Quick Tip: Questions to Ask Your ERP Vendors
We understand that deciding on ERP software can be difficult, especially when you have multiple options on the table. Here are some questions that you can ask your ERP vendors that should help you find the best ERP software solution for you and your team!
- What makes them different than other ERP vendors?
- How long have they been in business compared to other ERP vendors?
- How have customers used their system to be successful?
- For which industries does the ERP system work best?
- How long does the ERP implementation take?
- Do they offer on-site, vendor-based, and/or online training?
- Are they a license-based ERP vendor or subscription-based ERP vendor?
- How often are updates made to the ERP software and how much do they cost?
- Does their ERP software integrate with your current accounting, HR, or CAD/CAM software?
- Do they offer the modules that your company needs?
- Are they cloud- or facility-based?
- Is there a limit to how many customers, products, or part numbers you can have in the system?
- What is offered in the original purchase and what are the additional add-on modules that you will have to purchase separately?
- For which industry (or industries) does their system work best?
- References – Are the ERP vendors willing to provide you with references? Also, the vendor will have a better idea of what companies to refer you to if they know your typical processes.
- Ask the ERP vendors for a newer customer and a customer that has been with them for a good amount of time; the newer customer will have recent experience with ERP implementation and the older customer will have recent experience with support and updates.
- Have there been any failed ERP implementations recently? If so, why did it fail? When did it fail? And what happened after it failed?
- What is their greatest weakness as an ERP vendor? What is their ERP software’s greatest weakness? (reviews will also be an indicator of this…)
- What is one thing their customers say they do better than other companies?
Not every question in this list should be asked in the initial phone call. The ERP vendors need to know a bit of information about you to answer certain questions effectively and efficiently.
What to tell ERP vendors when you are looking for ERP software:
- Features – Make sure they offer what you need by determining your priorities.
- Industry – Is your company in manufacturing, fabricating, or assembly? Are you a job shop? Do you produce custom, made-to-order products? Do you do a lot of repetitive orders? What materials do you work with?
- Processes – It may be best to walk the ERP vendors through an average work day in the shop from start to finish; this allows them to gauge how (or if) their system can help.
- Budget – If you are confident in your budget, feel free to share it with them. This prevents wasting time going over details if their cost is outside of your budget. On the other hand, if your budget is unclear, let the ERP vendors know so they can give you an idea of pricing to take back to your team.
- Timeline – Let them know when you will be making a decision and when you would like to implement the software. They should be able to give you an idea of whether the timeline is realistic.
- Decision-maker – Know who is involved in making the final decision for your company and let the ERP vendors know if others will be involved.
- Best time to reach you – It is a good idea to give the ERP vendors specific dates and times that they should reach out to you. Nobody wants an influx of voicemails and emails when they are busy handling other issues or tasks. Let them work with your schedule and aim to set appointment times with the vendors to keep the project on track.
We understand why talking to ERP vendors about your budget and current system issues may make you feel uncomfortable. That is why it is up to the vendor to be a trustworthy partner in your decision to purchase their software. Use your best judgment, as well as the questions above, to find the system that works best for you!