Vertically Focused ERP for Today's Manufacturer

efi-logo.jpgI recently came across an interesting article on enterprise resource planning (ERP) software experience—a case study of the selection and implementation of EFI Radius ERP software by a family-owned packaging and printing company named KDV Label Co. This article outlines the need for a new vertically focused solution for a modern manufacturing business and is of value to anyone remotely interested in a new ERP system.

Despite developing and delivering ERP, manufacturing execution system (MES), along with many other software and hardware products, Electronics For Imaging, Inc. (EFI) is probably not as well known as some other ERP software vendors. This is because the company is deeply focused in one particular area of business—the packaging and printing industry. Selecting a profoundly industry-focused solution is among the major trends of the ERP software market nowadays, and the KDV Label case confirms it.

I found the article very helpful in understanding some of the issues that many manufacturers, not necessarily in the packaging industry, face with a custom-built ERP system that uses old technology (such software is often called “legacy systems”). In particular, the KDV Label struggled from the time lag between data entry and results representing in the old system—it required several hours, often a night, to calculate everything that happened the day before, so the entire company had no real-time visibility and was regularly losing many hours waiting for the system update. In addition, the aging system wasn’t fully integrated and required multiple entries of the same data. Finally, it required a full-time developer who played a critical  role at the company, which actually suffered a lot after he left. So, this business was obviously in dire need for a newer software that it could rely on.

The article underlines the importance of selecting a vendor that has a good grasp on the industry as well as a vertically focused solution. This brings additional value, as no or nearly no customization will be required, the right terminology and business processes will be used, and the likelihood for a successful implementation will be higher. As Mr. McBride, information technology (IT) manager at KDV Label, says: "We had two Radius consultants on site for the go-live and they ended up leaving early that day because everything worked out so well.” Having performed several ERP projects myself, I can attest that this is a very impressive result.

Anyways, this article is an insightful piece that I would recommend to anyone who is looking for new ERP software, or even only starting to think about this endeavor.
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