The cloud ERP market is growing. A recently published report by RnR Research on the global cloud ERP market found that the industry grew at a CAGR of about 6.38% from 2011 to 2015 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.30% from 2016 to 2021. With this growth comes more choices for manufacturers, who must now consider the choice of industry-specific cloud ERP or generic cloud ERP for their organization.
Industry-Specific versus Generic Cloud ERP
Industry-specific ERP software provides more functionality for your specific business and operations needs than a generic ERP package.
For example, discrete manufacturers produce everything from automobiles to electronics to defense equipment and need a cloud ERP solution that provides bill-of-materials (BOM) functionality to help firms track raw materials, parts, subassemblies, intermediate assemblies, sub-components, and the quantities of each needed to produce the end product. Process manufacturers, on the other hand, produce products such as fuel, paint or household cleaning solutions and need a cloud ERP solution that streamlines and automate processes used many times a day to ensure accuracy, reliability and flexibility.
Most generic ERP systems have plenty of non-manufacturing functionality but are deficient in manufacturing, especially functionality for specific industries. They must rely on add-ons from other software vendors to provide industry-specific applications, which introduces the problems of high cost and system downtime inherent in integrating and maintaining multiple systems.
A cloud ERP solution that has been designed specifically for your industry will be able to handle your manufacturing process with little or no customization. As result, implementation and maintenance is faster and cheaper.
Manufacturers can customize generic ERP software to add industry-specific functions, but this is a time-consuming and expensive process, especially when you consider the downtime required to implement those customizations.
Industry-specific applications from vendors like Rootstock Cloud ERP for Manufacturers on the Salesforce platform integrates out of the box with other products on the popular Salesforce platform to provide complete coverage of a manufacturing firm’s business. Apps are so seamlessly integrated on the Salesforce platform that get the latest features immediately and don’t have to re-implement previous customizations every time a new software version is released.
Generic ERP systems must partner with vendors that offer front-end software targeting different industry verticals, but that repeats the problem of how easily the software integrates with the generic ERP and your existing systems. Not every system integrates as easily as Salesforce. Manufacturers may find themselves stuck with multiple systems that require regular maintenance and synchronization, an increasingly expensive process.
Industry-specific cloud ERP vendors have deeper industry expertise and experience than a generic cloud ERP vendor. When manufacturing firms evaluate cloud ERP vendors, they must make sure that the vendor understands their industry and their specific requirements.
As we’ve seen, generic cloud ERP vendors must rely on add-on software from other vendors to provide industry-specific functionality and customizations. Manufacturers may get the experienced industry experts but they should ask themselves if they really want to deal with multiple vendors.
Challenges of Choosing Industry-Specific Cloud ERP
Evaluate industry-specific cloud ERP software carefully. Some of these solutions come with their own sets of challenges:
- There are off-the-shelf industry-specific cloud ERP systems that been customized to meet the process demands of one small company or expert who cannot support a large number of users or provide enough resources to maintain the system. This means poor support and the likelihood of being stuck with a single version of the software that cannot easily be updated.
- They may be too specific. Some industry-specific software may be too inflexible to support the growth and agility that manufacturers need to succeed in today’s dynamic global market. Manufacturers that expect to grow and expand should look at cloud ERP solutions with multi-site and multi-division capabilities, such as Rootstock Cloud ERP for Manufacturers.
The process of evaluating and choosing a cloud ERP solution for manufacturing is filled with difficult choices. Choosing industry-specific software over a generic ERP system doesn’t have to be one of them. Industry-specific solutions are the clear choice, offering deeper functionality, less need for customizations, easier integration when built on the Salesforce cloud platform, and real industry experience and insight.