Selecting an ERP: Spotlight on a Crucial Consideration

  • July 1, 2024
  • Article

Mark Stewart, Director of Business Development – Frameworks

Incorporating technology into your business is essential for keeping up with customer demands. When selecting an ERP, many people focus on functionality, which is important to find the right fit for your business. However, another major factor to be considered in the selection process is usability.

Usability refers to how easy and convenient a software is to use, based on its design and accessibility. When software processes are intuitive, it speeds up the training of new employees and your customer service.

One of the common challenges we’ve heard from many of our customers is navigating the labor shortage. When business starts to ramp up, it becomes even more important that transactions are done quickly and orders are filled on time. Managers may need more staff or seasonal employees to keep the business running as usual. When new employees are still in training, this can slow down the transaction process and put stress on staff to keep up with demand.

Here are three ways to evaluate the usability of a new ERP.

First, customization. The ability to control users’ dashboards and hide buttons they don’t need eliminates the opportunity for errors. It also protects your data so you can make it visible only as needed. If someone at the counter is only handling transactions, hiding other screens, like Purchasing and Dispatch, reduces confusion and will simplify the learning process.

Second, consider the look and feel of the various screens. Do all the screens use the same layout and navigation path? If there’s a common look and feel across all screens and modules, employees can use the software more easily. (ex. If you can successfully navigate one tab for Point of Sale, then you can navigate another tab for Inventory.) Use of colors and fonts can communicate information at a glance. For example, color-coded fields provide quick visibility to inventory that is low in stock, or items listed as credit. Images and graphics provide tremendous value.  A bonus if you can see pictures of the inventory you are looking for! This greatly decreases opportunities for error by allowing new employees to reference a picture and verify the correct inventory is picked.

Third, ease of administration. Onboarding new employees means your system administrator will need to set up new users. A quick set-up and log-in process will save a lot of time for both the management and the entire organization when accessing the system every day. And a simple process for an administrator to change user permissions allows for flexibility when employees change roles or need to fill in for a short-staffed sales counter. Also, a web-based software that can be accessed from anywhere, on any device, makes the login process simple and easy for new or seasonal employees.

With ERP software that can be easily managed and navigated, your new employees will have a smooth training process. Your staff can begin working sooner and process orders quickly, providing quality service for customers.

This article originally appeared in the publication Lumber Co-Operator.

Mark Stewart is the Director of Business Development for Frameworks at DMSi. He has over 20 years of experience in the building materials industry, including 12 years of field experience in Operations.


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