In addition to Cost, Time, and Implementation, another common fear of purchasing new manufacturing software is the on-going Support after purchase. Will there be any? What will it look like? What will it cost? How reliably and quickly will my questions or business issues get resolved?
Here are 4 ways to overcome your fear of manufacturing software support.
Test the support system prior to purchasing. How responsive and helpful will the support be? Find out for yourself. If the vendor has a number to call, or an email address to use, test them out. Pretend that you have a critical business issue that needs resolving immediately, and see how long it takes to get to a resource that is able to answer your question. Do you get sent to a call center in another country? Are you placed in an extensive queue system? Or are you speaking directly with a knowledgeable rep that can answer your question immediately? Responsiveness in the sales cycle can sometimes translate to the support side, but not always. Test to find out.
Ask important questions about your existing data prior to purchase. Will I be able to transfer over my old data to the new manufacturing software system? Most vendors offer data migration services for a fee. Since your existing data is one of the most important resources that you have as a business, make sure that you are very familiar with the process and conversion outline proposed by an ERP vendor, before you purchase. Make sure that the vendor will be able to handle all of your data, and not be outsourcing your data to another agency that isn’t familiar with your business or business processes.
Ask the manufacturing software vendor how they handle upgrades. Another important question to ask is, If we make customizations to the software, will those stand in the way of a future upgrade to a newer version? Some vendors charge upgrade fees, some don’t. Some won’t migrate your data to a new version for free, and some will. Also, ask if there is an additional cost for newly released modules or functionality. Again, some vendors include all current and future modules with your purchase, while other will charge for each current module and all new functionality. These are important questions to have answers to, before you need to upgrade.
Find out what services are offered to ensure future business growth. Simply purchasing ERP software doesn’t ensure business growth without goals, guidance, and direction. Is there a plan in place for you to connect with other users in similar industries and applications? Does the vendor offer a platform for users to voice their opinions and suggest improvements to the ERP software? It’s going to take an ongoing relationship with your vendor to help make you successful, make sure your voice matters. Also, If the vendor that you select doesn’t sell modules in piece-meal, but instead gives you all of the functionality upfront, then the relationship that you’ll have with the manufacturing software support consultants will be much more amiable – you won’t be getting a sales pitch all the time, but real help and insight.