The ERP Bad Guys: The “Independent” ERP Consultant

How many ERP consultants does it take to screw in a light bulb?

That depends…How large is your budget?

Independence in your ERP consultant is a double-edged sword. You want them to think of your business and what is best for you. But first, they are in business themselves to make a buck, just like you are. It is not a bad thing either; if they are not profitable, they won’t last helping you out.

You hired them for their expertise. They have helped with a lot of other businesses and have experience you will never have. Listen to them and pay attention. You might have to ask the same question several times in different ways, but keep at it. Don’t forget there are two golden rules in consulting:

1. Never tell anyone all you know.

2. (Pause) that’s it.

So, do not ask them everything. Make a list of specific requirements relating to your ERP system which you want to learn and stick to that list. Add to the list from time to time but stay to the point and your ERP consultant will help you out as much as necessary to get your project completed. That is why you hired them and that is what keeps them in business. You could also get someone else to ask other questions away from you. They might not know that you two talked later in the day.

Get What You Paid For

While the ERP consultants are at your site, use them 100%. That might seem obvious but there are many times when a team needs a break and no one is left to learn from the consultants. They will charge for eight hours whether you were at lunch or not. If they get hungry, bring them a sandwich and keep someone present asking questions the whole day long. You paid for them, get your money’s worth. If your accountants run out of questions, be sure your purchasing people are ready to ask their questions.

I saw a consultant haiku once.

My client calls me.
Six figures if you come now.
My alarm clock rings.

Money isn’t really their only motivator. They really will have satisfaction if your project is successful. Make them happy campers. You will be happy 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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