What happens when you select a bad distribution ERP

Maybe I should amend the title. There really are few distribution ERP systems that are bad.  Much of the time the real problem is instead a bad implementation or a bad fit between the ERP and the way a company does business. Let’s see what you can do to avoid a bad selection process or the results of a hasty decision.

1. Your workforce doesn’t engage with it

Your new distribution ERP is implemented and you look around and see the same spreadsheets in use.  Your new ERP has the capability to slot merchandise for optimal picking of future orders. You expected to see the last order missed because the last of some item was sold to two different customers. Why did it happen again?  A sales representative knew there was one left and took a phone order. ERP would have shown it already allocated if that rep had checked.

Select the right software for your company with our step-by-step guide to selecting distribution ERP

2. It is hard to integrate with other software

You chose this distribution ERP to better track and control inventory and to make orders faster to place and then to pick and ship. It has cross docking capability that looked like it would support your transportation management system. You thought that inventory ideally stocked right near the dock would flow directly onto your truck for shipment and delivery. What you now found out is that the SaaS cloud version of your distribution ERP has controls to protect cloud data that need additional software and a lot of effort to link to your TMS.

3. You only implement it partially

After months of work, the financial parts of the ERP are working pretty well.  But you aren’t certain of your inventory levels as cycle counting has not yet begun. Looking back, you see that the effort was underestimated and the part-time support from many users was inadequate. Those users worked on their familiar day jobs and only then devoted time to implementation tasks just before going home. Your project manager warned you that the work would take longer but your management thought it would just happen.

4. Your distribution ERP doesn’t fit your business

The distribution ERP you chose was advertised as the number one selling distribution ERP in the world,  and it does sell more than any other.  But distribution is a business with many facets and this one just isn’t working for your business.  You stock auto stereo systems and much of your sales are to mechanics.  The system works well for these sales.  But you also sell to consumers through Amazon and entering those Amazon orders is not as easy as you want it to be.  One of the growing parts of your business is direct sales to consumers through your website. The web store that came as part of the ERP is weak and now you see you will need to replace it with a third-party storefront and that must be integrated into your order entry system.

Selecting a distribution ERP is important to your business today and will be for many years.  Do your best to choose one that works for your particular business.

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Tom Miller

About the author…

Tom completed implementations of Epicor, SAP, QAD, and Micro MRP. He works as a logistics and supply chain manager and he always looks for processes to improve. He lives near San Francisco Bay in California and can be found on the water in his kayak or on the road riding his motorcycle. Contact Tom at customerteam@erpfocus.com.

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Tom Miller

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