Before you start looking at ERP software, it’s helpful to have goals for what you want the software to do. These goals act as your shop’s North Star when you’re looking at ERP software. Most ERP systems will make your shop better in one way or another. However, if you want to be sure it’s the right fit for your shop, it’s good to know what your shop needs. Your shop’s goals tell you exactly what those needs are.

Pick the Right Software

let shop goals be your guiding star

Once you have your goals set, they make it much easier to pick the right software for your shop. For example, if you want ERP software that helps with scheduling, then you know to look for software that has various scheduling features. Scheduling that you can change on the fly for rush jobs would be incredibly helpful. Alternatively, if your shop wanted to have better quality control, you might look for ERP software that could help with that. For example, great quality software gives you the framework to get your shop ISO certified.

Track Improvements

You don’t know how much your software is helping improve your shop if you aren’t tracking the changes. For example, one shop may want to increase their jobs shipped on time by 20% within six months of implementation. This goal has a specific number to meet, and it has a set time frame so it could be very helpful for them to see how their new ERP software has helped. However, not all shops are tracking things like that. If you don’t have a baseline, then you can’t track improvements as precisely. For some shops, a more helpful goal may be to make sure that all shop floor employees know which jobs to work on within one month of implementation.

Whichever sort of goal is helpful for your shop; it is easier for your shop to have a plan to choose the right ERP software and to have guidelines for what you want your shop to look like after implementation. By tracking the parts of your shop that you want ERP software to improve, you’ll be able to see the difference after you start using it.

Solve Pain Points

What is the biggest problem in your shop? The idea of making goals for your ERP system is to make your shop better. It’s often helpful to start by thinking about problems in your shop or what’s holding you back. Does your shop have a system in place to bill for every job that ships out?  Or maybe your pain points are more general. Are jobs moving through the shop floor slowly? There could be a few reasons for that problem, so it might take a little digging to find out what they are. ERP systems are built to solve many different pain points. Once you know what your shop’s pain points are, it’s much easier to choose the right software to solve them.

Look to the Future

There’s plenty to think about in choosing ERP software that will help your shop now, but what about down the road? It’s best if you can get ERP software that grows with your shop. Can you add more users? More functionality? For example, your shop may not need quality software when you buy your ERP system, but if you realize you need it a few years down the road, can you add it to the ERP software you have? There’s nothing worse than finding a great ERP system for your shop as it is now, and then needing to start the search all over again in a year or two. So not only do you want to find ERP software that will help your shop now, but it should also be able to grow with your shop and help you later as well.

Finding the right ERP software for your shop is a process. Not all ERP software is the same, and every shop is different. However, the best way to start your search for ERP software is by figuring out your shop’s goals. The goals will give your shop a metaphorical North Star when you’re looking at different software. As long as you follow that North Star, you can’t go wrong.

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