Whether you’re in transport management, logistics, warehouse management, wholesale distribution, or manufacturing, there’s a common assumption many customers make when undertaking their ERP software selection process. They assume an off-the-shelf enterprise resource planning software package will meet all of their needs.

It’s an understandable conclusion. Added to this, most businesses translate customisation to expense, however in our almost forty years of experience, we maintain that every organisation is unique.

While customisation can cost more than an off-the-shelf solution, a return on investment approach is useful when considering how bespoke your ERP software solution needs to be.

For example, customising your ERP software can provide many long-term benefits for your company, such as:

  • an opportunity for your business to cement your competitive advantage
  • lower operating costs
  • productivity improvements
  • better informed staff, customers and suppliers
  •  improved planning processes

The difference between configuration and customisation in ERP software

It’s worth noting the difference between configuration and customisation.

Every ERP software provider will allow for configuration during the implementation phase. It’s a normal process all providers will go through to set up the software, and includes setting parameters, fields and workflows. Put simply, configuration doesn’t involve making changes to the source code.

So then why customise your ERP software?

Every business is unique

As we’ve already mentioned, in our experience, every organisation is different so quite often a “one size fits all’ approach may not meet the functional requirements of your business.

We are used to flexible technologies

It’s the age we live in that we personalise, individualise, customise – we have grown accustomed to it! To some extent, this applies in a business sense too. From the outset, companies should evaluate whether a flexible approach to their enterprise resource planning software is required.

Customisation can cement your competitive advantage

Given it’s our differences that separate us from our competition, it makes sense to look at the ways you can leverage your competitive advantage when you’re implementing an ERP system. If every business in your industry implemented the same off-the-shelf software you’d all be doing the same thing and there would be little opportunity for differentiation.

Is customising ERP software for everyone?

Not necessarily. There are some downsides to customisation that need to be considered.

Development costs are obviously one aspect to be taken into account. The higher the degree of complexity involved in the customisation, the more labour intensive the process becomes and changes to the source code will be required.

That being said, Infocomm is a custom development house and we’ve built our business on creating customised solutions, so we have developed expertise and cost efficiencies in this area.

How much customisation do I need in my ERP software?

Infocomm believes software is more powerful when it’s paired with solid partnerships with our customers. This means we work with each of our clients to help identify what level of customisation is required. Often we see a lack of clear business requirements masquerading as need for customisation—it’s actually a pretty common problem.

By taking a step back to clearly define your company-wide requirements at the outset will ensure only customisation that is necessary is implemented, instead of a more reactionary approach.

Need advice on customisation? Contact Infocomm here.