For many businesses, investing in ERP software is not a decision that is taken lightly. From considering the initial outlay to adapting working practices to accommodate for new systems and processes, implementing ERP software is something many businesses only want to do once.
However, if you’re not fully informed during the research stage, you risk choosing an incorrect solution that over time may become unsuitable.
As your business grows and your needs change, you need software that can fully support more complex processes and changing demands.
Here, I take a look at some of the key reasons behind changing ERP software, as well as the essential considerations.
What motivates change?
It’s unlikely that you’ll wake up one day and suddenly realise your current ERP software is unsuitable. Usually, it’s a build-up of small inefficiencies that trigger this realisation. Some of the key motivations behind changing ERP software include:
- Business growth — if your business is growing rapidly, you may find your ERP software is unsuitable for your current needs. Staying on an old version of ERP means missing out on access to new features and new functionality.
- An outdated system — tech moves fast and what once worked for you, may not necessarily work a few years down the line. If your ERP system is outdated and ignorant of recent developments, you could find your ploughing more time and resources into mitigating the issues
- Neglected customers — with our growing dependence on technology, customers expect more from your business. Past ERP systems don’t allow for the same level of customer visibility, which could essentially be handing your competitors an edge.
- No remote or mobile access — remote workforces are becoming more common, while we’re also becoming increasingly dependent on mobile technology. ERP software that can only be accessed from HQ is no longer feasible — you need to provide a seamless transition across both devices and locations.
- Lack of real-time information — many of us take real-time information for granted, but older ERP systems do not offer this benefit. Rapid access to real-time data is essential; if you don’t have access to the information you need, it could be time to change.
- Rising costs — as ERP software ages, associated costs can rise, especially if the software is no longer supported by the developer.
ERP software: essential considerations
If the above has set alarm bells ringing, it could be time to seriously start considering changing your ERP software. However, for many, this is easier said than done. So what exactly should you consider?
Identify your business needs
You wouldn’t buy a pair of shoes if you didn’t know what size you needed. It’s the same with ERP software. If you don’t truly understand what your business needs from the software, getting the right solution will be nothing more than a guessing game.
The first — and arguably most important — consideration you’ll need to make is what exactly are your business needs? Don’t be dazzled by an impressive sales pitch. Prior to the research stage, create a comprehensive list of what you need from the software, thoroughly considering specific processes and business requirements. Identify what tools and capabilities you’ll need to meet these requirements.
If you already have an ERP system in place, you can use it as a starting point. Scrutinise all operating areas and speak to key parties to establish how the software could be improved — and look for these features in your next solution.
It sounds like an obvious decision to make, yet many businesses fail to choose an industry-specific software solution. Essentially, this means they’re left with software that doesn’t fully support how their business operates, usually resulting in a patched together system that delivers far from optimal results.
When selecting your ERP software, make sure it’s specifically designed for your industry. For example, our manufacturing software solution has been designed for discrete manufacturing and process manufacturing. We understand how the manufacturing industry works. Our team includes those who have worked within manufacturing many years and therefore understand the opportunities and the challenges.
Any ERP software looks good on paper; it’s only when it’s put into practice that you can truly understand how it operates whilst establishing any flaws it may have. During the research stage, pay close attention to case studies to gain a clear view of how the systems have been utilised. Of course, your business is unique, so use them as a guide only - as your solution may differ.
Allow for careful consideration
It’s very easy to get excited about ERP software and the benefits it will bring to your business. However, rushing into a decision can leave you with the wrong choice. Before making your choice, give yourself time to consider:
- How well will the ERP software integrate within your business?
- How easy is data extraction and reporting?
- What is included with your ERP software? Are some features optional and paid for?
- How well will the solution support your business? Speak to key stakeholders to determine this.
If you believe your business is operating below its optimum level, it could be because your software solution is underperforming. For more information about K8 Manufacturing & K8 Field Service, and how Kerridge Commercial Systems can help support your software transition, request a brochure today.