04 Apr Choosing the Right CRM or ERP for a Manufacturing Business
You need a new CRM/ERP to replace your old, obsolete CRM/ERP which no longer allows your business to grow, either because you have new needs, or even because you want to link with external systems to consolidate your data.
Do you identify with this situation? You’re not alone! This is something that’s familiar to many businesses, especially those in the manufacturing industry, that want to put productivity at the core of their operations.
With the wide variety of solutions for manufacturers available, choosing one from among many is quite the challenge! Clearly, you absolutely want to avoid going with a solution that will be obsolete in a few years’ time. Let’s take a look at some options to consider, should you find yourself in this situation.
Choosing the right platform
Not only are your ERP and CRM crucial tools for your business, but the right choice will also make your business extremely competitive. Here are a few considerations:
- Strategic plan:
- What’s your business’ vision? Obviously, your chosen solution must meet currently identified needs, but equally important, also extend to the bigger picture in a few years’ time.
- For example, are you planning to expand your product offering? What will be the impact on the quote process for your salesforce? Do you foresee developing a value-added service offering to support your products? Do you foresee taking on new international markets?
- Take the time to define your current and future needs. Weigh each one according to its importance. This requirement grid will allow you to choose the best solution later on.
- Starting with marketing, evaluate each area of your business, including sales, purchase management, production management, inventory management, accounting and Field Service (management of on-site technicians).
- Always put your client at the centre of your needs
- Where does the data come from to populate the ERP or CRM?
Some would say that ideally, the goal is to have a single enterprise system, which includes Marketing, CRM (Client Relationship Management), Accounting, SCM (Supply Chain Management), HCM (Human Capital Management) and even Service. A good exercise, however, is to prepare a list of internal systems and evaluate what interfaces will be necessary. Make sure to choose a system that supports it all.
- Different models of systems are available. These days, the most popular are essentially “cloud” systems. Most businesses see them as providing easy maintenance and smooth updates. Do you agree?
- First, evaluate current costs, making sure to include licensing, maintenance as well as operational costs. Be sure not to forget lost opportunity costs, which are those that your system is unable to respond to.
- Next, define a budget, making sure to include costs for installation, training, change management, as well as estimated recurring license fees. Use these data to define a business case.
- Do your homework; compare existing platforms. And make sure that providers also submit bids for implementing these new systems. Then, compare the different solutions. And don’t compare them solely based on cost; the relationship of trust you can have with your chosen partner is likely to be the most important thing.
- Get your teams involved in the selection of the platform. This is the first step in managing change…and probably the most important! Make sure you’ve got your sales, service, accounting, and manufacturing management teams right at the heart of the project. And not just the managers!
Choosing the right platform requires a rigorous process. Not only must you know where things stand right now, but also where you want to end up. An ERP, CRM or any other software system, really is the core of your business.
This is only the start of the adventure! And if you’ve done your homework properly, it’s going to be a great one!
Watch this manufacturer ERP / CRM success story!
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By Alexandre Boyer – VP of Operations