19th September 2017

Buyer’s Guide – Searching for a solution

Odds are when you are looking for a software solution for your business there are specific issues that you want to address be it traceability, increasing efficiency, reducing your paper flow etc. Only to find that searching for the right system throws up a new set of issues you don’t have the need or time for. With that in mind here are a few pointers to make that decision somewhat easier. Determining which package is right for you is imperative as the system you implement should have an impact on your future business performance.

1. Fit for purpose

A fairly obvious start but the software marketplace is saturated with many overlapping solutions that many providers apply to multiple sectors such as manufacturing, distribution etc. It makes sense to narrow your search to providers who are experts in your industry, preferably a system that has evolved along-side the Food Industry where the 24 hour, 365 day a year nature is understood and accounted for within the systems capabilities. Look for providers whose key / majority accounts are reputable businesses within your sector and get in touch. Good providers will encourage you to speak to their customers if the product is as good as advertised.

2. Ready to go “out of the box”

If you pick a complete business management solution ensure that it is just that; complete. The solution should be able to cater for at least 95% of your daily operations out of the box. If you have any bespoke requirements that fall outside of your chosen packages capabilities seek clarification from the provider on how the system can cater for it. Most providers will work with you to find a solution to whatever it may be that is not covered in the standard package either through a bespoke development or by communicating with current systems you may have in place. Please note this will vary from supplier to supplier.

3. Flexibility and Futureproof

Most packages in the industry are designed in a modular basis to allow end users to choose which parts of the system are relevant to them. When reviewing modules of a solution ensure that you are signing up for those which cover your operations and not those which don’t.

This can have an impact on your initial investment.

Your chosen provider should be able to provide you with full clarification of which parts of a package are relevant to your business as well as what other modules are there to cater for which leads us to our next point ensure the system is future proof.  Speak with your provider and discuss what plans they have to evolve and support the system. Providers should have intricate knowledge of your industry and where it is headed to ensure the system is ready for any changes to what is a pretty volatile market. Again speak with current long standing sites who have been using the package to see how support is handled.

4. Partnership

When implementing a new solution to manage your business you are not only choosing a product but hopefully a long-term business partner. Be open to a working relationship with your chosen provider. Many will work with you to address any future un for seen challenges that may arise. Engineers from your provider should be knowledgeable and able to add value to your business through installation, support and innovative thinking based on wider industry knowledge. Use this resource as you would if the individual was directly employed by your business.

5. Other points to be aware of

When viewing the system ensure your demonstration is thorough and detailed. Ask as many questions as you feel is necessary and be confident you have left no stone unturned to allow you to make the most informed decision when comparing systems from multiple providers. Visit/speak with other businesses which mimic as closely as possible your own operations so you can get an unbiased opinion on a system’s capabilities. Remember that you are investing in your business and its future. Cost isn’t everything, set targets on what you want to achieve by implementing a new system and measure those against your initial investment to help with the decision-making process. Embrace whatever system it is you implement to ensure you get the maximum return on your investment.

At Datos we have been supplying software solutions to the Food Industry for 26 years. If you’re in the market for a new system speak to the experts today. Send an enquiry to sales@datos.co.uk or give us a call on 028 38 362 002