CFO at ULVAC Technologies, Inc. overseeing the Finance, IT and HR functions in North America.
Choosing to partner with your enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution provider can be an incredibly important decision for your company. During the ERP selection process, you should try to look ahead at how that business relationship can be mutually beneficial past the “go live” experience. The following are tips for doing that, based on our company’s experience.
Before You Decide On A Provider
Communication and trust are important factors to test out before the official selection of a particular ERP system. You should track:
• Is the company responsive to your questions and concerns?
• Does the company follow through with what it promised or said?
• Can you and the company have both good and difficult conversations while keeping things civil and respectful?
• Do you trust it will support you?
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• Does the company always find the information you need?
I was the project manager, with finance and accounting responsibility, for our company’s ERP conversion project and helped to put together a cross-functional team of department leaders who could clearly define their needs and wants in a new ERP solution. We had a list of five ERP companies who initially met our basic yet essential requirement of being able to support a distribution and engineer-to-order business model. Each ERP company was able to demo its ERP system solution for our project team. We ended up choosing a company known for supporting engineer-to-order manufacturing companies that can also handle our distribution model.
How Your Provider Can Help You
How can your provider be a partner? Services and features vary by vendor, but for illustrative purposes, here’s an overview of the kinds of offerings to look for, based on our experience.
Our provider started by giving us a year to go live to give my employees plenty of opportunities to stay in their existing roles and carve out time each week to test the system in a test database. We had a local implementation consultant help us design our system and train our people based on best known methods from other customers. We continue to use the consultant to enable new functionality as the system continuously upgrades through customer demands. As customers make requests for new functionality, these software changes are rolled into the next software version that is available to all users who upgrade to that software version. For example, my company added a customer relationship management (CRM) upgrade to record meeting minutes in our ERP system. This means that any customer on the next software version will be on the same software. This change was made available to all users as new functionality they can turn on or off. The vendor provides outstanding support, and my company continues to rely on them for good communication and new solutions.
What You Can Do To Help Your Provider
How do you help your ERP provider as a partner? Act as a user reference to help prospective customers determine if that software will meet their needs. For example, my company attends annual user conferences during non-pandemic years and speaks with other customers about the creative solutions we have made with our ERP software, such as our travel and expense reporting functionality using its native accounts payable module. We prefer to have as much business data as possible in our ERP system, and we look to capture the data in that system first before we seek additional vendors. We have positively reviewed the software online at a third-party software review website based on our great experience.
Look for a mutually beneficial relationship with your ERP company, and find ways how you can support each other. Find an ERP solution company you trust. Be a good customer for them if they are a good ERP solution provider to you.