Who has the best manufacturing software solution on the market today? Some will say SAP and Oracle because of the flexibility and customization they offer. Some say Epicor or IFS because they handle a lot of the complexities of a complex global enterprise, other prefer Microsoft and Sage if you subscribe to the unified and integrated enterprise with many available options.
The truth is, the best solution is the one that closest fits your existing business model out of the box and can streamline your business processes and transaction flow. In addition there should be robust development tools and customization capabilities to best configure the software to match your processes. A workflow module and event manager can greatly tighten controls and model business process behavior.
We tell our clients to create business use cases that allow them to not only define key business processes but to also to be used later on as a basis for test cases during the user acceptance phase.
What is a use case? A use case basically scripts how the process works and what the expectation of the solution is. In the case of manufacturing companies, it is important to focus in the following areas:
- Bills of material
- How we design parts, shop floor
- How we build things, items
- The heart of the system
- How does it flow through the G/L
- Raw material to WIP to finished goods?
- Does it support my costing methods?
- Does it support the way we Purchase? Order? Quote?
- Is the solution oriented to a repetitive manufacturer or a make to order manufacturer or a batch processor?
Don’t try to fit a square peg in a round hole. Talk to installed clients who have the same SIC code as your business does. Does the manufacturing software solution you are considering fit them well? What are the shortfalls? Know what it is you do and spell it out clearly to the technology company you employ to select, install and manage the system. Ask for a proof of concept. The burden is on you to hold the vendor accountable. The more you define the requirements the easier it is to hold the vendor to their promises and insure a fit to your needs.