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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Part III: Your company needs an ERP system. Where do you start?

A Four-Part Series that will take you through the basics of evaluating and selecting the right ERP system for your organization.

Part III: Start Your Vendor Search & Schedule Demos

Armed with your goals and some basic performance metrics on your business, you can now begin your search for an ERP vendor. A good place to start is using Internet search engines- search for ERP products by using keywords such as “ERP Systems” and “manufacturing business software.”  Another place to look online is software evaluation websites such as Ideally, you should initially choose 5 to 10 vendors that you believe have an ERP Software System to address your needs.

The next step is to contact each ERP vendor on your list. Email is probably the best method of communication because it allows you to be most consistent in your message, and also allows the vendor recipient to pass all the information you provide to the appropriate person in the vendor organization. In your email, let them know that you are heading up a search for an ERP solution, then provide the information you have already defined:
  •  Your business model
  • Approximate number of users
  • The size of your business (revenue and  number of employees)
  • Desired Software platform
  • Your budget for software and implementation services
  • The top three to five goals that the software needs to address

Ask the vendor if they have a possible solution for you. If the response is negative, ask if they can recommended another vendor or solution. For any vendor claiming they have a solution that fits your company, require that vendor to provide 5 - 10 references.  Now, use the vendor’s reference list to find out, in advance, the ERP experiences of some of their users. 

You may want only 4 or 6 possible vendors before you start the next step, which involves spending time with each vendor. The main goal in each step of this process is to be thorough, so that your team can make educated decisions as you navigate through the selection process. To get an idea of the look and feel of each ERP System, you may start with online overview product demonstrations (demos). But the best results will come with two-step process.  The first step:  Invite the vendor to make a discovery visit prior to a demo presentation. This will give them an opportunity to learn about your business and understand your goals, so that they can focus the demo on your needs. Step 2: Schedule the demo within 2 weeks of the discovery visit.

It is important that you have your whole selection team at every demo.  Make sure to designate a couple team members to be responsible for taking good notes.  You’ll be getting a lot of information at each demo, and the different ERP Systems will likely all start to blend together - good notes will help you differentiate between the vendors. In addition to finding software that fits, you need to get to know the company that will help you implement. 

Be sure to discuss each vendor’s solution as a group within 24 hours of the presentation. It is important to document everyone’s responses, and keep a running demo-to-date ranking of which solution is in first place, second place, etc.  As a Reminder: The only criterion for the ranking is how well the vendor handled your top three to five business goals.  After the first round of demos, it is time to reduce your list to the Top 3 (or less) vendors.

Check out the whitepaper ‘How to Start Down the ERP Selection Path’ for more tips

Did you miss Part I & Part II of the series?  
View Part I: Get Executive Buy-In & Form an ERP Selection Committee
View Part II: Define Your Business Issues & Set Your Objectives 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Speed up Infor VISUAL loading times with an INI file

Did you know that you can speed up VISUAL loading times by copying NETHASP.INI to the EXE folder?

First of all, we must explain HASP.  HASP stands for 'Hardware Against Software Piracy.' A HASP dongle is usually a small USB hardware device that is connected to a PC to act as a software key, allowing an application to run. 

NETHASP.INI is a small INI file that is not installed by default.  When configured correctly, it prevents the VISUAL applications from checking for a HASP device on the PC. Because it prevents checking for a HASP device, the INI file can speed up the loading time for the main VISUAL Application menu, as well as individual VISUAL Applications. 

You can get the NETHASP.INI file from Infor Xtreme, KB 738703; or create with Notepad.exe (see graphic below). 

After downloading the file, copy it to the VISUAL Executables folder either on the network file server, or to each client PC if installed locally. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Infor VISUAL Customer Community Page

It's not always easy staying up-to-date on VISUAL manufacturing updates and news.  That's why Infor created a new customer community page on their website.

On the new community page, you can find details on the latest release and other resources to help you access support and education, get involved in customer events, upgrade to the latest release, and more.  You can also register for upcoming webinars and find on-demand webcasts of webinars that you may have missed.

What are you waiting for? Go check it out!