3 C’s of ERP Software Evaluation

October 26, 2016
4 min read

Companies make the decision to implement ERP software because they understand that their investment will drive streamlined operations, competitive advantage, and increased productivity. Because of this, selecting the correct software is critical to a company’s success. You can begin the process by evaluating your options based on the 3 C’s…

Is it Complete?

In the most basic terms, ERP software is comprised of multiple program modules that manage specific business procedures. Order Entry, Purchasing, Finance, CRM, and Inventory/Warehouse Management are common examples of operational functionality improved by ERP software.

When researching ERPs, it’s important to identify the software’s true strengths and limitations. You can begin by examining the company itself. Consider, for a moment, ERP software developed by companies who specialize in a specific field like accounting, for instance. While it makes sense that an accounting firm provides robust financial applications, it’s common for this type of software to be accompanied by average modules for those processes outside their area of expertise. Playing to their strengths, some providers even choose to exclude mediocre modules altogether.

As you can expect, implementing efficiencies in one area alone, like finance, won’t solve productivity issues over in the warehouse. After all, no company wants to implement half a solution when it comes to operational improvement. This method forces customers to search for third party software that they hope will integrate with their finance system just so they can fulfill all of their operational requirements.

Even after successfully piecing together a functioning, patchwork ERP solution, some companies soon discover that utilizing different software packages can hinder the access and flow of customer and sales data between operational systems. Wasn’t the point of implementing ERP software to make things more efficient?

Is it Comprehensive?

Finding a complete ERP software solution doesn’t guarantee that it’s comprehensive. How so? Consider that even if a company offers a financial application, certain tools within that module may not actually be included in the base contract.

Much like a dining in an upscale restaurant, this practice is called à la carte. Vendors claim the benefit of this method is to give customers only the software they need. The problem with this technique is that customers are continually having to come back to the well to purchase more modules as their needs evolve due to growth and competition.

To be truly comprehensive means that ERP software should be all-inclusive. Customers may not need Serial/Lot Control or Kitting/Assembly out of the gate, but it’s extremely beneficial to know that the modules stand ready to be called into action anytime a customer requires them.

Another benefit of enabling access to every module is that it allows customers the opportunity to explore multiple options for handling processes. As users interact with the expanded programs, they may discover that there exists a more efficient method for completing a task. Isn’t that the reason for implementing ERP software in the first place?

Is it Connected?

For an ERP solution to be truly effective, every module must talk to each other. This interconnectivity of programs allows for the immediate recall of related data no matter where it exists in the system. Whether it’s the link between sales and CRM or the connectivity between order entry and shipping systems with mobile apps, there’s real value in having easy access to customer and sales data from multiple areas of the software. Moreover, having accurate, real-time data readily available expedites the decision process without interrupting productivity.

Connectivity also extends to mobile access. Through the use of mobile applications, users should be able to place orders and examine accurate real-time data on current sales and inventory levels on their phone or tablet from any place they travel. Such connectivity allows companies to easily handle changing sales orders and quickly counter a competitor’s pricing swings. Aren’t these behaviors true measures of a successful business?

Selecting the right ERP software takes time and a great deal of research. Only through careful investigation of features and functionality will you find the correct software for your company. As you conduct your search, consider evaluating Distribution One’s innovative ERP-ONE software. It’s complete, comprehensive, and connected. And, as you will soon discover, those characteristics just scratch the surface of all it can do for you.