In the distribution world, running a generic ERP system and/or working with an ERP partner who doesn’t truly understand the industry is the biggest mistake you can make. As a distributor, you need a distribution ERP system and ERP partner who understands and considers the nuances of your business and has the expertise to support your unique processes. This of course is easier said than done; with so many partners and software options out there, how do you avoid making this big mistake and weed out the ones who truly understand your business? Consider the following:
How many of their current customers are distributors?
Your ERP partner needs to have a significant amount of experience and success within your industry. Ask for a specific number of how many distributors they are working with today and how many they’ve worked with in the past to help you gauge this.
Who will be implementing my system?
You know what you’re getting from the software you select, but what about the people behind it? this is a commonly overlooked detail that can come back to bite you as the project progresses and you realize the team in charge of your implementation is not up to the job. Make sure the entire team you’ll be working with understands the distribution industry inside and out and look for a track-record of projects that ended successfully; on time and on budget.
Is there an annual user’s conference?
Networking with your peers and building your knowledge of best practices is a great way to achieve best-in-class results for your business. Make sure there is a community around the software with user groups, user conferences, and plenty of opportunity for you to network with companies like yours.
What does the future hold?
There is no way to know what your business, or even what the industry will look like 10 years from now; make sure the ERP system you choose will be able to grow with you into the future as your business expands and as your processes become more complex. The same is true for the ERP partner you choose. Some questions to ask include
- What does the technology roadmap look like?
- How often are new version of the software releases?
- Does it take into consideration mobility and cloud computing?
- Does it have an element of extensibility? You need a system that allows you to modify the look of screens and fields, make changes without affecting source code, create user-specific workflow, etc. so that as your company and industry change, your users can continue to work as efficiently as possible within the software.
Once you’ve chosen a system and a partner, it’s time to look forward to the actual implementation process. This is where a majority of distribution ERP software projects go awry. Download the white paper below to make sure you don’t fall victim to the 8 deadly sins of ERP implementation.