ERP Templates: Simplifying Your Search for Enterprise Resource Planning Solutions

Choosing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform is no small task. You need to make sure it meets your core functional requirements and supports essential business processes, such as inventory management and project management, all while aligning with your implementation methodology.

With so many variables at play, it is no wonder that ERP implementation projects often go off the rails and over budget. But the good news is that you can cut through the noise by using ERP templates: effective checklists that help you compare your needs against the features offered by a prospective solution. 

Understanding ERP Templates

ERP templates are pre-configured, customizable frameworks that help in the planning, implementation selection phases, and post-deployment optimization of ERP systems

Not to be confused with presentation model design templates, ERP templates simplify the process of setting up an ERP system and tailoring it to your unique needs. They act as starting points, reducing the time and effort needed to choose a service provider and configure your ERP system

Why Businesses Use ERP Templates 

As mentioned above, ERP templates help compare your company’s needs to the features offered by prospective service providers. You can quickly compare options, eliminate unsuitable solutions, and accelerate your search process. 

Once you’ve created your template, you can input data specific to each ERP solution and compose a presentation for stakeholders. A template visualizes the features and capabilities of multiple platforms so you can weigh the pros and cons. 

Key Components of Effective Software 

The features and components section are the most important aspects of ERP templates. With that said, below is a list of general “must-have” features, as well as functionalities that you may like to have but can live without if they are too cost-prohibitive: 

Industry-Specific Tools

Exemplary ERP software must offer functionality that caters to your industry. Whether that’s manufacturing, healthcare, retail, or another vertical altogether, your template should highlight relevant modules and workflows that will help your business be more efficient. 

You’ll also need a platform with core tools, such as financial management, sales records auditing, and human resources. Find a service provider that offers a modular framework that will allow you to choose the specific combination of applications that suit your business needs. Modular frameworks cut down on waste, as you won’t have to pay for applications you don’t need or won’t use. 

A User-Friendly Layout

High user adoption is key to achieving a strong return on investment (ROI) and condensed time to value. If you want users to embrace your new ERP system, it needs an accessible, easy-to-learn layout and interface. 

Therefore, when creating your ERP templates, include some features that you consider to be important to the user experience. You can stay high-level here and mention things like a user-friendly menu bar and search tools. 

Integrated Management Capabilities

ERP solutions should integrate with the systems and software you are already using. Many top platforms offer out-of-the-box integrations, which are relatively easy to set up and launch. 

Even if a solution is lacking in the integrations department, it may not be a deal breaker. Nevertheless, you should prioritize platforms that offer easy integrations, as you’ll be able to implement them more efficiently. 

Exporting Features for Presentations and Reporting

The best ERP solutions don’t just consolidate your data; they make it more accessible and usable with analytics tools. You should be able to create sample presentations, generate real-time reports, and more, all within your ERP software. 

When making your templates, list the common types of reports you use to support decision-making processes. Then determine whether the ERP you are considering offers that level of reporting capabilities

Using ERP Templates: A Step-by-Step Approach 

ERP templates are just that—templates. In other words, they are not tailored to the unique needs of your company, but they can provide a good starting point as you search for ERP software. 

With that in mind, let’s consider a few other things you need to do first to accelerate your ERP selection process and get more out of your template:

Review the Needs of Your Company

Before you do anything else, conduct a thorough analysis of your business processes and requirements, outlining the shortcomings of your current tech and making a list of the challenges you hope to solve with an ERP. After you’ve done that, you’ll find it much easier to narrow down your search to a handful of platforms. 

Select the Right Template

Next, choose an ERP template that already covers a lot of your industry and business-specific needs. No template will be perfect, of course, but you want to minimize the need for customization and retooling. 

Customize the Template

On the subject of customization, that’s the next thing on your to-do list. Make the template your own so that it effectively outlines the features, tools, and needs of your organization. 

Software Selection

Use your template to evaluate software solutions. After you’ve visualized the features and capabilities of several top ERPs using your template, it will be easy to eliminate most prospects. Ultimately, you should be left with only a handful of options, which you can then present to stakeholders. 

Training and Implementation

After you’ve chosen your software, train your staff in preparation for the implementation. Rolling out an ERP system and configuring it for your business often takes months, which means proper planning is key to avoiding any surprises and sticking with your original deployment deadline. 

Continuous Evaluation and Optimization

After your implementation, continually evaluate the performance of your ERP system against your business objectives. Be prepared to make adjustments and optimizations as your company evolves. 

ERP Template Best Practices

Choosing and building an ERP template can be tricky, albeit not nearly as difficult as attempting to select ERP software without one. 

Below are some best practices that will make choosing and implementing an ERP template a hassle-free process:

Start With a Comprehensive Checklist

Although ERP templates and checklists are often mentioned in the same breath, they are not one and the same. Generally, ERP templates are far more detailed than a checklist. On the other hand, a checklist is typically a foundational element of your ERP template. 

Starting with a good checklist can be incredibly helpful, and there are several free, downloadable ERP checklists out there that will break down essential features and capabilities for you, like customer relationship management, inventory management, and accounting.

Involve Key Stakeholders

Get stakeholders involved early and often. The sooner they are brought into the search process, the lower the chance that you’ll have to drastically alter your template or search criteria later. Use their input to ensure that the template adequately addresses the needs and concerns of different areas of your business. 

Seek Outside Support

Don’t hesitate to seek support from ERP experts or consultants. Their experience can be incredibly valuable in selecting and customizing the right platform for your business. They may even be able to provide a customized template for your business to aid in the search for a new ERP. 

Fuel Your Company’s Growth with a Customized ERP

Finding quality ERP templates can make life easier as you search for a new ERP platform, but adopting a sound template is just the beginning. The ultimate goal is to find an ERP that delivers a strong ROI and condensed time to value.

To further your understanding of ERP trends and history, download this short eBook on Composable ERP.