How to Select the Best ERP

24 March 2020 22 min read
Updated: May 11, 2022
Choosing an ERP Software

Selecting the right ERP takes time, dedication and organization. Whatever enterprise resource planning solution you choose will impact the entire company, so it's important to plan appropriately and make the best selection.

Keep in mind that it's unlikely any software will match your business perfectly right out of the gate. It's important to shop around and weigh pros and cons of each. Be prepared to make changes to your business processes or find room in the budget to make the custom changes you want.

The first question you need to ask is...

Do You Even Need an ERP?

Have you considered MRP or MES solutions?

Not every business needs an ERP to accomplish their goals and needs. Consider the size of your business, your budget and your goals. Oftentimes, companies are utilizing Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP) and Shop Floor (MES) software instead of an ERP. These solutions provide limited functions compared to an ERP, but may still be sufficient and meet the demands of the business. For a more detailed explanation of ERP, MRP and MES solutions, read our comparison blog to figure out which is best for your business.

There are many options for each type of software, and there are often multiple solutions offered by each brand/company. Here are a few examples of each:

ERP: SAP, SAGE, QuickBooks, AS400, Epicor
MRP: NetSuite, IQMS, PaperSoft, HawkPoint Technologies
MES Shop Floor: MPDV, EFI Radius, HawkPoint Technologies
How to Choose the Right Software Solution (ERP, MRP or MES)

These steps below are a guide to choosing the right software. If you don't already know if you want an ERP, MRP or MES, then determining your must-have wish list will help point you in the right direction.

  1. Start by making a list of must-haves
    • What must this software do for you? Organize it by must-haves and nice-to-haves. This will come in handy later when comparing the different options. Much like buying a home, it's important to know what you will and will not sacrifice in your final decision. Here's a start on things to consider for your wish list:
      1. A corporate dashboard
      2. Customizable documents and reports
      3. Communication logs
      4. Integrations with other systems
      5. Budget
      6. Ease of use
      7. What industry was it designed for/does it align with your operations well?
  2. Determine who will be using this software and how they will use it
    • Get input from all departments as you define the must-haves. Areas may include:
      1. Accounting
      2. Customer Service
      3. Sales
      4. Shop Floor / Operations
      5. Scheduling
      6. CEO/Executives
      7. Customers
    • You don't actually need to include customers in this decision, but consider what functions may help them as well, such as online ordering.
  3. Start shopping
    • Research different brands and solutions offered. Keep a very detailed, organized list of each. Use your wish list as a check list and create a matrix to compare each one with Y/N and comments as needed.
    • It's likely there will be a list of functions on the company's website, but it's best to see a demo and talk to a representative to gain a better understanding.

You may also consider a custom solution if you're not willing to adapt to a commercial software. This can get pricey, but depending on your needs, it may be worth it.

Expected implementation time is different for each software, and likely also varies by company. It is best to dedicate at least one individual to oversee the project. Be prepared to spend a lot of time on implementing this new business software. It takes patience and a lot of work, but if you made the right choice, it will definitely be worth it in the end.

If you need more assistance on choosing the best ERP for your business, contact us today to talk to our advisory services team! Contact Us

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