As a veteran in the ERP solution business for Process Manufacturers, I enjoy annual reviews and surveys of our customers and process manufacturers, as a whole. This year, Software Advice, a company that helps buyers decide on the best ERP software for their manufacturing businesses recently published their Enterprise Resource Planning Software BuyerView | 2015. After reading their key findings based on interactions with their readers, I had some additional questions for Forrest Burnson, who as market researcher for Software Advice, compiled the article. During the next several blogs, I’m going to address our additional questions along with Forrest’s response and offer how BatchMaster is the right solution for your business. Thanks for listening.
BatchMaster: What have you found to be the top 5 criteria of process manufacturers when shopping for an ERP solution for their business?
Burnson: What I have found and in no particular order are that decision makers are asking themselves the following questions:
- Will the platform accommodate the customizations needed for my industry?
- What is the outlook for the ERP provider – will they be around in five or 10 years?
- How long will it take to see a positive ROI from implementing a new system?
- How will implementing a new platform make employees more productive & efficient?
- Does the platform have the flexibility to change and adapt with the company?
My commentary and further comments:
- Process manufacturing companies have the luxury of investing in an ERP solution today that does not need customizations to meet the unique requirements of their industry. BatchMaster, right off-the-shelf, is designed to match industry requisites. Minimizing customizations should be a high priority and when a company focuses on solutions for process manufacturers they will be way ahead of the game. They will save both time and money, and reduce risk.
- I couldn’t agree more with comment about longevity and stability in the industry. I recommend looking at ERP providers, like BatchMaster that have a deep and rich history with the process industry. It is not wise to contract with an independent developer to write a solution specifically for your company. We have many new customers coming off those solutions because they can no longer get product support.
- ROI can be measured in many ways such as reduced staffing, time savings per function (a system generated lot traceability report vs. the creation and merger of multiple spreadsheets needed for a product recall), speed to produce reports, ability to generate KPIs, collaboration between departments, etc. Because it will be unique for each company, you will want to set some benchmarks for different activities and then measure these once implementation is completed.
- An ERP solution, suited for your industry, can make employees more productive and efficient in many ways. You will want to look at each major function within the solution to understand what should be expected. For example, the Laboratory function of BatchMaster allows your product developers to create formulas based on ingredient specifications, potencies, costs, allergen information and much more. When reviewing your potential ERP solution, each function within the solution will have many time saving components. Review each time-saving factor separately.
- The best way to address whether your ERP vendor will be able to adapt to your industry is to learn how dedicated they are to your industry. Yes, it is important to be able to make small changes within the framework of the product, but it is equally important to find out if the company will continue to adapt the core product to meet new industry and regulation requirements. Examples include newest GHS format for Safety Data Sheets and the proposed update to the Nutritional Fact Panel. It’s important to ask this question in your company’s selection process.
Please check in for the next installment of the ERP Software BuyerView Q&A. Get more information on BatchMaster for your organization at www.batchmaster.com
Christy Hudson is a Sr. Marketing Manager at BatchMaster Software. She is approaching the 30-year mark working with and for organizations providing ERP solutions to the for process manufacturing industry. Christy has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and a Teaching Credential from Cal State Long Beach. She has also completed numerous courses in Marketing and Accounting.
Forrest Burnson is a market research associate at Software Advice where he covers the inventory management and supply chain markets. He graduated from the University of the South with degrees in political science and French studies. In 2013, he earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas. Prior to joining Software Advice, he was a writer and researcher for Global Water Intelligence and he was published in a number of other outlets, including the Texas Tribune, the Austin Business Journal, Market News International and the Austin American-Statesman.