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Not all ERP is created equal. Therefore, any business embarking on an ERP implementation must carefully select the right software to support their industry, customers, processes and users. The best way to go about ERP selection is to take an organized, documented approach. To help you get started, we’ve put together a checklist of some of the basic ERP functionality and business requirements you should consider in your implementation.
Big Picture Questions
Before drilling into your specific ERP requirements, you must begin by looking at the big picture—in other words, the overarching goals of your software implementation. A new platform doesn’t magically streamline processes and solve all your business problems. Only once you’ve looked deeply into your operations and pain points and aligned them with your technical needs can you expect to see real results.
The first step is to undergo business process modeling, the purpose of which is to analyze current business processes and discover your current strengths and weaknesses. This information will help you answer critical questions about your new software system. For example, who will use the new system the most? You should prioritize their training and job tasks throughout the project. What problems plague your bottom line? Make sure you choose a vendor that offers the modules and features necessary to smooth over these pain points.
But don’t just think about your current requirements. Consider your future business goals, and select an ERP instance that can drive your success for years to come. Now that we’ve looked at the big picture, let’s start the checklist.
- API Integration: Do you have front-end systems, like CRM or eCommerce? Chances are, if you don’t have one now, you will in the future. Select an ERP system that can easily integrate with other platforms, so you can enjoy a fully-automated, end-to-end software solution.
- Simplified Customization: Each business is unique, so an out-of-the-box ERP system usually doesn’t cut it. Find software that can be easily customized to fit your specifications.
- Deployment Options: Cloud or on-premises? That’s a question you’ll need to answer during ERP selection. Make sure your chosen system includes a reliable deployment option that’s the most appropriate for your organization.
- Flexible General Ledger: Accounting is a pain without a flexible general ledger. With an agile chart of accounts and user-defined books and processes, you can maintain reliable financial statements without hassle.
- Accounts Payable and Receivable: AP and AR are useful for managing and tracking invoices and billing. These features should be user-friendly and comprehensive, so you can instantly access fiscal information.
- Multicurrency Support: If you serve global clients or are looking to open locations abroad, a multicurrency engine is critical to managing international finances.
- Microsoft SSRS: While legacy solutions included Crystal Reports, SSRS has become the new standard. An ERP system with SSRS reporting will offer greater flexibility and usability.
- Key Performance Indicators: To track business performance, ERP dashboards should come equipped with common KPIs while also giving users the functionality to easily define new KPIs.
- Analytics and Tracking: Check that the ERP dashboards also include some of the latest reporting and intelligence features, such as BI tools, real-time tracking and predictive analytics. These tools transform big data into actionable insights to improve business strategies.
- Material Requirements Planning: Your specific processes will determine your exact needs for an MRP module. Make sure your MRP tools offer reliable forecasting and material planning.
- Lean Manufacturing: Lean manufacturing features are invaluable to cutting waste and saving money. For those who follow Kanban methodologies, choose a system with Kanban functionality.
- Bill of Materials: Not all ERP solutions support multilevel BOM management or are user-friendly, so make sure you find a system that adheres to your specific BOM requirements and includes an easy-to-use interface.
- Warehouse Management: This module automates pick, pack and ship processes to streamline warehouse operations. Seek out a solution that supports wireless communication, bin tracking based on specific criteria and full visibility into inventory to maintain accuracy and efficiency.
- Shipping and Receiving: ERP software for distribution must offer comprehensive functionality for tracking all incoming and outgoing items. For top performance, select a system with detailed, real-time tracking that can also help you calculate added costs, such as freight, duties and tariff rates.
- Electronic Data Interchange: EDI is critical for distributors working with major retailers as well as the automotive and aerospace industries. When integrated with the rest of your ERP functionality, EDI promotes seamless communication between your enterprise data and customers.
An ERP implementation promotes widespread business improvements, but only when you choose the right solution. By taking a uniform, thorough approach to ERP selection, you’ll find the ideal vendor to help you take your company to a whole new level.
We specialize in Epicor because it checks all the boxes. With its unmatched flexibility and diverse modules, Epicor has been able to deliver reliable solutions to manufacturers and distributors for over 45 years. An Epicor Platinum Partner, the consultants at Datix know how to align Epicor with your precise needs. Our experts have decades of experience in implementations, customizations, integrations, upgrades and more.
Want more information on the ERP selection and implementation process? Reach out to Datix, and let us guide you throughout your next software project!
This post was created on January 3, 2019.