During my 20 years with IFS, I have spent a lot of time trying to convince companies – predominantly in the process manufacturing sector with companies in food and beverage, pharmaceuticals or chemicals – that IFS Applications is the best ERP solution available on the market.
Being part of these selection processes makes you start to think about what really matters when it comes to selecting the best ERP for process manufacturing.
Rather than looking at detailed requirements compiled from different departmental views on which business support that is required, I think it is very important to have a bit more of a holistic, overarching approach.
There are perspectives to this that really matter:
- Innovation – technologies and user interfaces are constantly changing. ERP vendors to consider need a track record of embracing new technology and making it available in their products with a reasonable time to market. This matters not so much for the technology itself, but more to the agility of your business and ability to deploy new concepts around areas such as integration, mobility and collaboration.
- Industry specifics – not every company is the same; in fact, they are all different. That said, there is a set of quite specific functionality that really matters to all process manufacturers. You need to carefully evaluate the potential ERP vendors’ capability and ability to understand these industry-specific challenges. Some examples of what really matters to process manufacturers are traceability, quality management, recipes and formulations, sequenced production and shelf life management (to mention a few). Other functional requirements are driven not so much from your industry but who your customer is and which channels the products are sold through. A food and beverage company might have quite different requirements around pricing and promotions depending on if they sell to an industrial market, or primarily to retailers.
- The potential vendor’s ability to execute. My point is that a solid, broad ERP solution designed with your industry in mind isn’t enough. It needs to be implemented across the business in a controlled manner and with support from people who knows your industry and your business.
Not only will it give you more details on the topics above, but it also includes many more criteria to look for, as well as more general topics that will help you select the best possible ERP solution for your business.
Get “Software Selection for Process Manufacturing.” Free download. If you have questions after reading it, I’ll be more than happy to answer them here in the comments.