Two failed ERP selection scenarios… and how to deal with them

What happens when you select the wrong ERP?

  • Your co-workers get tar and feathers and invite you to meet in the parking lot.
  • Your boss suggests you find employment elsewhere.

Seriously, though, this unfortunate event can happen with any ERP selection and one can find infamous cases with a quick Google search.  Often there are multi-million dollar lawsuits involved.  What steps might you take if you ever find yourself in this situation?

Look at objective facts

Separate the facts from opinions and accusations (those will be all too easy to collect).  In the end, this could develop into polar possibilities.  

  • Your vendor delivered a different ERP than what you agreed to purchase.  
  • Despite all the care and diligence, you simply made a bad selection.  

Vendor delivered a different ERP

ERP system vendors are unlikely to commit outright fraud.  However, they could decide to stop supporting a particular ERP.  They also could decide, as a business, to move to another marketplace.  

There was not enough money in manufacturing ERP so they chose to work with retail only.  If you now find yourself with a sub-standard ERP, you probably need to look back to where you missed many signals.  

Guide: 60-step ERP software selection checklist

Did you read the letter where they let you know they changed their business model?   Did you notice in your testing process that there was no “work in process” inventory module in your ”manufacturing” ERP? Did their Glassdoor profile reveal a negative company culture?

There is probably still time to negotiate.  Can you get a refund?  Is there a partner ERP vendor that has a manufacturing ERP that will fit your needs?  

Your business and your ERP vendor’s business do not get ahead by alienating customers and suppliers.  Work something out.

You made a bad selection

You went by the book and developed a requirements list.  You assigned a team of experts.  You had executive backing.  Still, you got unfortunate results.

You also have a business to run and you need an ERP to get where you want to go so you need to work out a plan.  Ask your ERP vendor to work with you.  They, too, want to help you succeed.  

Maybe they have a different ERP that will better fit your needs.  Your implementation could simply be poor and they can suggest changes that will bring the ERP to meet your manufacturing needs.

The worst case is to determine the ERP will never work.  Now you bite the bullet, as the pain is great.  Nevertheless, you also move forward and begin the selection process again knowing that you will learn from the experience and make a better choice next time.

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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

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Tom Miller

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