Most objections to an ERP upgrade are short-term concerns that unduly distract from the year-on-year payback that can be achieved.

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An ERP upgrade might be just what your business needs right now – a way to transform performance, get more information out of your systems and make the whole organisation more agile. If you suggest this at a board meeting, however, you’re likely to hear plenty of objections. These are some of the most common objections – with responses you can use to keep the discussion on track.

1. We’re too small for ERP.

Many companies with fewer than 50 employees use ERP software. It doesn’t have to be big and costly. It can be tightly focused on your needs and will grow with you. Research shows that SME ERP can cut operational costs by 22% and admin costs by 20%.

2. It will cost too much.

How do you know? If an ERP upgrade can save money in the medium to long term, if not sooner, shouldn’t you look at that? A manufacturing business needs the right tools at its disposal, and ERP software is among the most important.

Consider if you are already spending extra on ‘ERP substitutes’ to fix problems by:

  • Adding more employees.
  • Adding more resources (e.g. equipment, stock, plant).
  • Adding more processes (e.g. extra software or paperwork ‘bolt-ons’ for individual tasks).

…before you’ve found out how changing your processes would make more efficient use of what you already have.

3. An ERP upgrade will take too long and distract us from core tasks.

With the right help, an ERP upgrade to a new system could be achieved quickly and seamlessly – and those core tasks will then become a whole lot easier. By making the organisation more lean and efficient, you’ll be better placed to meet customer needs. And isn’t that arguably the real core task?

4. We’re fine as we are. An ERP upgrade isn’t needed.

To thrive or survive, your business has evolved in the last three to five years. Are you sure the software you sourced in the past is still the best option now? Be frank if your legacy systems are putting a handbrake on how you are trying to work now – and want to work in the future.

Modern ERP software can open up your organisation’s information and capabilities.This makes the whole business more agile.

You also need to consider where you want to be in the next three to five years – will your existing system cope? An ERP upgrade now will prepare you for that future.

5. ERP is too hard to implement.

No improvement comes without change and effort. The effort in ERP is identifying the weaknesses and opportunities that exist within your processes. When you start working on this with an ERP software partner, there are ways to make an ERP upgrade painless and seamless. In a nutshell:

  • Don’t rush your ERP upgrade.
  • Choose the right vendor.
  • Communicate effectively.
  • Test with real users under real conditions.
  • Pay for the right expertise (note that paying for ‘brand names’ isn’t a guarantee of anything).

6. There’s no perfect match for how we work.

You can rightly be proud of the unique service you offer to customers. Any system needs configuration and customisation to support that step-by-step. But that is not necessarily costly or time consuming. You simply need the right partner and the right ERP software. To do this, you need to ask three simple questions which will help reveal whether an ERP partner and their software are right for you.

7. We’ve got too much to deal with and no time for this. It’s just another headache.

This is why you need to look at the core systems that run your business. Are they making your life easier or holding you back? Are they making you more efficient or causing those headaches? You know that sticking your head in the sand will not reward your business. If there’s a better solution out there, one that could improve performance and solve your problems, then you need to look at it. The right ERP upgrade could save you time. It might even save the business by improving your capacity, service and cost control in a way nothing else can.

Discover how to increase your profits with the eGuide: Financial Control in Manufacturing: Know What Makes You Money

This post first appeared on the Sanderson blog.