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Selecting Software

Successfully selecting and installing the right ERP software can help machine shops improve their competitiveness by increasing access to and use of quality information for functions including:

    - Fast and accurate estimating and quoting

    - Real-time cost tracking and costing

    - Raw material calculators and automated inventory control

    - Extensive part history, copy functions, and the ability to refresh quote rates

    - Automatic scheduling and capacity planning
Based on our experience gained during the last twenty six years of helping companies effectively select and install machine shop ERP software, we offer the following initial suggestions as you evaluate options for selecting ERP software for use within your business. In addition, please see these related articles for additional information.


Step 1: When Planning, Identify and Address the “Big Three” Topics:

PEOPLE. PROCESS. TECHNOLOGY.

Read enough articles about selecting and installing ERP software and you will find the words "people", "process", and "technology" are used often. And for good reason. The terminology may change somewhat but the general message is normally the same. Experienced managers know successful software implementation involves effective project management which takes into consideration the key people involved (staff, customers, suppliers), business processes (existing and those required for future use) and technology (software, hardware, network and more).

Step 2:  Document Your Requirements and Goals for the New Software

It is important to start by documenting your operations, taking into consideration the previously referenced people, process, and technology factors. Once documented, you will have a starting point to begin evaluating ERP software and better understand how to approach using the new software within your business. Terminology is also important to document as companies often use different terms within their operations.Common categories which are documented within this step include:

    - Overall software requirements

    - Complete list of reports including who uses them and how they are used

    - Administration and security

    - Connectivity/interactivity between departments and software applications

    - Usage requirements such as for remote connectivity from outside the building

    - Vendor requirements and available services such as planning assistance, hands-on-      
       integration, training, post-installation support and software updates.

    - Project costs for hardware, software, training and support.

Step 3:  Manage the Process of Selecting ERP Software

Treat the selection and installation of ERP software like any other serious project. Key actions include:

    - Define the project scope

    - Document the specification requirements, especially as it relates to generating, accessing and creating data reports

    - Assign the project manager and team members

    - Decide on the decision-making process, including who has authority to represent the company
      when working with your software supplier/integrator

    - Determine how project status will be tracked and reported including regular opportunities for
      communications

    - Build a plan which provides for an appropriate level of flexibility including specifications and
      requirements

Henning Software is prepared to help you each step of the way from identifying and documenting needs to determining how software can best be fits to meet your business requirements.



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