Standardization Isn’t a Bad Thing
Many manufacturing and distribution businesses turn to enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to standardize their processes, while others avoid ERP software for that reason. Every business is so unique, so the idea of molding operations to comply with a new software system isn’t all that appealing. Organizations who dismiss ERP standardization will often go without the software altogether or fully customize their solution to align with their current practices.
However, standardization is not always a bad thing. The point of ERP standardization is to implement best practices, consistency, and business process automation, not to force companies into adopting unfamiliar procedures. Further, ERP standardization can be achieved on a tailored solution that provides flexibility. To give you a more accurate picture of ERP standardization we’re correcting some common misconceptions.
Businesses often view ERP as a cookie-cutter solution that forces businesses to modify their processes to fit their software. For many companies, this doesn't sound good; they want to improve operations, not completely uproot them to align with their ERP. Plus, standardization is viewed as adding rigidity to manufacturing and distribution processes. Therefore, when businesses grow and demands change, their ERP won’t give them the flexibility to modify activities and meet customer needs.
On the other hand, to counter perceived problems of standardization, businesses often undergo extensive customizations. Software customization can help them fully tailor their solution to their specifications, so they can continue running operations as usual. As the business expands, we recommend customizing features to accommodate your business’s new requirements. Many organizations view this method as the most effective strategy for gaining the benefits of automation and visibility from their ERP system without changing their workflows.
ERP standardization can be your most trusted ally in boosting your business performance. Standardized software can help businesses follow best practices and streamline operations. Standardized workflows enable automation, so you can reduce manual labor and reduce human errors. They also simplify processes, making your activities more consistent to increase efficiency, lower costs, and limit unnecessary variability.
That being said, we recommend implementing software with the flexibility to accommodate customer demands and expansion. Customization might be necessary to modify reports or databases. But some software vendors include features to make it easier to align your software with your business. Platforms that facilitate configurations enable you to make system changes with clicks rather than code, so you can modify your settings without risk or hassle.
Relying on standardization and configuration over customization can dramatically reduce ERP project costs and labor while improving business processes. Custom software solutions require constant upkeep as well as complex and expensive coding. IT teams often lack the manpower or ERP expertise to pull off this much work.
Finding a Middle Ground
Every business is different, but that doesn’t make ERP standardization an obstacle to achieving your unique goals. However, it does mean that every business will have a different approach to ERP standardization and customization. Determining how to implement your software in line with your company’s needs will require a thorough analysis of business processes.
One way to evaluate your business’s needs is through business process modeling, which will help your business investigate issues and determine how to optimize workflows to align with your new software, reduce inefficiencies, and instill best practices.
For most businesses, extensive ERP customization is too taxing and expensive. On the other hand, an out-of-the-box system might not fully support your critical requirements. The key is to find some sort of middle ground, standardizing repetitive processes, configuring features to satisfy specific demands, and undergoing customizations only when absolutely necessary. If every step of your implementation is grounded in your organization’s needs and pursuit of continuous improvement, you’re on your way to finding the perfect balance!
While finding that middle ground between standardization and customization can be difficult, Datix can help! We are an Infor partner and we have helped hundreds of businesses implement ERP over the past 20 years. And we are there for you from start to finish in your implementation project.
To learn more about ERP software or Datix’s other exciting software solutions, contact us today!