Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are intended to provide an integrated software system as a “backbone” to support key business processes and help them perform better. They can include order-entry, accounting, inventory management, forecasting, transportation management and manufacturing-planning. For this reason ERP is often called the “operating system” of the company. Popular larger vendors include SAP and Oracle. At the next level down in size Epicor, Microsoft Great Plains and Oracle Net-Suite dominate. Finally, for smaller companies there are a large variety of vendors, usually that are designed to support very specific industries.

Important ERP selection criteria include the nature of your business. ERP systems are often designed around one of four basic businesses: Manufacturing, Distribution, Service with Inventory, or Service-Only. If your business is manufacturing and distribution, or distribution and service-with-inventory you will often have a choice of which functionality is more important for your success.

Important ERP selection criteria include the nature of your business.

Another consideration when beginning your ERP selection is the customization of the system. Many companies have custom processes that have developed over the years. However, ERP systems are not flexible and it is advisable to adjust your processes to the ERP versus customizing the ERP to your processes. If you choose to customize you will have “patches” that inhibit future upgrades.

One caution when choosing and implementing an ERP system is that they are seen as the “fix” for poor processes. However, implementing an ERP without correcting poor processes usually results in poor use of the ERP features and limited ERP implementation success. At Supply Velocity, we recommend you answer the following questions prior to ERP implementation: