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Not all ERP Solutions are Created Equal – How to Select the One that’s Best for You.

Mark Feldhamer President LogicData Headshot | August 2nd, 2022

Choosing a Manufacturing ERP solution that is right for your company and ensuring it is implemented and supported well, are critical to your continued success for years to come.  There are three legs to selecting an ERP system:  The fit of the software, the quality of the software, the expertise of the implementation partner.  If all three are strong you will have an excellent implementation and future success with your system.

While many solutions may look similar on the surface, there are differences in not just the product, but the provider and implementor as well. In this article I will discuss some of the key differentiators to consider when selecting an ERP solution.

Purpose built

Some ERP systems have solutions across a broad array of industries all rolled into one monolithic ERP system.  A solution that attempts to meet the requirements across multiple industries will be very complex and require extensive tailoring to fit your specific business.  Add one or two zeros to the cost of implementing one of these large systems.  Running a hotel chain is a lot different than running a manufacturing company.  Supporting pharmaceutical processes is nothing like making aerospace parts.  Look for a solution that is specifically targeted to your industry, and still brings broader functionalities for all your divisions and departments. 

At the other end of the scale, some solutions are very tightly focused on a specific process within a company, such as a Shop Floor Execution system.  While these may bring some excellent features, so-called “point-solutions” do not provide functionality for the rest of the departments that make up your enterprise.  A focused MES solution may help your shop floor run more efficiently, but it does not bring functions to support accounting, customer service, quality, procurement, after-market services, CRM, etc. 

An example of balance between these two extremes is SyteLine ERP.  Because SyteLine is built specifically for discrete mid-market manufacturers, the key requirements for discrete manufacturing will be met out-of-the-box with minimal configuration and fewer modifications.  Designed from the ground-up with the full Manufacturing Enterprise in mind, SyteLine’s modules integrate seamlessly allowing all departments to work off the same data and coordinate in real time.  And, because most manufacturers do have some unique requirements, SyteLine provides sophisticated extensibility to meet those needs as well. 

Additionally, SyteLine is highly scalable, fitting into the range of customers that comprise the “mid-market” easily, generally manufacturing companies with revenues from $20M to $1B, from 20 to thousands of uses.  So, as you grow, the product will scale to meet your needs.

Freedom of Choice

A key choice is forced upon users when evaluating potential software vendors:  Do you want to be hosted in the Cloud as a subscription service, or do you want the software to run on-premises in your own data center?  With some ERP systems this choice is unavailable, they may be cloud only or on-premises only.   This may limit your selection.  For example, perhaps you have significant regulatory requirements that would prohibit you from running in a SaaS environment.  Or, you don’t have IT expertise and you need to run in a SaaS/hosted environment.   Flexibility in choice is key.

SyteLine runs in Multi-Tenant Cloud (SaaS), or on-premises.  The same software in both environments.  While SaaS (Cloud) may be the right deployment option for you, you may find that an on-premises or hosted option is a better fit for your business objectives.   

Focused, experienced implementation

Even the best ERP system, if not properly implemented, will not deliver acceptable results. Considering the time and money you will invest in a new solution, make sure your implementation partner can support you through the process.

Questions to ask:

  • How long has the partner supported and implemented the software?
  • How many companies like yours have they implemented?
  • Ask questions specific to your industry to gauge the partners knowledge in the area.

You may have choices in the implementation partner for a specific ERP system – perhaps the ERP vendor themselves offer implementation services.  We’ve generally found a higher customer satisfaction level when the customer engaged a partner rather than the software vendor.

LogicData has been focused on implementing the SyteLine solution for manufacturers since 1986. In addition to this experience, with over 20 full time professional services team members, they have resources to staff your project as necessary.

Reliable software support and cutting-edge technology

I recently received a solicitation from a start-up ERP company asking us to consider carrying their new product.  A quick review showed they had only been in business for 2 years and had a handful of small customers.

ERP software is monstrously large and complex.  Good ERP systems have hundreds of thousands of man-hours of development behind them.  Watch out for startups, as they won’t have the depth you need to run your enterprise.   The ERP vendor should be investing regularly in their system, adding features, incorporating modern technology, improving the user interface. 

In its 30-year history, SyteLine has been re-written 3 times to take advantage of current technologies and changes to user interface standards.  Infor is continually developing new functionality for the core system and rolling features into the product at no additional charge to the customer.  Infor has over 1200 support staff to ensure that you receive adequate software support for your ERP. Over the past 3 years Koch Industries, a majority owner of Infor, has invested more than $4.5 Billion to grow the company. Rest assured that your ERP will be supported now and into the future.

But don’t just take our word for it. Here is what  one of our customers has to say.

Alexander Mfg. has been using Syteline to run our business for 19 years. It is a great fit for us.

This ERP system does everything we need from Customer Service to Supply Chain Management. The user

interface is very intuitive, new users get up to speed quickly. The financials have great integration with

Excel so our CFO has his financials setup to run easily and changes to them are simple. We are also using

the CRM module that comes with the system. It is pretty good, but we are looking at purchasing their full

featured CRM. Overall a very good business system.

Steve Mathews

IT Director

Alexander Manufacturing Company

Please let us know if we can help you with your ERP selection.

ERP Selection Do's and Don'ts infographic showing the key points when selecting ERP software

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