Enterprise resource planning, or ERP, is software that manages a business’s critical activities and operations. Having a solid ERP system in place at your modern machine shop can improve cash flow and labor tracking, reduce operational costs, centralize data, and so much more.
Tips for Selecting an ERP System for Your Modern Machine Shop
NTMA invited experts from Global Shop Solutions to deliver a webinar on ERP system selection. Here’s a look at the step-by-step process they laid out:
- Assemble your ERP task force. Choosing your ERP system isn’t just a job for IT. You’ll need to assemble a group representing allthe disciplines in your organization—finance, sales, engineering, and more. A robust ERP system can improve operations in almost every facet of your business, so it’s important to get input from throughout the organization.
- Set long-term goals. Establishing specific goals will keep your team accountable and on track for implementing the ERP. Use the acronym SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based) when setting these goals to help everyone make informed decisions and assess progress.
- Secure ownership and employee buy-in. Successfully implementing an ERP requires buy-in from the whole team, particularly senior management. Ideally, you should have at least one champion at the management level and a plan for bringing the rest of the key players on board.
- Select systems to review and schedule demonstrations. Once you’ve prepped your team, begin identifying ERP systems that could be a potential match. Leverage search engines, business research sites, and word of mouth from your peers to source your list. When you have a solid group of vendors you’re considering, reach out to each one and schedule a software demonstration. The demo will serve as an extensive interview and enable you to narrow down your list.
- Score for the 4 Cs and make a shortlist. Is the system complete, comprehensive, customizable, and cohesive? Scoring for the 4 Cs will help you determine which ERP systems are fully integrated, have the latest technologies, are customizable to your specific needs, and are easy to use. Use these criteria to make a shortlist of finalists.
- Conduct a final evaluation and select the winner. Notify your finalists and conduct a final in-depth evaluation. During this step, you should get a full quote-to-cash demo with your data, have the vendors visit your facility, and talk to their customers to hear honest testimonials. Once you have all the information you need, you’ll be well-equipped to choose the right ERP vendor.
Selecting and implementing an ERP is a great way to improve your machine shop organization. If you’re an NTMA member, your fellow members are excellent resources for finding information about different ERP vendors. Join NTMA today to make connections that will help you improve your shop.