How to Get the Most out of Your Manufacturing ERP Demo

It is now time to get demonstrations of prospective manufacturing ERP systems and, you hope, one of these will meet your needs for decades to come. To ensure you can identify this system, it is crucial you get the most out of any manufacturing ERP demos which you request.

Establish and Document Your ERP Requirements

You have already talked among your team about your requirements. As manufacturers, you have probably looked at your routings, bills of material and quality systems. Ensure that these ERP requirements are well documented before you begin to schedule demonstrations. Make sure your entire team has reached a consensus on these requirements and the priority assigned to each one. You can then begin to disseminate this consensus around your enterprise. Without a thorough requirements gathering phase, your manufacturing ERP demo have little direction leading to difficulties down the line.

Include a Diverse Team in the Demo

Schedule your manufacturing ERP demo so as many representatives as possible from each internal function in your business can attend. This will give them all an opportunity to understand how the new system will help their department and will give you the breadth of opinions you need to select the right ERP solution. Let the industrial engineer discuss the demo with the accountant. Your purchasing person can discuss the demo with the production scheduler. Your new ERP implementation is more than an IT exercise and it is a lot more than an improvement to your accounting systems. Have the entire group prepared with the needs of other manufacturing functions as well as their own.

Provide a Demo Structure to Vendors Based on Your Requirements

Whether you are looking for faster throughput or reduced inventory, it is important to provide each vendor with a clear structure for their manufacturing ERP demos. This will allow you to maintain control of the demo and deter vendors from focussing on how they think their system should be used.

Don't Limit Yourself to Traditional ERP Demos

Many manufacturing ERP vendors now provide online demonstrations. Take advantage of these, using them as another way to filter products before the final ERP shortlist. You might not get to assess everything you would like in these online manufacturing ERP demos, but you will be able to rule out a few systems based on factors such as UI and core functionality.

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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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