Ask the Right Questions About Potential ERP Systems
Sage EM Offers More for Growing Companies
Manufacturers exploring their options for adding enterprise resource planning systems to their companies need to be aware of many factors during the research phase of their project. Understanding just what an ERP system does, the features and benefits of each system, and how the system will integrate with existing systems is critical.
But perhaps, more importantly, is understanding how an ERP system is configured to work for the manufacturing industry. Software such as Sage EM (formerly known as Sage X3) is built with manufacturers in mind. It’s been tested with many manufacturing firms who have known, used, and benefited from its attributes over the years. Choosing software that’s used by other companies in your industry is one way to ensure that it has what you need to run your business efficiently.
There are several key questions to ask before choosing your software package. These include:
- Have you included all internal stakeholders in the software assessment process? The worst thing you can do is begin speaking with vendors and consultants about ERP systems without complete feedback from the entire team back at the plant or office who intend to use the system. Input from all areas within an organization is essential to help you choose the best ERP system for your needs. Without such input, you may be guessing when it comes to what the accounting department needs, for example, or misunderstanding the needs of other critical departments. Invite key managers and support staff to discovery meetings and take copious notes to help you form a “wish list” for a project scope. The more people you can invite to at least the preliminary investigation meetings, the better. They can offer valuable insights and guidance while you’re building support for the project. The more they invest into the process, the more invested they will feel with the outcome.
- Can you configure the system to your needs? Some systems can be used right out of the box, but others require custom configuration. How easy or difficult it is to make these tweaks is an important part of your decision-making process. It’s also important to consider just how extensive the tweaks must be before you have a system you’re satisfied with. Changing a system to the point of being unrecognizable from the original solution defeats the purpose of shopping for an ERP system in the first place. You might as well build an entirely custom system for the amount of time and money extensive configurations will use. Balance the need for configuration with the need for an ERP solution to meet your requirements as much as possible “off the shelf,” without any tweaks or changes. When the balance shifts in favor of an off-the-shelf system, with minimal customization needed, you’ve probably found a worthwhile solution.
- Is this a system built for the manufacturing industry? ERP systems can be made for general business purposes or specific purposes, such as manufacturing. If a system is too general, it won’t include the functionality that you require to run your manufacturing business. There are many ERP options made with manufacturers in mind. Don’t settle for a generic option. Too much customization on an ERP system may lead to inefficiencies. It is better to begin with the right solution than to fit a square peg into a round hole.
Features of an Enterprise Resource Planning System for Manufacturers
Some of the features found within an enterprise resource planning software built specifically for the manufacturing industry include:
- Supply chain management and visibility
- CRM (customer relationship management)
- Stock reports and inventory management
- Production planning and control
- Barcode generation, tracking, and routing
- Inventory management and reports
- Billing and managing complex billing cycles
- Managing complicated production cycles
You may need to add your own features to this list. Different manufacturing areas require different things. But, in general, tracking from order entry through fulfillment and production is a “must” for manufacturers.
Sage EM (formerly known as Sage X3), ERP Built for Manufacturing
Among the many ERP software packages available, Sage EM (formerly known as Sage X3) is built for the manufacturing industry. It’s a powerful, flexible software that grows with your business. Sage EM (formerly known as Sage X3) centralizes data for easier management and access and provides excellent reports using multiple data sources. You can integrate business processes into a series of manageable workflows. And because Sage EM (formerly known as Sage X3) is cloud-based, you can take it with you—on the road, to your customer’s workplace, on a work from home day, or whatever you need.
Clearly, there are many enterprise resource planning software packages available. But only a handful are created especially for manufacturing with all the tools you need to build a better business. Sage EM (formerly known as Sage X3) has this—and more.
IWI Consulting Group helps businesses gain insights into their operations, inventory, and profitability. We provide software and support for a wide range of industries throughout Canada. We can help with Sage EM (formerly known as Sage X3) selection, implementation, training, and more, as well as other software packages to run your business. For more information, please visit IWI Consulting Group or contact us today.