Why entry-level software doesn’t support the modern business |
Achieving growth via the right-sized ERP partner
The world of manufacturing and distribution today has entered a period of change unlike any other throughout history – escalating regulation, cut-rate global competitors, a supply chain that can be sourced from a rapidly growing array of new companies and countries, and automation/technology capabilities that can quickly make, or break a business.
Nowhere is the impact more profound than on those emerging companies that have grown steadily or rapidly, organically or by merger, and now find themselves needing to upgrade beyond a current accounting system to a more comprehensive ERP Solution that is better able to support growth. Faced with the prospect of reviewing literally dozens of potential software providers, the task to change software may feel overwhelming to mid-sized manufacturing businesses whose resources are already limited.
The primary purpose of this white paper is to help simplify the search for an accounting system replacement, to provide a thoughtful and easy-to-understand checklist of areas to consider, and helpful tips.
On a secondary level, we respectfully invite you to consider SYSPRO ERP as your potential system replacement strategy. SYSPRO has an excellent global reputation with customers in more than 60 countries and has a strong footprint in the technology analyst community as an ERP company that provides a higher level of customer support, service and end-user satisfaction than any other ERP provider. SYSPRO’s people are committed to one goal only: to simplify your success and to take your company to its highest potential, whatever your vision!
Every day, company management is surrounded by competing levels of “noise” as to what must be done to protect bottom-line profitability while growing top-line revenue. Regardless of which manufacturing or distribution industry segment that a business operates within, or the size of the company, the problem is pervasive: where best to put the focus of resources for the greatest impact. For some period of time – from a few years to ten years or more (depending upon the company’s individual circumstances) – a standard accounting system may have met basic business needs.
Today, however, things have changed. The inability of many basic accounting systems to change with the business and provide the data access and reporting that are now necessary for current and future growth are a real problem. You can choose to delay the inevitable – keep the many manual processes in place that are used today, forego automation in an ever-escalating array of key repetitive tasks, and/or make a best guess as to which business segments/suppliers/ customers and partners… are doing well.
Or, you can undertake the type of active change that may be challenging in the short term (change ALWAYS is), but that will have you and your team saying, “Why did we ever wait so long to do this?”
Most smaller-sized businesses tend to start with a basic accounting system, and initially thrive on the set of features/functions intended to drive start-up businesses from an idea to a legitimate enterprise. But as the business takes off, these types of activities are good barometers that it’s time to upgrade to a full-function ERP solution that is best suited to support and facilitate business growth.
Have you outgrown your accounting system? A 10-Point Checklist
- You’ve outgrown the capability of your current software to manage business operations, resulting in many operations still being run manually.
- Your system limits your ability to adopt vital current technology (e.g., cloud, mobile, EDI, workflow, barcode data collection, etc.).
- You have poor financial control, leading to a loss of profitability and time.
- Your industry has new or changing compliance regulations and/or you need additional trace or audit capabilities.
- You have poor or inadequate inventory visibility resulting in either too much inventory or too little inventory.
- You aren’t able to deliver customer orders on-time and error-free.
- Your current software no longer fits your business model, or the requirements of a recent merger or acquisition demand a more flexible solution.
- Your current system takes too long or is unable to help you figure out what materials or product you need, how much you need and when you need it.
- Your current system is unable to accurately manage and plan shop floor production.
- You are a manufacturer or distributor, and your competitors are outpacing you, or you want to accelerate your operations to outpace them.
If you’ve checked √ against even one of these, your company has outgrown the accounting system
What to consider from an ERP vendor
Achieving the type of success that elevates a business to require more than the simplicity of a standard accounting system is something that companies should be proud of – not everyone reaches this milestone. But, if an organization is now to become more profitable and competitive in their marketplace, here are some guidelines as to what you should expect from your new ERP technology provider.
One important point of clarification: be sure that the new ERP provider can deliver these capabilities easily and inexpensively as part of the already-built software system. All software can be customized and re-coded — what is different between vendors is how much customization is available without additional time and money required to do it. Therefore, the three most important questions to ask regarding the capabilities are:
√ What will the additional costs be for this customization?
√ How long will this take to do?
√ Can we do any/all of it ourselves without recoding?
√ Consolidation of all key operational data into one system that does not require manual re-keying or entry of data to perform tasks
√ Real-time, role-based (secure) views of all important operational activity
√ Accessibility by multiple users, from multiple locations at the right cost
√ More than ONE deployment option – vendors that are “all cloud” or “all on-premise” should be eliminated. Companies will be stuck with only one option as they grow or change requirements
√ The ability to easily analyze and report on any set of data for any purpose – internal, external, regulatory compliance, financial, etc.
√ User interfaces that are easily personalized and customized to your company or industry needs
√ Operational workflows that are easily customized to your needs
√ Flexibility to change anything: processes, regulatory or operational controls
√ Audit/tracking of anything, anywhere, anytime, in real time
√ World class customer service and support from a vendor that is a true partner
Additional Things to Consider When Replacing your accounting software
- ERP Suite vs. a Disparate Best-of-Breed Approach: One of the most important decisions a company makes when upgrading will be: Do you want to shop for individual software solutions that may be well known as being the best solution in the market within your industry and typically being extremely sophisticated to fit the largest companies, – or do you wish to gain most of your requirements from one holistic system? Since most mid-sized organizations have fewer resources (or a desire) to build large IT staffs, the most efficient path forward is to select an ERP provider with deep experience with companies of your size, within your industry and within your budget considerations. This way, not only will most of the requirements be built-in already, but other additional advantages may include:
– Less Initial Programming: no requirement to build-in application programming interfaces (APIs) – these are necessary for a true “best of breed” approach with multiple vendors to allow data to flow between the disparate software;
– Easier Change: when changes occur, such as the introduction of new products, processes, facilities, re-organization, regulations, re-coding the individual software pieces one at a time isn’t necessary;
– Fewer IT Resources/Spend: often times, choosing the best of breed vendor will result in either have more technology support in-house or outsourced to keep all the pieces working optimally.
Larger vendor or smaller vendor: This decision is akin to the Goldilocks and Three Bears story – if you pick a vendor that is large like a Tier 1 vendor, a smaller, mid-sized company is likely not going to get the time and attention needed with this important transition. Selecting a vendor that is too small or unproven in your industry can run the serious risk of an unsuccessful deployment—which most mid-sized companies can’t afford. Picking the “right sized” vendor that has long-term proven experience in your industry will give your company the comfort it needs to take this important technology upgrade step.