What do you know about the culture of the manufacturing software vendors you are considering?
Many prospective buyers of mid-market ERP software mainly focus on what the software does or does not do. However, knowing as much as you can about the vendors themselves and their ethics before you buy is equally important. Here are some topics to pay attention to during your software search:
- Litigation - How many customers have gone to court against the manufacturing software vendors due to misrepresentation of capabilities, support, project management, and the like?
- Support Fees - What is the trend of support fees? Some vendors will sell out to leveraged equity partners who then jack up the annual maintenance fees by 2 – 3 times in a short period of time to take advantage of users’ inertia to changing software.
- Project management staff - There are manufacturing software vendors with strong software but, who are short on qualified consulting staff to install and teach users to get the most out of the system.
- Business Philosophy - One would like to think that all vendors really care about their customers but that is not always the case. There are vendors who are committed to the success of the customers who spend the most with them and are much less concerned about the little guys who aren’t spending so much money. What is the customer profile of the vendors you are looking at?
- History - Has the company changed hands several times over the years? That’s a big red flag as to management stability and corporate philosophy and could result in much greater risk to the buyer.
- Negative selling - Does the company spend time “bad mouthing” the competition? They need to sell their product based on its merits and not by trashing the competition.
- Vendow success - What is the trend of buyers? Some vendors may claim many users but if they are mostly older users from years ago, that tells another story.
- Technology - MS SQL and dot net programming are today’s standards. Oracle and Linux are acceptable platforms. Pervasive SQL, ACCESS, FoxPro and Providex are not.
Choosing mid-market ERP manufacturing software is fraught with potential traps besides the software itself. These may involve such issues as the character of the vendor, its ownership and litigation history, technology and the quality of its implementation and project management staff.