Software is created the same. Not all ERP Software functions the same. Not all ERP Software is easy to use. Not all ERP Software will do what your company needs it to do.So how do you choose which is best for your company?Simply stated: RESEARCHYour company should typically research at least 3-4 ERP Software packages before making a decision. View multiple demos and ask lots of questions. Let your employees get their hands on the software and walk through performing some daily tasks.Find out from your key employees what is crucial to their jobs. Find out what functionality would make them more efficient. Make sure the software aligns with your manufacturing, distribution methodologies. Most important, make sure the software will grow with your company.
Demos are a great way to get a high level view of the software. Demos are generally choreographed performances that have been executed many…many times. Don’t hinge your purchase on a well performed sales demo. Ask for a follow up meeting after the demo. Talk with your team to see what concerns they have about the software. What did they see that they liked? What may not have been addressed during the demo that is critical to your company’s success?
Don’t be afraid to ask to meet some of the support team. Sales people are typically there for the ‘sale’. The support team are the people you will be working with after the sale. Make sure you are comfortable with their understanding of your requirements.
1. Does the ERP Software meet our core requirements?
2. Can we customize the software if we do something that is truly unique?
3. How user friendly is the software?
4. How easy is it to get the data we need from the software?
5. What data can (should) be converted from our existing system to the new ERP Software?
6. How comfortable are we with the company that is selling (or will be implementing) the software
7. Does the software VAR (Value added reseller) understand our requirements and our business processes?
8. How many other companies are using this software (beware of companies that have only a few implementations. They may not be around long).
9. What kind of support can I expect?
10. What kind of training is available?
11. How can the software grow with our company?
12. Ask the VAR to address specific issues you are concerned with.