Unfortunately, sales representatives in nearly every field (car sales, insurance sales, door to door sales) have earned themselves a reputation. They have become known as “Yes” men (or women), known for saying “Yes” to anything you need, regardless if it is possible or not, in order to close the sale and move on.
When making an investment that is critical to the long-term success of your company, such as manufacturing ERP or MES software, you can’t afford to settle for the easy “Yes.” Recently, more and more ERP vendors are distracting prospects with showy demos and big discount offers without taking the time to properly examine the businesses they are wooing. The result of these grand promises is a poor fit and the unsuspecting companies become victims of bait and switch (and you can Google the ERP lawsuits to prove it).
I have personally seen this scenario too many times when prospects have come to us describing how their legacy ERP provider said yes, when the answer was really no, and now they are saddled with a system that does not perform as promised. They were forced to change their processes and sink a lot of money into customization before deciding to scrap the system altogether and search for a better solution.
ERP research should be a discovery process between you and the ERP vendor. A good ERP vendor will sit you down with one of their technical sales specialists and take the time to understand your business and your needs. A good ERP vendor is looking for a long-term relationship that benefits both sides, not a one-stop sale.
Now this wouldn’t be a fair blog post if I didn’t mention that the responsibility of finding good fitting software goes both ways. So what can you do to ensure you find the right solution for your business?
- Business Process Needs Analysis: Before you begin researching new ERP vendors, make sure you have your everyday business process requirements for each department documented. If you don’t know what features you need, how can you investigate if the software can deliver it?
- References: Be sure to check references of companies in your specific industry that are using the version of the software you will be on. Was a lot of customization needed? Does the software perform as they were promised? If possible, conduct a site visit to see the software in action.
- Development Partner: When custom development is necessary to solve a critical need, how open is the prospective ERP vendor to helping solve your problem? Unique ERP vendors encourage user-suggested development and work hard to make the software work for you.
Find the ERP vendor that is honest in their evaluation of what they can offer your business and encourages open, realistic discussions regarding your expectations. Give us a call some time and I’ll show you what I mean.