7 Questions to Ask Your Process Manufacturing ERP Vendor

Today is a new day and you will start your journey toward a new process manufacturing ERP system to help manage your business. You are in the process business and you want a list of questions to help narrow down your selection of the many vendors you must choose from.

Do they understand process manufacturing? You know this means you make product in weight, length, volume, etc. and not in piece units. You know this means the materials you introduce into your process can never be returned to inventory as they change by mixing to catalyzing or something else. If a prospective ERP vendor cannot define process manufacturing so you know their words are no more than a sales pitch, find another vendor.

What is their experience? Have they actually worked with other process manufacturing companies? Or have they developed niche process manufacturing ERP systems? Or do they just sell systems the boss and their training manual told them will work for your industry? You would like someone who understands your process manufacturing ERP needs at an internal level.

What is the core of their system? Many ERP systems are based on accounting. They added an ERP inventory module and then a work in process module that might be process-based. You probably would prefer something that has powerful manufacturing capabilities at its core.

How does it handle variability? You can add a little of this to a recipe and remove a little of that. You can cook it a little longer or run the pump a little slower. Often these variations are necessary because of environmental factors such as today’s relative humidity. Sometimes they are needed to balance the purity of the ingredients you have today.

How does the ERP track batches and grades and other factors? You need to track the end batch as well as batches of ingredients used in that end batch. Their might be different grades of product at the end to be identified and tracked. The shelf life of today’s production might be different and your customer will need to know.

Can the ERP manage by-products and co-products? Any system will allow the combination of ingredients into a specific end product. Many processes will yield other products that need to be inventoried and tracked along with the specified end product.

Will the vendor teach me to manage my ERP? There are ERP vendors whose main objective is to capture you as a consulting customer. That is not wrong. But, if your preference is to manage your own business, you will need to be adept at managing your process m,anufacturing ERP too.

These are only a few key questions. Certainly there are others you should ask too. Good luck in your purchase.

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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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