Distributors may decide to replace their enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems for a variety of reasons. At the most fundamental level, the question is whether your current system supports or constrains your ability to execute business strategies that will make your company successful and establish it as an industry leader.
Your ERP system provider must be part of your vision. Selecting the right software provider for your business can be a daunting task for those who lack experience in this process. The last thing any person or company wants is to invest in the wrong technology and choose the wrong partnership. The following steps can help increase your probability of success.
First, the head of the organization needs to be involved in the decision-making process. Unless the IT team truly understands the vision of the company for the next 5-10 years, they cannot judge the value a software solution will bring to the business. Ideally, the team selecting your new enterprise software solution should include a high-level executive with long-range vision, line managers from each discipline to confirm proper functionality, and IT staff to ensure that you have the best technology infrastructure for the present and future.
Once the team is in place, the next important step is to define your compelling event. This is your definitive answer to the question, "Why now?" Compelling events are often tied to a process mandate from a key business partner, or an organizational change such as a merger or acquisition.
The cornerstones of your evaluation process should then be: determining your budget and ability to afford the investment, identifying your critical business issues and needs, and defining the selection criteria for the right software and technology provider.
You will want a solution provider who understands the nuances of your business and has the functionality to support your unique needs. Answers to questions such as the following will help you narrow your field of vendors:
- How many customers are distributors? How long has the company been serving distributors?
- Is there an annual users conference focused on the needs of distributors?
- Is the company a member of associations and buying/marketing groups in your industry?
If done correctly, the work you put into selecting your new enterprise software system will pay huge dividends, by giving your company a solution that increases sales, improves customer service, and reduces operating costs. The results can be truly game-changing for any distributor.
To learn more, read our white paper, 5 Mistakes Distributors Make When Selecting an Enterprise Software System, available at: http://www.epicor.com/5mistakes