10 Crucial Questions to Ask When Selecting Enterprise Software

Posted by Gerry Poe


To grasp whether software in use or under consideration, meet your needs in today’s evolving manufacturing environment, asking the following questions are crucial:

SUPPORT FAST BUSINESS CHANGE10-crucial-software-questions

Software should help plan for change. Change is constant and the chief characteristic of today’s business environment. The ability to prepare for the unidentified makes it possible for corporate agility to thrive. Ongoing planning is not about being able to foresee every single event, but being able to respond fast and smart enough to exploit change. Useful software simplifies the ability to change —not only forecast information, but also supply and demand output, quickly, and provide visibility into what impacts the change will make. In today’s markets, where new product introduction is increasingly essential to growth, enterprise software should help facilitate and control new product introduction.

PROVIDE UNENCUMBERED ACCESS TO DATA; TRUE DATA FOR THE CORRECT PEOPLE PRECISELY TIMED

Data-driven decision-making is central to enterprise operations, but the propagation of data can be severe for employers. Well-designed software delivers relevant, usable information, consistently to whatever is a user location. Reliable data, a single version of facts, accessible from any device, is vital. Companies don’t hold up production waiting for sign-off from a production supervisor when data is global and real-time. Aged systems cannot deliver what the future demands.

ALLOW FOR FUTURE-PROOF GROWTH

The limitations between manufacturing and distribution are gradually disappearing; more manufacturing companies are also in distribution and supporting their products, leading to the close-fitting integration of ERP, CRM, WMS, and supply chain management (SCM) solutions. Many companies that today are only manufacturing may consider adding to their services. These companies are served by software that meets their current need but also leverages future development within the system.

ATTRACTIVE TO TODAY’S WORKERS

Manufacturing workforces age. The newer generations are imminent. The longstanding perception of manufacturing as an unworthy workplace (i.e., tedious, dirty, greasy, unhealthy) is, instead, demonstrating high-tech manufacturing, much more appealing to those that grew up in the digital age. When younger people enter a production environment, they prefer working with something they are familiar (i.e., graphical desktop, touchscreens, downloadable cell-phone apps). How will younger workers —shortly to be the mainstream workforce—respond to the software appearance?

USABLE IN TODAY’S CHANGING WORK ENVIRONMENT

What Ease-of-use expresses is the way technology integration enabled us to work differently. These characteristics of software allow mobility. Is it accessible and understood by sophisticated and casual users alike, on many devices: laptops, tablets, smartphones, portable and wearable? Provided availability of intuitive, secure role-based portals and boundaries.

CRM SEPARATE OR IMPLANTED

Customer relationship management is increasingly vital. Most software providers will have CRM solution as a separate, smart-integrated package. CRM offers manufacturers more elaborate relationship management (i.e., prospecting to sales delivery.) When users can drill-down from customer records to the back-office visibility; shipment tracking and order management. Separate systems or implanted; databases and process integration become the blood-stream of customer management. Points of contention go both ways, what is at stake is clarity and timeliness of data availability.

PROVIDE DEPLOYMENT CHOICES

Single instance, on-premise enterprise systems are rapidly being reconsidered. Hybrid models continue to grow in the direction of the norm. However, the middle-of-the-road hybrids combine core and point solutions (on-premise) potentially from multiple vendors. Manufacturers consider cloud-based point solutions as an essential part of the hybrid approach. As manufacturing operations take on a global presence, software providing deployment flexibility is appealing.

FAST TRANSACTION EXECUTION

Timeliness of real-time data transactions is necessary for enterprise software. More rapid system execution equates to a lower cost of work. Consider corporate financials. It’s not uncommon to find manufacturers taking up to ten days processing month-end and preparing financials. A day or two should be the goal. When companies financials are not up to date until the middle of the next month, the current software may require questioning. Software should provide a single source of the truth; believe and trust in their system. Real-time financial data provides up to the minute reporting accuracy.

HOW BROAD AND DEEP

Will software system phase out the use of multiple systems, licensing, updates, and installations, reducing technical complexity and cost? Manufacturers are multifaceted. Finished goods are; make to order, make to stock, engineer to order, assemble to order, and configure to order. The modern software handles all these methods? Does production have the ability to change over quickly and forecast capacities in weeks, months, or years’ time?

TAILOR CONFIGURATION or CUSTOMIZATION

Because business evolvement makes likely; companies requirement to adapt software over time is probable. Ease of use and costs factor will make those changes acceptable or impossible. Current systems are enabling integration of new user-defined fields, without developer engineered customization required. When tailoring is an innate function, by design, without necessitating an upgrade, at additional costs, the company wins.

 

Tags: Business Strategy, Food & Beverage, Goal Setting, Business Technology, Choosing ERP

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