ERP solutions can work for any business, but whether you are a quoted plc or a start-up SME, beware the ‘one size’ myth.

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The era of ‘plug-and-play’ makes it seem that everything works straight from the box, but such a mindset won’t work for ERP solutions.

There are myths a-plenty on this critical issue. The most dangerous is that the employee who understands Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint must know how ERP software should work.

As analyst Richard Barker said recently: “A common thread around ERP myths is that people bring their PC software paradigms to an ERP implementation.”

Of course, when finance is tight, SME management teams might well consider ‘off-the-shelf’ ERP solutions and the siren voices are always there, down the pub, at the gym, and in the coffee shop.

Things people say about ERP

  1. “Just buy the basic software, and add other stuff when it’s up and running.”

  2. “You don’t want to pay for all those whistles and bells. Save your money.”

  3. “Someone said Software X worked for Company Y and it was really cheap.”

Of course, standard ERP solutions might work perfectly, never need upgrading or tweaking, and somehow do everything you need, for now, and as your company expands its product range and grows its customer base.

Learn where others went wrong

More likely though, the carton which brings your standard software suite will turn out to be Pandora’s Box, as organisations of all sizes have found to their significant cost.

Even the world’s biggest purchaser of military products and services, the US Department of Defense, ran into serious problems trying to use standard ERP solutions, as an intriguing leaked report later revealed.

“The integrity of military implementations is compromised from the start, since it is an invalid premise to believe that off-the-shelf ERPs have capability to meet all DoD needs,”

This the most telling conclusion – but there are many more.

Any size of business should remember that ERP should be about investment in its processes rather than cutting corners in IT costs.

The Best Small Businesses Think Ahead

Of course, you may decide your business is too small to benefit from ERP solutions – but that would be to ignore what is happening in the world’s major economies.

It’s several years since University of Washington research noted how ambitious and far-sighted SMEs were following the corporate giants into ERP, and the trend has since become more marked.

Here’s an innovative take on the ‘Should I invest in ERP?’ debate:

Deciding to pursue an ERP solutions-based strategy, identifying the correct supplier, and then together evolving an implementation and delivery programme will never be easy, but separating the facts from the fiction makes it so much easier.

Download the free eGuide now:  Food industry ERP: 4 questions your business must ask

This post first appeared on the Sanderson Manufacturing blog