Replacing an existing ERP Solution: To go for it or not?

In today’s world ERPs exist in almost all those organizations which have a vision to excel and we all know that not all ERP projects are successful. Whether it is the product features, its fitment to your business, managing the requirements and expectations of users or executive sponsorship – there are many reasons which can throw an ERP project haywire. Needless to say that ERPs can make or break an organization’s vision based on the success they achieve with it.
Looking at intense competition between top ERP product vendors and extreme pressure on their sales teams to achieve higher than ever targets, they tend to not only outsell others but also, at customer organization’s expense, try to convince them to move their existing ERP solution to their platform showing rosy pictures. Some of us fall in trap based on our satisfaction level with existing solution and some of us manage to escape. This article is for those of us who are considering replacing their ERP solution with a “perceived” better one. Let me look at some of the points that need to be taken care before we take up this journey, if at all:
ERP Implementation and Baby Birth: Like birth of a child, an ERP implementation is a process that is planned and takes lot of time. In the process of implementation, there are lot of pains and caring which is very similar to pains and caring we see during the pregnancy period of a “to be mother”. If you have parented a child, then there is no need for me to explain what it is like and how critical it is to the life of people around that child. Similar is the story of ERP. Also, as you are never sure that the 2nd child will be a better version of first one, you are never sure what will be the fate of the other ERP product that you are going to implement replacing the existing one. Extreme caution is the word to focus on.   
Best of the breed solutions:  A good alternative to replace your existing ERP solution can be adding a best of the breed business specific solution to the existing solution. This way, you can avoid the pain of replacing the entire solution which will also bring change management issues. Say, you are on XXXX ERP product which does not offer a pertinent transportation & logistics solution for your business and the sales team of rival product convinces you that their product is better than your existing product. Don’t jump on replacing right away. Explore more solutions in the market and there is a 75% probability that you will find a smaller, more agile and manageable best of breed solution which will be to talk to your existing ERP product and you will not only save on cost but also tha agony that went through when you implemented ERP first time.
Upgrade existing solution: It is highly likely that your ERP product vendor is also aware of the issues that you are facing and they have already come up with the newer version of the product which takes care of your additional requirements. Check out on this and if yes, consider upgrading. Normally, if you have bought the annual maintenance and software assurance from your existing vendor, the upgraded product is available to you free of cost.
Look at bigger picture: On the contrary, if you have acquired a new business that have a different ERP solution and it is important for you to bring them into same platform to achieve economies of scale and improved synergies, replacing their ERP solution with your won or vice versa, might makes sense. Evaluate and take decision.
So, if you review the above points before taking a decision on replacing your existing ERP with a new one, I am sure you life will be a lot less stressful.

How manufacturing software can save your business money

Manufacturing software can provide significant savings for your business. Types of manufacturing software range from programs that can set up modules for different areas of production in a factory, through to shop floor monitoring and tasking of different routines via voice-activated headphones, and the tracking of goods along a supply chain.

One of the key strengths of manufacturing software is that it reduces human error by partly automating shop floor practices, and also allows for some remote management of resources. Systems typically fall under Enterprise Resource Planning tools, and combine on site hardware with software that can enable wireless and cloud based access for factory floors and production lines.

Some of the key ways in which businesses can save money through manufacturing software consequently include better workflow management, improved quality control and costing, and more efficient supply chain management and best practice planning.

1 - Workflow Management

manufacturing software program from Epicor allows you to break down different parts of your production processes into modules. Optimum conditions and the amount of statistics and algorithms required for each can be established to provide the best possible production line schedules.

Workflow and staffing can be allocated based on this data, with managers able to implement material requirements planning for specific tasks, while also analysing future sales and distribution. This increased efficiency ultimately helps to keep a business running faster and more profitably.

2 - Quality Control

Manufacturing software can detect and alert engineers and managers about defective products and changes in a production line. This information can be relayed to nearby engineers wirelessly if one isn’t on site for rapid troubleshooting. As a result, any product defects can be resolved before goods are sent out to clients, reducing potential losses caused by product recalls.

3 - Costing

By using manufacturing software, it is possible for you to better track revenues and the overall performance of your business. Modules can be set up to break down labour and mechanical costs, while also identifying where overtime and expenses can be cut down.

Higher expenses as the result of inefficient staffing can be reduced, and processes sped up to encourage best practices. Other costing benefits involve being able to draw up figures for inventory and maintenance of production equipment from databases, which can be used to identify any excess stock or faults.

4 - Supply Chain Management

Moreover, manufacturing software enables you to take better control of your overall supply chain management, from the time that products are manufactured through to their distribution. Software can tag and track items as they pass from the production line into distribution channels, and can ensure that any problems with delivery dates and customer or client satisfaction can be tackled, and optimum performance levels maintained across a business.

5 - Best Practices

Perhaps most importantly, manufacturing software will save your business money by allowing you to view the entire process and performance of your operation. Software can be used to analyse year on year trends, and to make clear forecasts on your profit margins, and what your best practices should be.

Key performance indicators can consequently be used to work out how your business should ideally be running, allowing you to better budget and anticipate any cuts without necessarily slowing down a production line or reworking your staffing costs.

ERP invades households for good

Location : Earth
Year : 2025

Scene 1: Suraj, who just joined “Worldwide Mart” 2 days ago, was in his way to deliver his first order to one of the customers and was apprehensive whether his details are already mapped with customer’s Unit Resource Planning (URP) system or not? He reached customer’s place and found that there is nobody at home. He tried scanning his hand on the door bell scanner and was happy to find that his finger prints matched with information in customer URP and the automatic door of delivery box fixed on the wall opened. He again scanned the ship order & invoice on the scanner in delivery box and kept the goods there. The door closed automatically once the activity was over and Suraj moved to the next customer address.

Scene 2: Krish, gets a mail (delivered on smartphone) containing dashboard from his URP. The dashboard has a set of recommendations and suggestions. The URP recommended that since there is an acute demand supply gap currently in house-keeping services, he should renegotiate the rates of house maid, baby sitter and gardener with the agency. A drilldown facility allowed him to see what the prevailing rates are for this week. The dashboard also highlighted the utility and credit card bills that are due for payment. Krish authorizes URP to pay all bills on due date using intelligent payment system which maximizes interest income in saving accounts & credit cards. The dashboard also provides suggestions for holidaying, eating out and other leisure activities as configured by Krish in his URP. His life is made easy with URP and he is far less stressed than before and family life is as smooth as silk.


Scene 3: Jacky, is standing at his home with his family and society caretaker and verified that nothing is missing from his house while it was tried to be ransacked by thieves last night when they were out. The Group Resource Planning (GRP) system installed by the society was subscribed by Jacky, which is integrated with the security system at his house. The security system raised an alarm upon an intrusion and in addition of the alerts that went to prescribed people/groups, information was sent to GRP too which not only closed all possible exits from society but also sent alerts to all subscribing households in society. The thieves were struck inside the house only and were captured by police red-handed.

You must be wondering what is a URP and GRP when this article is for ERP. Well, ERP, over the years have evolved and has expanded its reach from large, medium and small enterprises to households and group housing societies. For a house, it is now called as URP (Unit Resource Planning) and for a Group of units; it is called as GRP (Group Resource Planning). The clouds have taken over and there is no need for people to invest in hardware to take benefits of ERP just they do not have to build a powerhouse for drawing power to run their appliances at home.

Scene 1 showed us how automated deliveries from retail marts to houses will happen with hand/finger scanning systems installed at homes which means that an authorized person will deliver the goods and even when there is nobody at home. The orders will be placed through smart phones and all systems will be integrated to process orders and payments.

Scene2 showed us how our lives will be made comfortable with ERP/URP with an electronic personal assistant taking over and completing all important tasks either by providing recommendations or if authorized, finishing them on their own.

Security is another area (Scene 3) where ERP/GRP will act as our personal watchman which will have less than 0.2% probability of failure (Six Sigma) and people can travel to spend their vacations without worrying about the thefts etc. till the thieves come out with another novel way to intrude.

I am convinced that ERP is here to stay and will be further invading our lives in future. Only software programs like ERPs will be able to control the robots that humans are planning to use for home chores in future. In addition, ERPs also have the potential to educate our children finding their improvement areas when they record their progress in them. The potential is huge and only things like ROI, hunger for more etc. will drive its use among larger population.