The New Year is when we assess our current personal situation and look to create goals to exercise more, eat less and lose weight or learn a foreign language.
The same is true for manufacturers and distributors; it is the ideal time for a company to work on improving its current situation and seek ways to operate more efficiently, increase profitability and work smarter.
Turning over a new leaf as a business often coincides with introducing a new or updated enterprise software solution and enhanced business processes.
Many companies, while in the introspective, self-analysis phase, determine if they are well served by their current ERP system or if it’s time to evaluate and choose a new, more capable solution.
Perhaps your company’s ERP system hasn’t kept up with technology innovations. It may be out of the upgrade and improvement loop. It might not accommodate mobile transactions, it may be hobbled with an antiquated on-premise data center that lacks security patches, and may be generations removed from the current version. Maybe worst of all, your company has added point solutions as needed and what you have now is a klugey, clumsy and inefficient, bolted-together solution that works – but not at an optimum level.
If that scenario rings true for your company, it’s time to move to a new ERP system better designed to meet the challenges of manufacturing in the 21st century.
Looking at Value
When assessing the current value of a legacy ERP system, the primary focus should be whether the legacy features and functions adequately support the business - not just the current state of business but the anticipated future state too.
Another area to consider is the solution’s integration with external systems, applications, customers and suppliers to help manage the extended enterprise. Are there a multiple point solutions like CRM, SCM, PLM and customer and supplier portals that were an afterthought and aren’t fully integrated into the ERP solution?
In terms of the end user experience, does the current ERP system offer an intuitive look and feel? Can users easily adapt screens? It’s common for small to mid-sized manufacturing and distribution companies to be using AS-400 based ERP systems with antiquated “green screens” from another era. We see users still struggling with legacy, user-unfriendly ERP solutions that demand programming expertise.
When considering current value of the ERP system, how robust are business intelligence capabilities? Does the system provide real-time visibility info areas like shop floor activity, capacity, inventory levels to fulfill orders and equipment effectiveness? Do users access easy to understand, “at a glance” dashboards and scorecards?