Industryweek 36053 Executives Meeting

Finding a Manufacturing ERP in 3 Steps

Sept. 27, 2019
Set goals, develop a business case, and determine the details.

Buying a new ERP solution for your manufacturing business is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in your career.

The process will involve a broad team of stakeholders from throughout your organization. It could take up weeks or even months of your time. It will require your decision-makers to commit to a major financial investment. And in the end, you’ll have to live with your new platform for five years, 10 years, or more.

Just because your ERP selection process isn’t quick or easy doesn’t mean it has to be complicated. Follow these three steps to retain your focus—and keep your company on track for a successful go-live.

1. Set goals and desired outcomes

As with any other major corporate decision, you’ll want to clarify your purpose before diving into the details. Don’t settle for, “We need to replace our old system because everyone is sick of it.” Determine the specific benefits you would hope to achieve from a new platform over the next 10 years.

Also, be sure to:

  • Catalog the faults of your current system, so you can find a new system that isn’t built the same way.
  • List specific organizational goals for your implementation, so that you’ll remain focused on growth and profitability—not just cool features.
  • Gather a list of specific feature requests from departments to help ensure high rates of user adoption across teams.
  • Ask your stakeholders to sign off on the lists you’ve created.

2. Develop a business case

Here’s where you’ll need to lay out the financial arguments for your new ERP. To get executive buy-in for your project, you should:

  • Ask your executives for a hard spending limit—or at least a well-defined range—and then consider this your project budget.
  • Decide which methods you’ll use to measure the ROI and overall success of your project.
  • Present these calculations to your executive board to get their final approval to move forward.

3. Determine Who, What, Where, When, Why

Once you’ve earned approval from your executives, it’s time to start assembling your project team. Just as you collected feature requests from each department that will ultimately use the platform, make sure these departments are also represented on your project team.

Use this stage of the project to:

  • Set your timeline and schedule.
  • Prepare for change management and end user training.
  • Determine how you’ll measure the success of your implementation.
  • Scope your project, so that you can approach ERP vendors with clear requirements.

The Path to ERP Purchasing

To explore the entire purchasing process in detail, please download the free white paper, How to Buy an ERP for Your Manufacturing Business

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