Manufacturing and distribution companies well know that an ERP selection process is a complex endeavour with long-term strategic implications. It is also a project that comes with a certain amount of risk, and requires a significant amount of organisational resources, including time, money and people’s effort. As teams approach the evaluation and selection of a new system, they often run into the concepts of ‘Best of Breed’, vs ‘Best in Class’ ERP.
These concepts have been around a long time and still serve to confuse.
Defining Best of Breed ERP
Industry analysts define a best of breed system as the best system developed to address a specific niche or functional area. The application performs specialised functions better than an integrated system, such as standalone quality management or inventory tracking as an example. Best of breed systems are developed and sold by separate vendors.
A “Best of Breed” solution is often times the best choice if a company’s business requirements are so specific that a single ERP can’t address their unique set of business conditions.
Defining Best in Class
Best in Class ERP combines core functions of a manufacturing enterprise into a single, integrated enterprise-wide software suite. There is tight integration between functions, linking manufacturing, finance, supply chain management, quality, inventory, maintenance and other functions in a single universe.
ERP vendors from tier one, two or three develop and market integrated ERP offering the features and functions that best meet the needs of a specific industry.
The Pros and Cons
When evaluating these two different approaches, should a company implement multiple best-of-breed packages or pursue a single integrated ERP solution?
The up-side of single, standalone best of breed applications is that a focused set of features and functions handle specific functionality. Each department is independent in terms of their IT strategy, maintenance and upgrade schedule. Additional benefits include:
Flexible approach to managing system upgrades
Wide choice of specialised systems and vendors
Modular application maintenance
The downside of a Best of Breed approach are the issues associated with multiple systems, databases and vendors. Maintaining multiple systems provides little cross-connectivity, which creates maintenance and integration challenges. It’s complex and resource-draining for many companies.
By far the biggest benefit of a single, integrated Best in Class ERP suite is full data integration across functions. As manufacturing becomes more challenging and complex, best in class systems tightly link data and processes together cross-functionality. The primary pros include:
Single system implementation, single database and single supplier.
Standardised technology across the enterprise
More control of total cost
Improved end-to-end process support
The downside of a Best in Class approach is that very often, a single suite can’t adequately address specific core functions. We’ve seen limited functionality in some areas, including product lifecycle management and other engineering-related functions. Additional cons include:
Customisation is more difficult
Upgrades are more complex
Vendor visibility is a risk
Potentially less options when adding features and functions
Tied to one vendor for support and maintenance
Microsoft Dynamics can be configured to suit your business, whether you’re looking for a best of breed or best in class solution. Get in contact with us today on 0345 467 9950 or email email@example.com to discuss what would be best for your business.
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