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An ERP System with Standard Industry-Specific Solutions?

Published August 25 2022
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Most manufacturers have a facility that is so unique that no one ERP can address all their distinctive challenges, and to some extent that is true. Enterprise ERP solutions are often highly configured and customized to meet a company’s specific objectives. The thought is that your implementation costs will be higher, but you will gain efficiencies in your system and processes, thus saving your team time and money. Over time, all the software customizations add up, bog down the system, and become a nightmare for the IT team. You cannot easily integrate your highly customized ERP with other applications due to API breaks and other issues. This results in a less flexible, and therefore less resilient, technology strategy.

Do all ERPs need customization?

No, not if it has standard industry-specific solutions, has implemented the software with numerous customers and is always up to date with current standards, regulations and processes while providing an edge against your competition.

To obtain an out-of-the-box (or "Vanilla") system, you need a fully configured, readily deployable company-wide template designed for quick implementation of your processes. Additionally, you will need a preconfigured database that includes a fully operational company, complete with core business processes including: record to report, order to cash, procure to pay and plan to produce, all optimized to reflect the reality of a modern manufacturing company.

What are the benefits of installing a “Vanilla” ERP system?

Vanilla goes with anything! You can mix in chocolate, nuts and throw in some cherries and it all tastes good. The same goes with a Vanilla software. By creating a Vanilla platform, it can be implemented in other locations, creating a uniform data structure, which creates faster and more accurate decision making not just for one plant but for the corporation as a whole. Consulting costs are dramatically decreased for implementation as well as maintenance since there is no over-modification which can cause issues down the road to updates, reporting and syncing with other systems.

When you find a Vanilla ERP solution that has been pre-configured for your industry, much of the industry functionality is included. You can get an ERP system setup simply without writing a single line of code. The best part of a Vanilla ERP solution is the low cost and speed of implementation. For example, with Alithya 365 DiscreteXpress for Dynamics 365 offered through Microsoft AppSource, you can get a new implementation up and running in weeks. On average, customers save up to 40% on project costs and implement up to 30% faster.

Sound too good to be true? Read how the Umbra Group is doing it.

The UMBRAGROUP had a very heavily customized ERP D365 platform. It needed to rely heavily on configuration and business process changes within the organization instead of customizations to the system. The leadership team made the decision to deploy the organization’s first Dynamics 365 instance with no customizations at all, requiring a new approach that could be replicated for future upgrades and deployments.

When migrating ERPs, Umbra Cuscinetti and Linear Motion were introduced to the out-of-the-box Dynamics 365 version through the Alithya 365 DiscreteXpress deployment template. The template provides a set of data packages to assist with ERP migration, which provided the perfect environment for testing data and processes with minimal effort. The teams could use the template’s readymade data and preconfigured business processes to decide which test information they would need and what it would mean for their reporting. Alithya 365 DiscreteXpress enabled them to quickly pilot test their strategy numerous times and to better understand the platform before diving in head-first.

Now years after Umbra Cuscinetti and Linear Motion have gone live on their new out-of-the-box ERP, the teams are still leveraging the Xpress template to deploy Dynamics 365 at other north American divisions. Having a cookie-cutter approach to project management and a non-customized platform allows for faster deployments and continuously streamlines and integrates data across the global organization.

Joe Sheridan, IT Director, remarks, “As the company grows through acquisition and growth into other divisions, we will use the Xpress module to deploy quickly and help the team understand the new business process and how to use the system.”

So why wouldn’t you install a Vanilla ERP out of the box? What is stopping you?