Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is designed to integrate an organisation’s operations to such an extent that every business department runs effectively, efficiently and profitably. The overarching goal is to streamline the business to the point where resources are tracked, commitments are met, and decisions are made based on the total organisational picture.

While this investment can deliver considerable returns, choosing the wrong software will lead to more frustration and less cohesion. In the equipment industry, the distribution industry and the public sector in particular, the right ERP system has the potential to bring various organisational systems together. For success in the equipment sector, continuous control and visibility is required over every piece of equipment in use, and on standby. In distribution, rapid market changes require rapid responses. Public sector requirements differ wholly from those of the private sector, and unique solutions are required to address the sector’s distinctive challenges.

So, how should one go about selecting which ERP software to implement? According to Thabiso Hlatshwayo, ERP Subject Matter Expert at EOH Infor Services, an Info partner, there are five key components to consider.

To achieve a comprehensive view of all business processes, ERP software must be innovative. “In a digital age, the right ERP solution must offer cloud, on-premise and hybrid implementation options, depending on the customer’s unique requirements,” states Hlatshwayo.

ERP solutions that are truly intuitive offer a better user experience, which in turn ensures that the system is used to its full potential. “When considering the software available, request a demo of the visual analytics offered, how information is presented, and whether dashboards and homepages can be personalised according to specific preferences.”

How long will the solution take to implement? “Often solutions are chosen to meet a pressing need, but once the paperwork has been completed and the purchase has been made, it takes months (and possibly even years) to implement. This extended implementation period compounds the operational problems that necessitated the purchase in the first place,” adds Hlatshwayo. “Timelines should be discussed and agreed to prior to purchasing.”

Specific industry knowledge should be displayed before a decision is made to implement the ERP software. Hlatshwayo believes that pre-packaged industry analytics show an expertise in the relevant sector. “Without this specialist approach, the software will likely be too broad, missing the intricacies unique to specific industries and resulting in operational failures.”

In Africa in particular, the micro- and macro-environments are constantly shifting, and industry trends can change in an instant. “For this reason, flexibility is an essential requirement for any ERP software to be effective,” concludes Hlatshwayo. “The solution must be configurable to unique business processes, adapting as the market changes and as the business grows.”

The right ERP solution allows for efficiency and effectiveness, ultimately driving the business to achieve its goals. To learn more about effective ERP systems, CLICK HERE.