There is no shortage of options when looking for a new manufacturing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. Whether you are looking for multi-country, multi-language capabilities or the ability to manage one small location, you may be overwhelmed when reviewing the options. To help with the evaluation process, you can learn more about how they run their company and if they are an all in one provider. By all in one, I am referring to whether they do everything in house: sales, implementation, and support. Let’s review why this is important when considering a new ERP provider.
1. Is the sales person a direct employee of the company?
From step one of evaluating vendors, you should be able to tell if your contact works for the actual provider. There are some basic signals to look for such as the company name in their email address, as in @(companyname).com. Also, their email signature should say their position and company name as well. Otherwise, the main way to tell is how responsive they are to your questions. If they must get back to you constantly for basic items, or for items that other vendor sales persons can answer right away, these are warning signs. You do not want to deal with a third-party sales person because they will try to sell at all costs, whether they are honest becomes an issue.
2. Is the implementation done in house or through a third-party?
Always ask vendors how the implementation is done. The answer you want is that they do it in house with a services team on staff. They will know the ins and outs, and it will be far easier to work with them directly. If they use a third party, it is a concern because they may not have the intimate knowledge needed to best implement and maintain the software. Then, if the implementation goes wrong or there are unresolved issues, it will lead to finger pointing and blame passing, while you must sit and suffer if they ever come to an agreement on it.
3. Is the support outsourced or done at the provider’s HQ?
This is perhaps the most common one that is outsourced. Many ERP providers use consultants or third-party organizations overseas for their support. It is often cheaper and less stress for them, but it means that you will have to suffer with language barriers, time zone differences, and/or people who are not experts. They may have been trained on the system, but it is very unlikely they are as up to date as someone who is on-site at the HQ.