Enterprise resource planning software can be very complex to understand. Many people don't really know why it functions the way it does. That is one of main reasons it's considered such a major investment on businesses such as manufacturers. A Microsoft Dynamics implementation can help, for they are run by partners with years of experience handling different companies with unique experiences. Still, any company that is seeking a new solution to its manufacturing concerns should be able to ask questions before making the right decision.

The basics
At the same time, many vendors are very much prepared for the onslaught of questions that typically go with initial ERP inquiries. Tech blog ERP VAR suggests that instead of asking the basic questions every company posits, manufacturers should aim to make their inquiries focus around two important success factors: throughput and operating expenses. For example, when working with a cloud-based solution, instead of asking about what scalability features are there, a company should request what kinds of costs go with increasing size and bandwidth. It should also ask whether those expenditures are expected to increase anytime in the near future.

The specifics
Once the basics are cleared out of the way, companies should look at questions that are very specific to their needs. In the case of manufacturing, for example, there are often concerns that the software is not precise to their needs. With shops having different production processes and methods of operation, it's important to consider that certain ERP solutions may not fit. For example, what works for a made-to-stock metal operation that produces hundreds of orders per day may not work at all for a fabrication shop that performs highly customized items through additive processes. It would be in the company's best interest to bring shop floor employees along to meet with vendors and partners ahead of time.

The tough ones
There are also some questions that companies should ask before and during the implementation process. That way, they are on the same level as the vendor and don't get blindsided by any sudden surprises, according to Panorama Consulting. For example, during the transition, a manufacturer should ask if the staff will be fully trained on all the features and necessities that go with using the software. It will want its employees to be fully prepared when the software goes live so that any risk of operational delays are greatly mitigated. Similarly, the question of whether to delay the launch date needs to be asked if problems suddenly appear.

Learn how to define your ERP strategy by downloading the white paper entitled "ERP in Manufacturing: Defining the ERP Strategy" from the DMS website today.