How to compare ERP support services for your manufacturing business

All of us, whether we rely on that soft, warm blanket of teamwork or are rugged individualists, rely on some support for our manufacturing ERP systems. Let’s look at some kinds of ERP support services on offer and consider the pros and cons of different systems:


Many of today’s manufacturing ERP systems are available as SaaS, or ‘software as a service’. This kind of support means a manufacturer can sign on and begin using ERP within weeks. No upfront investment is required. No in-house servers are required. Your data is safe from threats and is backed up regularly and all you need to do is pay the monthly bill.

Recommended reading: find ERP software with the type of support your company needs with our completely up-to-date Manufacturing ERP Vendor Guide.

When a problem arises, put in a trouble ticket and it will be resolved. On the other hand, your ERP provider might not see your problem with the same priority as you do. You don’t have an in-house IT manager who will drop everything to fix the problem is asked. When you want to integrate your manufacturing ERP with another system, you will probably be limited to ERP support services from your provider.

Peer support

When searching for support, it is good to find a manufacturer that has a business similar to yours. Some ERP systems are quite flexible and designed for a wide variety of businesses. The ERP providers can tell how they intend the system to work but when their generic solution doesn’t fit into your process flows, support from a peer might be your best bet.

Call up the colleague you met at the trade show last year. They are in a similar business and could have the best support suggestion you could hope for. Look at how many other companies use the manufacturing ERP you are considering. A larger number allows for a greater level of peer support. If some are right in your neighborhood, so much the better.

Don’t get too carried away though. Bear in mind that if the less popular software fits your business perfectly it could still be a better choice. Peer-to-peer ERP support services aren’t the only method of support out there.


Manufacturers will usually have many software and hardware systems which will add functionality when linked to their ERP product. However, maybe you already have a product data management system that works well for you so you choose not to use the PDM included with your ERP provider’s system. Compare ERP systems to see if they use modern links such as web services allowing relatively easy integration. Most will, but there are some manufacturing ERP systems that use unique databases and architecture that might not integrate so easily. The choice is yours.

Keep in mind that the manufacturing ERP you select will be yours for years to come. Be sure you understand today’s needs and think about the future. Compare the support available for each of your potential ERP systems and select the one that fits your company best.

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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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