ERP Connect provides software selection guidance

Posted on 20 Oct 2011 by The Manufacturer

Enterprise resource planning vendors came together today with potential ERP customers to help improve the selection process with the reduction of complication an important focus.

More than 80 people and 13 vendors were in attendance today at the ERP Connect event held today at the Haydock Park Racecourse in Merseyside, just outside of Manchester.

ERP Connect Chairman and head of EMEA at IDC Manufacturing Insights, Pierfrancesco Manenti, led the initial discussion highlighting the concept of operational ERP. He says that businesses still suffer shortcomings from their legacy installations where there is a lack of direct connection between the factory, logistics, suppliers and customers. “It is very difficult these days to consider a single company as every business is simply part of a value chain,” says Manenti. “If you want to improve your customer service then the entire value chain must be considered.”

Part of the reason for this lack of integration is the oversupply of complex data. Manenti says that the a contemporary operational ERP systems should go beyond simply reporting on transactions. “Instead”, he says, “the system should hide the complexity to the end user and only ‘pop up’ to report on an outcome or change when it impacts on another process.”

Part of this process of reducing complex data is the inclusion of consumer grade functionality, including the use of social media in several of the ERP platforms. Drawing a similarity to the online booking systems for the airline industry, Manenti explained that the expectations of consumers for reduced complexity in the delivery of service should be desire of business software too.

Other speakers at the event included manufacturing representatives Derek Wilson of Origin Enterprises and Neil Whalin of MacTaggart Scott. Both speakers spoke of their experience of ERP implementation and highlighted the benefits of simplicity and patience.

Mr Wilson warned of the pitfalls of incurring additional and unnecessary bespoke changes to a system which inevitably leads to additional complexity and cost. Mr Whalin highlighted the importance of ensuring an ERP system is fully specified at the time of launch. He recommended extending the implementation period to ensure this is achieved.