Almost every Business owner who wants to bring structure to his/her business falls for a major flaw every time. He/she thinks that ‘Technology’ or ‘Software System’ is the only solution and then goes about wantonly distributing Request For Quotation (RFQ) to different Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software Vendors.

Two months down the line – you will see them setting up a massive Server apparatus with a dedicated server room, $1000 worth licenses for each user, massive report builders and intensive training by the Software Vendor.

12 Months later – the story is quite different. The symptoms of the breakdown of your new ERP software system are:

  • Your employees are struggling to use even 10% of the colossal feature set that the ERP provides
  • You realize that the system has only 10% of the features you actually need and it will cost you a bomb to customize
  • Your software has cost you much more than it would have had you simply hired more people to do the job in spreadsheets
  • Your AMC (Annual Maintenance Contract) threatens to wipe out the bottom-line

Sounds familiar? You are not alone!

We often like to imagine that a piece of technology can solve all our problems even if we lack the discipline of execution. We like to plan big – “Oh, but it would be useful to have a feature to scan the shelf number too” when your actual problem is that your staff never bothers to keep the right inventory in the right bin.

So what’s the solution? Do we go back to pen and paper? Absolutely not!

I believe if one follows the below guidelines, one would make fewer mistakes in the adoption of technology. In other words, listed below are the 3 main important points retailers should keep in mind before buying an ERP Software. Don’t ignore them!

  1. Run your process on full scale ‘manually’ for 4 weeks: Do not purchase a system before defining what you actually need. Running your warehouse or retail store on spreadsheets and paper will push you to define an optimal process. A technology layer on this optimized process will enhance your efficiency like never before.
  2. Don’t take a bazooka to a knife fight: Do you really need to view your orders in 30 different reporting formats? Think about it before you purchase any ERP Software.
  3. Take Baby Steps: Fix one problem at a time. Pick a simple inventory management software before you actually feel the need for a complex warehouse management software with a built-in HRMS. Purchase the HRMS only when you need it. Not because “I may need it later”.

This is the age of SaaS software which integrate seamlessly with each other. Which means you can buy the best Inventory Software and integrate it with the best HRMS provided by another vendor and a kickass Accounting Software built by another. All this without emptying your pockets!