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Whitepaper: What Do Manufacturers Look for in ERP Software?


Choosing new manufacturing ERP software that includes a great general ledger, accounts payable, cash management, etc., is fairly easy. Decision makers should look for features like easy inter-company transactions, perhaps for a complicated process, great reporting, and drill-down capabilities. The manufacturer has a much greater challenge. In the last 20 years I have been selling manufacturing solutions and nine times out of ten, the business leaders are not concerned with how the GL or any of the financial modules work. They ask if the software has financial modules and do they work. Often our demonstrations end with financials, or we schedule them for another day, since really what the prospect wants to see is how the software will handle their manufacturing operations.

I came across this whitepaper by Nick Castellina, the VP and Research Group Director at the Aberdeen Group and thought I would share some of the results of a survey focused on manufacturing leaders: What do Manufacturers Look For in an ERP Solution? I have been following Castellina's work for a long time. He provides insightful information for the manufacturing and distribution industries.

The survey asked 130 manufacturing respondents what is their top four criteria that they look for in a new business software system. The results were not surprising to me:
1. 50% said ease of use
2. 46% said functionality was important too
3. Total cost of ownership came in at 43%
4. Time to value was at 27%

Per Castellina's report:
"For manufacturers, the top two criteria are functionality and ease of use. Simply put, manufacturers expect their ERP solution to work, and work well. Top performers have detailed plans for what they hope to accomplish with their ERP, but those plans are useless if they select a solution that does not work as expected or lacks necessary features.

For example, are the processes necessary for the organization’s success supported in the potential solution? Does the organization need to be able to perform product recalls? Is full financial or field service functionality needed? Top-performing organizations find ERP solutions that run smoothly and deliver as promised. But even the most functional of ERP solutions is a waste of money if employees can’t use it. A user-friendly ERP solution will lead to a higher employee usage rate and the solution’s benefits will more quickly and profoundly manifest themselves throughout an organization. A clean, intuitive interface will decrease user confusion and increase overall productivity."

If you are a manufacturer and you are looking for new ERP software consider the top two solutions in the Nucleus Research ERP Value Matrix  for ease of use and improved functionality: Acumatica and Dynamics 365. Clients First is a reseller and implementation partner for both these products. They are great solutions for the manufacturer. Contact us at or call 800.331.8382.


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