A new ERP potentially means major changes for your staff. Begin early to assess how ready your workforce is for an implementation and start planning for the additional resources you’ll need to manage the change.
The process of selecting an ERP for your business should follow these phases:
1. Map out your business and, for each of the functions mentioned above, carefully define your requirements. Distinguish between current and ideal practices and try to adhere to standard methods when possible.
2. Build a Request for Proposal (RFP) that describes your business and your goals for implementing an ERP. Itemize your requirements by function as well as your technology and service needs.
3. Issue your RFP to qualified ERP suppliers, either directly to software providers or through certified partners to those providers.
- A qualified ERP supplier is a company whose client base looks like you. They have solved the functional dilemmas specific to your kind of business and their user base will likely be lobbying them for developments that you’ll want as well.
WHY USE A CERTIFIED PARTNER FOR IMPLEMENTATION
Certified partners are trained by the software vendor in the proper ways to develop, configure and implement your system. They have access to the latest versions of the software, and their developers are available if a problem arises. Certified partners are in close contact with the software company and may even have input into what features go into future releases.
4. Develop a scoring system that allows you to compare the proposals. Make sure that you look at the total cost of ownership including hardware, implementation costs and at least 5 years of support and maintenance.
5. Invite a short-list of providers to present a full-day software demonstration. Script out the demonstration and use your own data so that the software mimics, as much as possible, the real-life conditions of your business.
6. Talk to both IT and business references and try to visit a company comparable to you who already uses the software. Due diligence will help give you a good sense of the software and potential partners.
Interested in learning more? Download LIDD’s eBook An Introduction to the IT Application Park for Food Manufacturers.