Shopping for ERP software is a tough; especially for a process manufacturing company has complex operational requirements and strict regulations. If you’ve ever gone to a search engine and searched the phrase, “process manufacturing ERP” you know there are literally thousands of results and too many software options to count. With all of those options and all of that information floating around, it’s important to tackle your search for ERP for processing manufacturing with a plan. One of the most important things you can do during ERP selection is asking questions during your research. Here are a few critical questions and important considerations to help you get started in your search for the best-fit solution.
Why are you searching for software?
With more than just searching for ERP, knowing WHY you are doing something before you start doing it has a huge impact on the end result. Ask yourself, why are you looking for a new ERP system? Are you replacing an old system? Making a change because the organization has grown? Or because it needs a little something extra to help it grow? Those are usually the most common reasons company’s begin pounding the pavement in search of a new system. ERP plays a large role in a company’s ability to grow and can help manage the processes by allowing fast access to information, advanced forecasting and planning, and much more. Be sure the systems you look at have what your company needs now but also provides you room to grow in the future so you are not going through this shopping experience and expense again in the near future.
Do you need ERP for process manufacturing or discrete manufacturing?
It is very important to recognize the difference between the two. Process manufacturers need a system that works with recipes and formulas to allow for tight quality control and tools to manage lot control and traceability. Discrete manufacturers on the other hand require focus in other places (a topic to be discussed in a future blog). Be sure you are looking at options with specific capabilities for your category of manufacturing.
Once you have those answers, you’re started down the right path to ERP selection success; but you’re not done yet. Some additional considerations you will want to keep in mind while shopping around include:
- Your final selection should be comprehensive and configurable. No ERP system will meet every one of your requirements, but it should meet all of your major ones. Make a list of needs and wants and compare each system against it. Choose the system that best matches your list and that also allows for customizations for your unique practices and requirements that the system does not take care of out-of-the box.
- The point of ERP is to bring all of your critical information and data into one system to make your entire organization more efficient and effective; integration and real-time visibility is essential. With accurate data at your fingertips 24/7, management can make fast, accurate, and proactive decisions to drive business forward.
- Be sure your ERP system of choice has powerful reporting capabilities as this will be one of the most-used features in your system to help identify where your company excels and where it must make changes. Look for a system that allows you to create custom reports, provides graphs and charts, and allows you to drill deep into data.
- Does the system help you meet security and regulatory requirements? This is an extremely important factor in ERP for process manufacturing due to the strict rules and regulations put upon such manufacturers by the FDA, HACCP, MSDS, and other regulatory bodies.
Armed with the above questions and considerations, you should be able to take those thousands of search engine results and begin to whittle down the list to the top contenders. For more tips on making your ERP for process manufacturing selection the best it can be, visit our resource center and view our many white papers, case studies, webinars, and other resources.