Building a Process Manufacturing ERP Shortlist

We have talked about why we want the process manufacturing ERP upgrade and we understand pretty well where we are within the industry. So what’s next?

Now I suggest conversations over some time with other process manufacturing businesses. Start with your local industry group. Expand the conversations to people you knew at previous employers whether in the same industry or not. Look on LinkedIn and other social media for groups where people might have been through similar ERP implementations. This step is important; spend the time it takes to get it right.

Keep Digging

You want to learn what systems they looked at and which one they chose, so you can begin to build a process manufacturing ERP shortlist. Why did they choose the winner and why did they reject the other candidates? What other systems did they consider? Which ones seriously and which ones only briefly? How closely does their business match yours? You would like to learn how the implementation went for them. Did the vendor help enough? Were they properly prepared for the implementation? Were they satisfied with the result? What do they wish they had done better?

Keep digging. Get the whole team involved. The questions from your accountant might not address the concerns your purchasing manager might have. How will process manufacturing ERP handle ATP? Will it allow us utilize business data in the decision making process? Go world wide in your search. The world is small today. A business in some third-world country might have the exact solution you need, so avoid assumptions. It is truly amazing how much you can learn and where the knowledge might come from. People everywhere are happy to help and willing to spend time helping you.

Likely you will get the conversations you need over the phone and using internet demonstrations. You might decide some travel will pay off. Your goal here is to gather somewhat unbiased suggestions and select a small number of ERP systems that seem likely to work for you.

There will be some ERP vendors that will learn of your search. You can be sure they will contact you to say that their system will provide the absolute best solution for your business and that they will provide unlimited help to ensure your complete satisfaction. Let them send literature and references. You know the literature will back up the claim of the perfect system for you. But this is not the time for potential vendor involvement. The selection is yours. The people responsible for the implementation are yours. The money needed is yours. Vendors might help, but the decision is yours too.

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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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