We hope you had the chance to read our recent post on “How to choose an ERP for your omnichannel retail business.
Now that we’ve established what features your retail ERP should have, how do you go about successfully evaluating your chosen vendor or vendors?
As there are so many facets of your business that an ERP system needs to support, it’s going to require a significant amount of time to establish your needs and whether the system can support those needs.
This is where an RFP (Request for Proposal) comes in.
An RFP is essentially a list of requirements your business has for an ERP system, helping you to ensure your chosen vendors are being evaluated correctly and in line with what you really want.
As a starting point, the questions you document in your RFP should capture your requirements for each of these areas:
- Sales order management, payments & shipping
- Inventory & product management
- Purchase order management
- Sales channels
- Warehouse management
- Customer management
- 3PL & EDI
- System performance, data & security
- Implementation & business support
- Software support
Here are a few quick examples of questions you may want to ask to help get you started:
- Does your solution automatically sync orders for each of our listed sales channels?
- Will the inventory be automatically allocated upon order download?
- Do you support partial fulfillment, back orders and drop-ship ordering?
- Are inventory levels tracked in real-time?
- Are inventory values tracked in real-time (including asset values and cost prices)?
- Are multiple warehouses supported with their own inventory numbers?
Although preparing this RFP is going to take a fair amount of time, you’ll ensure that you won’t be dazzled by exciting ERP features you’ll never actually use, and instead, your vendor discussions will be centered solely around what you need and how the vendor is going to facilitate that need.
Finding the perfect retail ERP system can be tricky. These features we’ve listed are all ones that we think systems like this should have as standard.
But remember that a solution, especially one as important as ERP, is also more than just a myriad of features you need.
A truly great retail ERP solution will be designed, implemented and supported by those who really are in the know when it comes to retail. So remember to include some questions within your vendor discussions around how the system is supported and who designs, implements and supports it. Do they really understand retail, and thus, your business?
Justine Cross is the Content Marketing Executive at Brightpearl - a cloud-based back office solution for retailers and wholesalers. Brightpearl allows you to provide a truly omnichannel experience for your customers, whilst unifying all of your sales channels, inventory, accounting, CRM, suppliers, fulfillment, warehouse management, reporting and POS in one single automated system.