Choosing the right VAR does not have to be difficult. Ideally, you want to work with a reseller that has successfully handled multiple projects of a similar scope as yours in the past. The experience of the reseller is crucial to avoiding down-times and rush installations that may increase installation costs and negate any gains anticipated from the ERP.
Below are five things you should know before you consult a VAR.
System and Version
Know the system and version of the ERP you want installed or configured. ERP vendors occasionally update their systems to enhance security, bring new features, or improve performance.
The VAR you want to hire should be conversant with the ERP system and version that you want to upgrade to. The vendor should also have experience in data management, transfer, and conversion to avoid losses during the upgrade.
Upgrading your ERP for the sake of getting a new system in the organization is not a prudent move. The cost of ERP implementation and the related learning curve can significantly reduce the output of your employees and bring processes to a standstill.
While there are stand-alone manufacturing software packages on the market, the best solutions are tightly integrated in a centralized ERP system. Depending on your production environment, you may require an ERP with process, discrete, or mixed mode software.
Your system selection should be based on whether your production environment can be considered work-order based, repetitive, repair and maintenance, batch processing, job shop, contract manufacturing, or continuous process. The VAR should offer you detailed costing information on the entire ERP system.
You should only upgrade if you will be benefiting from a function or module in the new ERP. The reseller should be knowledgeable and experienced in configuring the modules that will be important in your daily organization tasks.
To get the full benefits of the ERP system, it may be necessary to install a number of add-ons from third party vendors. Add-ons extend the capability of the ERP, often enabling custom functions through available or additional modules.
The add-ons may have to be installed directly in the ERP or may be available on the cloud. If the add-ons are coming from third party vendors, does the VAR understand how to configure and customize them for your organizational use? Find out if installing the add-ons will increase your costs.
Number of Users
You should also know the exact number of people that will be accessing and using the ERP system. The number of employees using the system may determine the licensing fees you will pay. For example, you may find that the first 20 concurrent users cost much less than the next 20.
Another metric to know is the number of concurrent users allowed (the maximum number of users on the system at once). The performance of the ERP can change as the volume of transactions or number of concurrent users increase.
Find out from the VAR how the number of users will alter your budget and the performance of the ERP.
Sites Using System
You need to understand the costs of deploying the ERP. When costing the ERP project budget, take into account the initial implementation and total cost of ownership (TCO). For instance, a typical quote includes the ERP software, first-year support, and the implementation cost.
The initial costs usually include a complete ERP system for a single site. However, additional sites and modules will increase the cost. Also find out from the VAR whether the contract excludes such necessary tasks as training.
Before you contact a VAR for any ERP project, you should know how to measure success in terms of saving money by increasing market share, increasing revenues, and streamlining operations. Measuring success will motivate the staff during the implementation, ensuring the project is on track and effort is put forth to attain important business objectives.