Getting Answers: Asking the Right Questions about Fabrication ERP

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For many fabrication businesses, back-office software is often just something that is “there.” It satisfies your basic business needs, offers finance professionals information, and may facilitate a few processes. However, much of these only meet your needs for so long before they become a hindrance. Whether your business has grown or your software has aged, you may be at a crossroads, asking yourself, “do we need new software?”

As you look towards one of the more stressful experiences your business will face, you may turn to a familiar face—your old vendor. You’ve worked with them for years or decades and they make fabrication ERP. Why not stick with them?

If you are in the market for new ERP for your fabrication business, you may want to ask yourself the following questions first.

Shouldn’t We Work with a ‘Traditional’ Fabrication ERP Vendor?

Fabrication Work

Before answering this question, here’s one for you: Can your customers work with a ‘traditional’ manufacturer? No. They turn to you to produce something that can handle their unique needs. You know that one-size-fits-all just doesn’t work for fabrication. The same goes for fabrication ERP.

Over the past few decades, ERP software has evolved in a variety of ways. Some vendors have diversified, others have improved their integration capabilities, and others still have focused on the opposite—opted to focus on a single niche.

The fabrication industry was one of those niches. Manufacturing-focused ERP could almost deliver. Project-focused ERP could almost deliver. However, at the time your company last purchased ERP, there were only a few solutions that were available to operate in the same way your fabrication business does.

While these vendors offered the best possible solution for your business in 2009, 2007, or 2003, it’s easy for a vendor to get complacent or myopic when they are the ‘industry standard.’ Many of these have made slight improvements to the software and interface but haven’t done much to improve customer experience or provide innovations needed for the fabrication business of 2019.

Wouldn’t We Need to Pay a Lot of Money for Customization and Integration?

Customization and integration have long been considered “luxuries” in traditional ERP systems. These options promised one-size-fits-all functionality, integrating only with themselves and maybe applications like CAD, but not providing the flexibility and choice you need.

Traditional ERP suites were monolithic in nature, and required these costly customizations, meaning that industry-specific solutions clearly had the upper-hand for process-centric businesses. In the postmodern multi-cloud world, cloud ERP systems provide core functionalities and serve as a system-of-record for a collection of applications that can deliver industry-specific or general functionality depending on your business needs and often includes easier ERP implementations and user-friendly cloud ERP software.

Today’s ERP solutions are different. Built as a hybrid of best-of-breed and suite products, “Postmodern ERP” products offer a strong core that allows for affordable customization and integration as tight or as loose as you need, all while maintaining data integrity.

Our Vendor Says They Have a Cloud Product, Can’t We Just Go with Them?

If you are looking to take your business into the cloud (and there are good reasons fabrication companies may want to do so), your current vendor may tell you “we have a cloud platform.”

However, you may want to ask what they mean when they say “cloud.” Too often, traditional vendors will re-purpose an application and position it as cloud, when really, it’s just their way of ‘putting makeup on a pig.’ These fake cloud products can’t deliver the value you expect or deserve from true cloud solutions.

True cloud solutions were build in and built for the cloud, meaning that they are designed to offer anytime, anywhere access from a browser, high levels of security, easy upgrades, and flexible deployment. While many fake cloud products promise a lot, true cloud solutions like Acumatica deliver.

Acumatica Cloud ERP: Fabrication-Ready

When it comes to ERP, fabrication businesses can’t rely on a disparate, siloed set of applications only accessible if your people are in the office. High pressures and higher demands require you to find a solution built for today and tomorrow. Built in the cloud and ready for customization, Acumatica brings you everything from project management to materials planning, improved budgeting, planning, and modeling, adding things like job costing, subcontracts, and retainage.

At Crestwood, we have the skills, scope, and experience to customize Acumatica for your fabrication business, leveraging the modules offered by the software including Acumatica Project Management and Acumatica Construction Edition to deliver a product built to handle your unique needs. If you are looking to take your fabrication business further in 2019, 2020, and beyond, we’d love to talk. Get to know more about our business and contact us for a free consultation.

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