A smooth implementation is the natural outcome of a sound ERP selection. Choosing an ERP that needs fewer company-specific or industry-specific modifications is one of your best bets for a smoother implementation. Here are six features to consider when evaluating a new manufacturing ERP:
Industry-Specific Functionality. Some software providers, like manufacturers, have learned that the detail-level capabilities of their products are where process improvements are dramatic. At first glance, the financial ledger tracking abilities of one ERP over another may not be obvious. Basics are basics. But, when you start evaluating how the ERP addresses processes that are inherent to metal fabrication, plastics molding, automotive tier suppliers, or manufacturers of office furniture… the distinctions add up to a sizable, important list. Select an ERP solution which contains industry features built in.
Flexible Architecture. Will users be expected to give up all of their personalizations? They shouldn’t be. Modern solutions with highly flexible architecture and extensibility give the manufacturer options for creating reports, building new forms, adding workflows, and changing prescribed responses, such as escalation alerts or mandatory steps. Refinements should be allowed to be made by using the core architecture and not re-writing it.
Implementation Accelerators. Some software providers offer other tools which manufacturers are finding helpful in the implementation stage, such as accelerators. Accelerators are sets of pre-built forms, reports, dashboards and role-based workbenches which give the team a head start on migrating data from the old system to the new and setting up the necessary workflows. They save time and help the manufacturer adopt industry best practices.
Knowledge Base and Training Tools. The addition of training tools can help employees ask the right questions or even discover the answer themselves. Tools are sometimes available which will help users share insights or talk through a problem with team members. Educational aspects can be incorporated which allow managers to outline procedures and link to Help files. Workflows can also be created so that users must follow prescribed paths, comply with mandates, and fulfill requirements before leaving a screen.
Easy-to-Use Interface. For the implementation to go smoothly, the ERP needs to be user-friendly and easy to learn, with navigation that is intuitive and dashboards that push relevant data to the user. Software that is pleasing to look at and that generates a positive user experience will appeal to employees and help the overall implementation process.
Cloud Deployment. Choosing a cloud solution is one of the most effective tactics for ensuring a speedy, hassle-free implementation. Cloud deployments, free of modifications, often take far less time than comparable on premises solutions.
Read the complete article, "Avoiding Implementation Hassles Starts with a Sound ERP Selection," by Infor's Nick Castellina on Manufacturing Business Technology's website.
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