How To Select An ERP For Wholesale And Retail Businesses?
Were you trying to find the perfect retail management ERP for wholesale and retail businesses? Wholesalers are a crucial part of the distribution channel to create and form links between manufacturers and retailers.
An enterprise resource planning (ERP) system has a calming effect on the business. Under this calming influence, the business deals with its challenges and thrives most effectively. This holds for businesses across industries- especially wholesale & retail. The pace at which the retail industry works and its trends change can be maddening for the retailers.
The restive consumers demanding immediate access to the latest trends, greater flexibility in how they shop and pay, product innovation and quality, etc., only make things worse. That’s where an ERP system steps in for the retailers with its calming effect. For the uninitiated, here’s what an ERP is and what it can do for businesses.
How To Analyze The Scope Of An ERP System For Wholesale And Retail Business?
The scope of a system like Microsoft ERP is vast as it is designed for a wide range of industries with completely diverse needs. Hence, when we talk about selecting an ERP for wholesale and retail business, it should be mainly kept in mind that the solutions that are being considered are built for the industry and its needs.
However, it is mostly easier said than done, as finding the perfect retail ERP software is often a daunting task, with the retailers being spoiled for choice.
Top 6 Points To Consider Before Selecting An ERP For Wholesale And Retail Business
To help the wholesale & retail businesses select the right ERP solution for their business, this blog acts as a step-by-step guide.
1. Analyze your requirements:
First and foremost, you as a wholesale & retail business need to analyze and clearly define your requirements for the prospective retail ERP software. For some, it could be the inventory management module. For some others, it could either be the customer relationship management (CRM) module, employee management, sales & ERP analytics, loyalty & discount management, planning, pricing, integration with e-commerce, Point-of-Sale (POS), warehouse, returns & exchange management, vendor & purchase module, or simply all of them.
Proper identification of your requirements will allow you to create the right shortlist of the vendors whose offerings focus on your needs. Hold internal meetings, document the requirements, and keep them on the table when you shortlist potential vendors.
2. Create the vendor shortlist:
As said before, finding the right ERP software for the retail industry can be a taxing process. And that process begins from here, by shortlisting the right vendors. Once you have defined your requirements, all you now need is to screen the options in front of you against those requirements. Additionally, you can use different criteria to narrow down the shortlist to four to five vendors. Some such criteria factors can be features, functionalities, modules, ease-of-use, cost, etc.
3. Assemble the internal ERP project team:
Forming the right ERP implementation project team is the next logical step. The ideal team composition should include one member from the senior management as the head of the project, a project manager to look after the entire project, an IT manager to act as the bridge between the organization and the ERP vendor, and representatives from different departments who can test the system.
The members should be picked on their expertise to create scenarios, foresee future problems, solve those problems and take along everyone. By creating such a team, the organization can see through the ERP implementation project successfully and effectively deal with change management issues.
4. Never assume in these cases:
Never presume a particular retail ERP software that comes from a reputed ERP vendor to be good or that it has all the features that a retail business needs. See for yourself, and then decide. If required, ask for multiple demos and make sure the vendor thoroughly covers all the retail ERP software modules and gives a demo on an actual working system with the same hardware configuration as yours and the same internet connection. Make notes while taking the demos.
5. Ask questions, and plenty of them:
Ask as many questions as you can to the vendor, and don’t leave any room for doubt. Questions related to the feature-set, online & offline accessibility, support to multichannel retail, types of hardware the system supports, the total cost of ownership (TCO), vendors plan regarding data management, backup, and recovery, approach towards security, etc. should be particularly asked. The more precise the vendor is with his answers, the clearer you become concerning your choice.
6. Evaluate your choices:
Based on the feedback from the demo sessions, evaluate your choices. Ask all the vendors who made the demonstrations to give at least two to three industry references. Evaluate them thoroughly on their industry & project management expertise, functional knowledge, record on delivering the implementation on time and within the budget, etc., and then make the final choice.
Conclusion The key to a wholesale & retail business’s future success lies in how well the retail ERP software selection process is planned and in the choices made during the process. After reading the step-by-step process for selecting the retail management ERP in this blog, there should not be any doubt left in your mind concerning the entire selection process.
With over 25 years of experience in Information Technology and Management Consulting, Errin O’Connor has led hundreds of large-scale enterprise implementations from Business Intelligence, Power BI, Office 365, SharePoint, Exchange, IT Security, Azure and Hybrid Cloud eﬀorts for over 165 Fortune 500 companies.