Looking for a new manufacturing ERP vendor? Here's why company culture matters

We all like to do business with people we know and trust. That is true for us as individuals and as much so for us as representatives of the manufacturing businesses we work for. Does that mean small manufacturing start-ups should only look at specialist start-up manufacturing ERP vendors? Well that could be a start…

Can your ERP cope with expansion?

If your business is expanding, it is worth considering a manufacturing ERP vendor that caters to growing companies If you expect to be manufacturing significantly more product over the next few years, getting stuck with an ERP provider that only caters to small manufacturers will certainly limit your options.

Recommended reading: make sure you select the right manufacturing ERP for your company with our free manufacturing ERP requirements template.

Don’t give tech-savvy people clunky, outdated software

Look at the people in your business who will use your new ERP. Are they tech-savvy, with a preference for cutting edge modern software solutions? Look at the products you manufacture. Are they something never made before and sold to users who want to experience the future today? If those are descriptions of your business and culture you should look for a manufacturing ERP vendor to match. You probably will not be comfortable with software written fifteen years ago no matter how well-regarded and stable their ERP has proven to be over the years.

On the other hand, if your manufacturing business is finance-driven and your business plan is to reach a level of manufacturing and sales success and then be purchased by a larger company, your ERP vendor search might take you toward a system where accounting is at the core. Manufacturing and engineering have to work but maybe something less than world class is good enough. These can still be very good ERP systems for manufacturers – they just fit a different culture.

Theory X vs Theory Y

Your culture might be one of command and control - a totally Theory X kind of manufacturer. Look for a vendor who can give you step-by-step guidance that matches your culture. Your ERP system can be set up in the configuration controls to match your way of doing business. Workflows can be guided toward the decision management would make and all transactions can be approved by a supervisor prior to posting.

Culture comes from the Latin word ‘colere’, to grow and nurture. Shared culture evolves from shared values and patterns of behavior that are learned from socialization. We choose to do business with those who share our values because we understand them. Look for those characterizations in your choice of ERP vendors and in the manufacturing ERP system itself. That ERP was designed and developed by people who hopefully share much of your culture.

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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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