Vetting The Vendor

This is the third blog post in a series about what to consider when looking for a new ERP system. The first blog post was about ERP benefits and capabilities, and the second post was about vetting the software. This post is about vetting the software vendor. When vetting a vendor, you want to check their references and look into their history and background.

Is Your Company in Good Company?

One of the best ways to be sure an ERP system will work for your shop is to talk to a similar shop that uses that system. When talking to an ERP vendor, you should be able to talk to some current, happy customers. You will need to talk to someone who has a shop similar to yours if you want to be sure the software is a good fit. A similar shop would make products close to what you make and would have about the same number of people in their shop. Ideally, there would be a shop like that not far from yours so you could do an on-site visit to their shop. If you do this, the other shop owner will be more truthful with you if there is not a representative from the vendor present. If you cannot do an on-site visit, make sure you have a phone call with a few shops, again without the vendor on the line, so the other shop will be honest.  A vendor can tell you that their product will work for your shop, but you can only be sure of that if you talk to similar shops, or if you take a chance and try it in your shop. There is much less risk if you talk to similar shops instead. Once you’ve talked to some references, you will want to look into the vendor’s history and background.

Get to Know Your Vendor

Keep in mind that buying an ERP system is not just a purchase, but the beginning of a business relationship. The vendor should work with you to make your shop more successful, and to do that, they will need to know how your shop works. You will want to be sure that everyone you will work with understands what your shop does and how their software can help make it better. Remember, you are buying the vendor’s expertise, service, and support as well as their software, and your shop needs to be able to depend on all of it. Talk to their implementation team to make sure they’ve worked with shops like yours before. Listen to what they’re saying. If the vendor speaks specifically about what your kind of shop needs, they are probably a good fit. If they can only speak generally, then they don’t know what your shop really needs and they won’t be able to help you as well as another vendor could.

Buying an ERP system is a process, and part of that is vetting your prospective vendors by making sure they have good references and looking into their history and background. Buying an ERP system is the beginning of a business relationship and you want to be sure it’s with the right company. Our next and final installment in this series focuses on determining which features you need in an ERP system and only paying for those. If you want all of this advice in one document, download our buying guide.

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