In the early development stages of enterprise resource planning (ERP), the software was more difficult to work with and expensive for both manufacturers and distributors. Only large businesses could afford to spend millions of dollars on a fully-customized software solution. All these customization options led to scope creep, contributed to budget overruns, and added complexity to standard ERP projects.
Fortunately, ERP software as a whole has become more streamlined. Modern ERP solutions provide detailed functionality that simplifies the implementation process and meets manufacturing and distribution needs. But just because the software has gotten better doesn’t mean custom software solutions have entirely disappeared. After all, every business is different, even if they’re in the same industry. While a basic implementation package will ideally cover around 90% of your overall requirements, you might have to change the base code to address the remaining 10%. Plus, changes will inevitably have to be made to your software as your business changes and grows.
Nobody should have to spend a fortune on custom ERP software solutions but to have a system that supports the unique process of your business, you’ll have to figure out the best way to approach customization. Below, we provide a few tips that can help you determine whether or not you need ERP customization for your business.
Think It Through
Choosing ERP customization isn’t a decision you should rush into. Instead, think of it as a last resort if you can’t find a standard ERP software package that fits your needs. Customization comes with some possible risks, such as costly errors and project delays. That’s why we advise you to look at all of your other options before you decide to touch the base code. If you’ve selected the right ERP solution, the software shouldn’t have to undergo too many changes.
Additionally, most modern ERP solutions are designed to adhere to established best business practices. Rather than customize your system to align with each of your processes, you could also think about adjusting some of your operations to align more with a standard ERP software. To do this, map out your current business process workflows. This task will help you uncover any inefficiencies present that your ERP could potentially smooth over. Adjusting some of your processes to fit your software instead of adding on more customizations will not only reduce overall costs but also lead to major business improvements. Another option is to try configurations. Configurations allow you to set up workflows without the need for coding
However, after weighing all of these options, you might still think that customization is necessary to support critical tasks you need accomplished or give your company a competitive advantage. If that’s the case, then a custom ERP software is a wise decision.
Does It Add Value to Your Business?
Any IT project your organization takes on should be intended to create improvements, solve current issues or give your business some kind of competitive edge. For example, you could try to elevate your customer experience by implementing online self-service portals. By expanding your reporting capabilities, you’ll have greater visibility to ensure compliance or expand on insights. Implementing the right ERP customizations could take your company to the next level.
But anything that doesn’t contribute to the growth of your company should be taken out of your technology roadmap completely. Before choosing custom ERP software solutions, make sure that they’re genuinely adding value to your business. You should perform a cost-benefit analysis and discuss your goals with your project team and stakeholders before making any decisions. Ultimately you shouldn’t choose a custom ERP software just because you can. Just focus on adhering closely to your business goals throughout your software’s lifetime, and you should be set.
Continue To Assess After Going Live
In a lot of cases, customization isn’t necessary for the initial ERP implementation. In fact, foregoing customizations initially will help you reach the go-live date faster and for less money. Once your solution is implemented, you can decide to take on necessary customizations whenever your company wants. Since it’s likely that no standard ERP package can meet all of your specific needs as it is, and your company is bound to undergo various changes, there’s a strong possibility you’ll require some form of customization at some point in the future.
A tell-tale sign that it’s time to add customizations to your software is when you notice consistent inefficiencies. The purpose of ERP software is to enhance productivity, so if you find some tasks are still taking longer than you want them to, or require multiple workarounds, locate the source of the problem and make whatever changes you need to. Since ERP software offers a wealth of metrics, you should be able to quickly identify the root causes of the problems and create an effective solution.
Maybe some of your users are still struggling to get used to the new system. If that’s the case, additional training might be the right approach. But if the problem is with the ERP software itself, then don’t be afraid to add on customizations, so you can see all the improvements you expect from custom ERP software solutions.
Choosing a custom ERP software solution isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. When it comes to aligning software with your business goals, custom ERP software should be your last resort. However, customization also shouldn’t be feared. If you’ve taken a detailed approach to implement and improving your software, you should feel confident that your customization will add value to your enterprise.
Erphub is a leading US-based system consulting, ERP solution development, and administration service that can ensure your business efficiency is raised to its optimum level. At Erphub, we provide access to informational tools, a variety of basic ERP software packages, and the option to choose a completely custom ERP solution for your business. For more information, just connect with us by email or call us.