Buying an ERP system isn’t something you can do quickly if you want to get a good fit. It’s a process. However, it doesn’t have to be complicated or take a long time. Below are four questions you can ask to help search more effectively.
What does your shop need?
You can’t buy the right software if you don’t know what your shop’s needs are. For example, some shops like the accounting program they’re already using and would like an ERP system that integrates with it. Other shops may want to track their inventory. If you know what your shop needs, then you’ll know what features you want your ERP system to have.
What could your shop do better?
Does your shop have specific goals? Some shops may not have specific goals, but know they want to improve certain things. For example, if you’re trying to improve your shop’s quality by 20%, you’d like an ERP system that tracks quality and gives you reporting into how it’s changing over time. If you can’t track something, it’s hard to improve it.
Alternatively, some shops would like to get certified in ISO or other things. There are ERP systems that make it easier to earn these certifications. So, if your shop is looking to get or keep a certification, make sure your ERP system will help you do that.
What’s the training like?
If no one in your shop uses your new ERP system, then you may as well not have it. It’s important to make sure there’s good training on the system and that it’s easy to understand. Are there multiple training options? It’s good to have a mix for various reasons. For example, you may want to send some employees to the vendor’s office for some in-person training, while other employees stay in your shop and get training via videos online. Short videos can also be helpful when you need a reminder on how to do something quickly in the system.
It’s also helpful to see if there is continuous training. As time goes on, ERP systems will get more features and changes. Does the vendor offer training for these changes to keep their customers up to date? You can’t use the newest features if you don’t know about them or know how to use them.
How long does implementation take?
Many variables impact how long it takes to implement an ERP system. For example, if you already know what you want the system to do for your shop, and you have the data that you’d like to transfer, that will help immensely. If your shop can do its part, the implementation can take less time.
The implementation also goes more quickly if you have a strategy. It can be helpful to have one or two point people who know how to do everything in the new ERP system. Then they can train everyone else. You could also have a consultant come on site to help you set up the software in the best way for your shop. If you have all of these things figured out ahead of time, your implementation can go more quickly and help you use the software sooner.
Any good ERP salesperson will ask you questions to help find the best fit for your shop. If you already know the answers, then you can figure out more quickly if their ERP system is a good fit for your shop or not. However, finding the right ERP system is a two-way street, so some of the questions above are for the vendor. There are many other questions your shop may need to have answered before settling on an ERP system, but the four above will get you started in the right direction.