Top Five Signs Your Manufacturing Company Needs to Replace that Aging ERP System
Posted on: February 11, 2014 | By: Jim Bertler | Microsoft Dynamics Manufacturing
As a Microsoft Dynamics Manufacturing Partner we meet with clients and prospects across the manufacturing industry and find companies still have a wide variety of ERP systems in use today. We find mainstream solutions like we support, industry specific solutions, small scale solutions like QuickBooks and Peachtree and even still many manual based systems at manufacturers. Recently, however, we have found many companies that still use an old, outdated ERP system. These systems are often industry-specific solutions or solutions that were once more mainstream or the software provider was purchased by another company. As companies deal with an ever changing environment and have the need for more information than ever an outdated ERP system can cause real issues. However, implementing a new system can seem like a daunting task so how do you know when it is time to make the move? Well, here are the “Top five signs it is time to replace that aging ERP system”.
When ERP systems were first being introduced to the manufacturing industry many years ago the focus was on entering data. Certainly today data still needs to be entered into systems, but many systems can fit that basic requirement. The difference between many systems is the ability to serve up information to the users. As systems have improved over the years the reporting capabilities have been enhanced dramatically. We have found that many aging systems have clunky or in some cases non-existent reporting. We have also found older systems still require the use of IT resources to produce reports and users are not able to make changes on their own. So if your older ERP system is not providing you with key information, it may be time to start thinking about a new solution.
I know many of us remember the days when we would call a company and they would tell you “I can’t help you right now, my system is down. Even the early days of the internet and self-service on web sites had issues. Today, however, all of us enjoy near constant uptime on all of the systems and devices we use. In fact, we are often annoyed and amazed when a system doesn’t work properly! Unfortunately, we have seen with older systems that the days of old have returned. Transactions are sometimes lost, systems go down far too often or the speed of the system is just not workable. When you encounter these issues your team is losing productivity which is not something most companies can afford today.
Today the systems we support provide complete 24 X 7 support from trained professionals. If your company is having an issue or wants to understand a particular feature of the system they have a myriad of options to choose from. There are consulting partners like us, Logan Consulting, user groups and communities online and the software vendor themselves provide support. When you have an older system many of these options are not available to you or if you do contact support it can take days to get a response. Again, the drain on productivity this causes cannot be underestimated. Users have to stop and start processes and tasks and make time for calls from support personnel. Users also become frustrated with the system and begin to doubt its ability to be useful. So if you can’t get the support you need or can’t find a vibrant online community for your software solution it may make sense to start the search for a new system.
Every major ERP system has regular updates to the system. Updates range from quarterly to annually, but certainly new features are released each year. The new features can range from simple fixes to major new module releases. New reporting or better integration to other systems are all improvements expected in a system. These new features improve productivity, provide better information to users and more tightly integrate systems used by companies. If you aging system doesn’t provide these regular updates it should concern you. Any system that is standing still is by definition falling behind. The worst part is that catching up can be more costly and complex the longer you wait. So if the system you are using has not been updated recently it may be wise to begin the process of finding a new system.
New Processes – Old System
Most people would agree that technology moves more quickly today than ever and that customers and vendors alike require companies to change processes more often. The ERP system you are using today, must be adaptable. You can’t be using a system that feels like electronic concrete. In fact, every manufacturer has made updates to their manufacturing process to meet customer demands. But if you haven't made changes to your ERP system this may mean the difference between good service and great service, the difference between a customer and evangelist for your product or service. Your ERP system must be agile, just like your manufacturing process, and must allow you to make changes to address changes in the business process. Often times we have found that older system either can’t be easily changed or simply don’t have the functionality needed to address the change.
Hopefully, you are not experiencing any of these issues, but if you find your old, outdated system needs to be replaced feel free to contact Logan Consulting. We would be happy to discuss your needs and see if we can help.
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