There are few manufacturing IT projects more daunting, resource-intensive and complex then selecting a new ERP system.
Given that choosing and implementing a new ERP system is one of the biggest decisions a mid-market manufacturing company will ever make, taking the time to evaluate an ERP selection consultant is an equally critical task.
After all, it makes business sense to shorten the selection process, improve your chances of finding a system that will be a good match for your company, and instill confidence to achieve a faster ROI. Your ERP selection consultant should save you time and money, and get your project off to a great start.
It is in this spirit that we offer you five tried and true tips for picking the right ERP selection consultant:
Tip 1: Assess your internal resources.
Typically, a mid-sized manufacturing organization’s IT department has limited experience managing selection and implementation projects. Realize that the average selection project will take up most of their time for a lengthy period, and demand sophisticated project management skills. Does anyone within the organization offer extensive knowledge and understanding of the ERP vendor community? It’s important that the ERP project team has knowledge of multiple vendors, their products and also their sales and support organizations. How about contract negotiations? Is there anyone within the organization that has experience in this area?
Tip 2: Make sure the ERP selection consultant truly knows you and your manufacturing operation.
Focus on finding a resource with decades of experience in ERP and business best practices for your industry, your size of business and your type of manufacturing processes. Ask to speak with similar organizations that have engaged with the ERP selection consultant for an independent reference. Be sure they tell you what results they were able to achieve from the ERP implementation. Ask if the ERP selection consultant understands issues specific to your industry, including any compliance considerations, quality mandates, customer requirements and other considerations. They must be able to easily handle unique requirements specific to your organization.
Tip 3: Confirm that the ERP consultant knows what’s possible with today’s modern ERP systems.
You’re on the look out for in-depth ERP Insight that’s “vendor neutral” for your best outcome. Modern ERP systems offer sophisticated configuration tools, robust reporting and business intelligence, workflow engines and other advanced features – some targeted to specific industries. Confirm that these capabilities are fully understood, so you will obtain system knowledge and ERP system education, work smarter, and streamline the ERP selection process. Reference calls or on site visits with current or recent customers will give you a clear picture of the value the consultant can provide.
Tip 4: Verity that the ERP selection consultant puts the focus on business performance improvement.
Look for an ERP selection consultant that makes it their business to drive results for your organization. The consultant should see an ERP project as a platform for continuous improvement, helping you achieve key business outcomes such as improved customer service, reduced lead time, improved quality, reduced asset turns, higher productivity and improved, more timely decision making.
Tip 5: Consider the ERP consultant’s fit with your company.
This final tip focuses on the “art” verses the “science” of choosing an ERP selection consultant. Do you and other memebers of your organization have a good connection with the selection consulting team? What does your gut tell you? Does the ERP selection consultant see an ERP project as an opportunity to implement business process improvements over just an exercise in technology implementation? To answer these important questions, spend as much time as you can with the potential ERP selection consultant, have them interact with your team and leadership.
Final Thoughts about Choosing ERP Selection Consultants
Your organization wants to reduce the effort, resources and cost of ERP selection.
An ERP selection consultant, when chosen carefully, can help drive savings and guide you to a faster ROI.