As an advisor to manufacturers, it is frustrating to see so many companies still getting caught in “traps” that certain ERP vendors set. Here is what we believe the traps are and how to avoid them.
To start, surveys conducted of small and mid-sized manufacturers reveal over 70% that have installed an ERP system have been highly frustrated by the vendor selection and implementation experience. This is consistent with our own findings.
These are manufacturers’ complaints we commonly hear. Sound familiar?
- “The vendor assured us we wouldn’t have to change our business to suit their software.”
- “We were promised that implementation wouldn’t take too long.”
- “Finance and IT selected our ERP software, but didn’t include the people who were actually going to use the software in the decision process.”
- “The demo was very impressive, but the vendor made things look so much easier than they actually turned out to be.”
Maybe the toughest part of determining why an ERP implementation goes sideways is figuring out who’s really at fault? Sometimes it’s the vendor for overpromising, other times the implementation team for overestimating, and certainly at other times, the manufacturer for making poor decisions. Whichever it is, the main reason usually boils down to mismatched expectations about how well the software fits a manufacturer’s business.
And this leads to our main point: No ERP system should be selected without some level of assistance from a qualified, objective source that brings no biases or a financial conflict of interest to the process.
Things to keep in mind:
- ERP vendors are much more likely to tell you what you want to hear rather than what you need to know.
- ERP vendors invest a lot of time in discovery and developing exactly what a potential client wants to see as part of a demo. It’s a show. It’s meant to look slick. And it rarely translates to your day-to-day operating environment.
- Implementation consultants are paid by software vendors and should not be in the ERP software selection process, period. It’s a conflict of interest.
Any manufacturer making large ERP-related decisions should ask itself what can be done to eliminate as much bias as possible. Keeping everyone honest by asking the tough questions, challenging old habits, and getting an unbiased opinion from an expert is essential to a successful outcome.