5 ERP Consultant Selection Tips
No manufacturing or distribution business should take on an ERP project alone. Maximizing the value of your software and aligning ERP functions with business goals require an expert’s touch. That’s where an ERP consultant comes in. The right consulting firm can take control of your ERP implementation, adhering to software best practices and preventing the project from veering off track. But how exactly do you choose the right consultant? Follow our five selection tips to find your ideal ERP consulting partner.
1. Proven Methodology
It’s no secret that ERP implementations are susceptible to failure. A proven methodology is often the ingredient missing from botched ERP projects. Even if a consulting firm has experience, it might approach projects haphazardly, making spur-of-the-moment decisions and reacting to hiccups. Instead, a strategy should be proactive, with each stage of the implementation mapped out to mitigate risk and ensure the system aligns with business processes.
To keep the project running smoothly, the firm’s methodology should be both realistic and flexible. The size, industry and unique processes of each client determine the complexity, timeline and budget of ERP implementations. Consultants should work towards achieving specific, reasonable goals rather than vague ambitions. But a consultant can’t plan for absolutely everything. That’s why some flexibility should be built into the process to account for any additional requirements or possible delays.
2. Custom Solutions
Although there are many comprehensive, out-of-the-box ERP solutions on the market, such as Epicor, about 70 percent of businesses still customize their software. That’s because every business is different, and it’s rare for a company to find a solution that instantly aligns with the intricacies of their processes. A software’s built-in procedures likely cover many of the most common business practices, but it’s unlikely to include some of the more specific functions a company requires.
However, as we’ve explained in previous posts, customizations can seriously delay ERP projects and rack up costs. To make your ERP instance fit with your specific needs without putting your project at risk, find a consultant with ample experience in providing an array of custom software solutions. Maybe your reports require modification. Maybe you want additional modules to provide more insight. Or perhaps some fields need to be added or changed in the software's code to automate processes. A premier consultant should be able to determine which customizations are necessary and execute them without slowing down your implementation.
Don’t be afraid to ask a potential consulting firm what companies they have worked with. When embarking on a project as monumental as an ERP implementation or even a system upgrade, you must confirm that the consultants deliver results. Ask for references for their last few projects, and reach out to those clients to ask about their experiences. Were they happy in the end? How did the software improve their overall operations? Did projects fall in line with their expectations and business goals? And would they recommend that firm? Pay particular attention to clients who were in the same industry or underwent similar projects.
4. Industry Knowledge
Premier consultants aren’t just experts in software—they should know your industry inside and out. Clients have different requirements depending on their industries. A manufacturer specializing in aerospace and defense or medical devices, for example, has more stringent compliance demands than most businesses. Ask questions that will help you evaluate the firm’s experience in your industry. Make sure they know how to leverage ERP solutions to meet the customer requirements, quality mandates, workforce challenges and other needs of your industry.
5. More than a Consultant
A consultant shouldn’t just be concerned with implementing your system and moving on to the next client. Consultants are your partners in enterprise innovation and expansion. Every interaction with your consultants should center on your company goals and operations as you work together to optimize your processes. They should do whatever it takes to arrive on-site when they’re needed for testing, pilots, training and more. Once the ERP system goes live, they won’t abandon you—they maintain your instance, provide upgrades and make efforts to continuously improve your software throughout its lifetime. The best consultants make your business performance their number one priority.
Software consultants take on a variety of roles: industry experts, technology gurus, business advisers, investment and project protectors, etc. Selecting a firm committed to your business’ success should be one of the first steps in your ERP project.
Datix is a software firm that checks all the boxes. In the past 20 years, we’ve executed an array of enterprise software projects for manufacturers and distributors. Our ERP expertise has earned us the status of Epicor Gold Partner, but we go above and beyond ERP to provide CRM, eCommerce, BI and more premier solutions. Unity, our integration application, is a pre-built solution designed to connect Epicor with your choice of software to create one system to manage your entire enterprise. Datix serves as a one-stop shop for enterprise software solutions and services, empowering businesses to transform their operations without fear of losing out on their investment.
Get in touch with Datix today to learn why teaming up with our consultants will set you on the right path to business success!