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The Importance of an Industry-Specific ERP

Lisa Dunn

Lisa C. Dunn is a writer for TechnologyAdvice and a freelance writer, copywriter and ghostwriter who develops high-quality content for businesses and non-profit organizations. For over 20 years, she has worked with numerous PR and digital marketing agencies, and her work has been featured in well-known publications including Forbes, VentureBeat, Mashable, Huffington Post, Wired, B2C, USA Today, among others.

Many of us can agree: selecting ERP software for your company can be an intimidating process. And the choice between generic solutions and industry-specific options is a major part of the decision-making process.

Traditionally, ERP technology was created with basic functionalities and features common to a wide range of industries. During the actual implementation process, IT consultants would conduct a detailed system study to determine the customized solution based on a client’s precise requirements.

Implementing a generic ERP was a massive undertaking that most companies had to plan many years in advance, especially with regards to time and budgets.

As technology has evolved, ERP solutions now create software that specifically matches exact industries, saving both valuable time and money. ERP software that has been developed specifically for your industry can handle all of your business processes with minimal to no customization required.

The latest statistics support the appeal of an industry-specific ERP. The majority of ERP users in a survey of industrial executives reported that they require more functionality for their particular industry. The study was based on a survey of over 200 manufacturing and other executives.

The data revealed that 67 percent of survey participants noted that industry-specific functionality was a significant feature for them in enterprise software selection.

The following are some of the many benefits of industry-specific ERP solutions:

  • Minimal implementation time. Because the majority of business critical features are already available, you can conduct the implementation process in a minimal amount of time. An industry-specific ERP will also be aware of necessary integrations and API connections to other key software: Marketing Automation, Retail Point of Sale (POS), Field Service management, and Business Intelligence, just to name a few. These ready-made connections will further reduce implementation time.
  • Reduced implementation cost. Besides the license fee, implementation costs are often a big concern when it comes to ERP technology. Customizing a generic solution can consume more time and result in higher implementation fees. You can dramatically reduce these costs with an industry-specific solution.
  • Lower maintenance costs. Domain expertise in your particular industry can help ERP solutions providers more easily identify any issues, bottlenecks, errors and other problems, and also provide quicker resolutions.

Getting Down to the Nitty-Gritty

While some generic solutions feature modules to help you manage various business functions, different manufacturing processes can often require a more in-depth customized solution. Sure, you can customize some generic ERPs to facilitate these processes, but it can become costly and does not always get down to the nuts and bolts.

On the other hand, an industry-specific ERP is designed with a precise industry in mind, is much simpler to implement and much more cost-effective.

The biggest reason for this is that having to customize an all-encompassing solution can take a lot more time and does not yield the same results. As such, if you select an industry-specific option, there’s a much briefer time to value, which is essential to the success of the project.

There is also the matter of ensuring your ERP serves your customers, and industry-specific solutions are truly customer-centric. Because these specially designed systems are built with the manufacturer top of mind – to encompass that industry’s unique processes – there is often much more control and a better understanding of the end-user’s needs.

On the same note, this enables a manufacturer to more easily track job process and identify any potential problem areas that can lead to compromising quality and delay delivery.

Finally, anticipating customers’ needs, as well as factoring in stock requirements and pricing, must be carried out accurately so that manufacturers can meet customer demand. With an industry-specific ERP, you can better understand pain areas related specifically to your professional space, making it easier to provide solutions.

Some Closing Thoughts

Top-performing manufacturers commonly approach the ERP selection process with a distinct plan in mind – they prefer a solution they can implement smoothly and help drive business right away.

No matter the reason for investing in a new ERP solution, one thing is certain; it’s a big decision to make, and there are countless options. If you opt for a generic solution, you will not necessarily fail, however, you may not thrive as you would with an industry-specific option.

With an ERP system that has been designed with your industry in mind, you have the advantage of heading on the right path as it will be easier to implement to handle your organization’s processes.

The benefits speak for themselves: you end up with a system that is well equipped to handle your organization’s processes; is more affordable to implement and maintain; can help with troubleshooting; and, ultimately allows you to invest in a reliable solution that will be around for a long time and help launch your business forward.

Tags: ERP