Customisation is a vital part of optimising and enhancing an ERP (enterprise resource planning) software suite. As no two businesses are exactly alike, the modules and tools included in each ERP work best when directly matched to business objectives.
What Can Be Customised?
The ERP user interface, data handling, and workflow direction elements all benefit from customisation. If you're working with content, product, and sales management in fashion, you'll also want a apparel-focused ERP that can accurately describe and log every element of your inventory and product catalogue.
All leading off-the-shelf ERP platforms can be modified, either by using set-up options, or by adjusting the programming to add new features, or tweaking your options to better suit your business model. Modular ERP suites can often be configured to the needs of the business without having to touch the code. Nevertheless, many businesses find that this doesn’t go far enough.
An article on the US website ERP Solutions Review in 2020 reported that 90% of ERP platforms ‘in the field’ have at least minor code-level customisations, while 36% of platforms in use have changes that affect over 50% of the underlying code. Clearly, vanilla-build ERPs are a rare breed in the workplace.
The Risk Of Over-Customisation
However, heavily-customised ERP suites also have their downsides. Inappropriate, underused, and over-engineered solutions can be counterproductive. Confusing interfaces, redundant areas, and a level of complexity beyond human comprehension can all damage your productivity, profit margins, and user morale.
Modifying an ERP suite is expensive, too. There’s a limit to what can be done using the platform’s set up and implementation options. Beyond this, you will need to hire a software developer with specialist skills and accreditations in the platform. The final bill for an extensive custom job can approach the investment needed to develop an entirely new piece of software.
And then there’s the question of what to do with customisations if these features are no longer needed. It isn’t always an easy process to revert a modified ERP to its factory settings. It’s sometimes possible to remove a customisation, or disable or hide the modification, but usually, once a code-level customisation is made, it is there to stay.
All changes should be considered carefully, as customisations could cause conflict in the code that impedes the ERP from working properly, or that causes software glitches. Customisations may also make the platform incompatible with vendor upgrades and patches.
Why Is Implementing An Industry-Specific ERP Better Than An Over-Customised Enterprise Solution?
Like a heavily modified car in which all original components have been replaced at least once, there reaches a point where you have to ask the question – ‘is there a better way to achieve what I need from an ERP solution?’
Fortunately, yes there is. Purchasing a generic ERP suite means you may need to pay out again to modify it. Investing in an industry-specific ERP, such as STYLEman ERP for the clothing and footwear sector, can therefore save time and money. By design, an industry-specific ERP will need fewer modifications, as it is already set up to accommodate the workflows and practices of your sector.
Most businesses need a custom implementation, of course, but this is normally easier than for a generic ERP suite, as the software developer is already aware of the type of customisations needed by customers within that industry. As a result, modification options are often available without you having to mess about with the underlying code.
STYLEman ERP From Options Systems
STYLEman ERP’s mix-and-match resource planning and supply chain management modules are tailored towards manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, and retailers in the fashion industry, allowing you to choose the functionality you need without extensive customisation. To discuss your ERP requirements, or to arrange a free software demonstration of STYLEman ERP, please get in touch with one of our technical sales team today.
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