Purchasing and implementing a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system can be a daunting prospect for many. Even more so than the decision itself of WHY to purchase, many companies are confounded by the question of WHEN to purchase. The economy is still questionable. Some companies are seeing a rebound and others are merely seeing the hope of a rebound. If this is true then why should a company decide to purchase a new ERP system now, when there is no guarantee that a profitability rebound is on the horizon? Given that there is probably no perfect time to purchase ERP the question then is why should I buy now? Below are three of the top reasons why buying now is the right choice.
First, and most importantly, think about where you want to be in a year, two years, or more. If your business isn't at optimal capacity now but your plan is to get there within a year or even two, now is the time to buy. If you purchase now, you can strategically plan your implementation and take more time to be meticulous about data conversion, data transfer, and possible changes to processes or procedures. You can also allocate the proper resources and time to the implementation. Having the appropriate people involved from the beginning and with the ability to commit the time to the project is by far the biggest hurdle with any implementation - regardless of the chosen system. By the completion of "go live," chances are very good that the steps you took during the implementation will make your company more efficient and more aptly able to handle the increase in business that is anticipated.
Second is the fact that ERP companies are also still looking to make sales (read deals!) and are offering more tailored, industry-specific packages. The rapid consolidation of companies that we saw a couple of years ago has, for the most part, subsided. The result of the consolidation is that ERP system capabilities are more defined and it is easier to find ERP that more adeptly handles your company needs. While one company might have multiple packages to choose from, overall choices of ERP systems that truly match your company's manufacturing type have diminished. Thus, you have a field of less than 10 ERP systems, instead of 30 plus, from which to choose. While less options doesn't seem like an advantage, think of it as weeding out a significant number of systems that wouldn't have been close to a good fit anyway. The time saved in the beginning search process is significant.
Lastly, the information available, via a multitude of resources, is more abundant than ever before. From basic internet searches to social media sites (i.e. Facebook and Twitter) to non-biased ERP comparison sites - all avenues provide a vast amount of information for any ERP consumer. Never before has the power of the internet become such an ally for research and development. A quick search of ERP companies can yield a list of top award winners, top customer comments, valuable reviews, and priceless notifications of pending lawsuits. The information age has pushed the data available out of monthly print publications and into our daily lives. By utilizing the information available, consumers are better equipped to ask the right questions, compare the answers to known information, and gain knowledge via other users out there in the World Wide Web.
So when thinking about your company and how you will rebound, think about ERP as a foundation for everything you do and a springboard to make you stronger in the future. Your quality commitment, your goals for success, your ideas for strength as the economy rebounds - all of these can be achieved with a solid ERP system in place. If you don't have that solid foundation now, then perhaps you should be thinking about getting it in place now.