4 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing Supplier Management Software

  • By Mark Hudson

    Testing Software

    Choosing supplier management software is a tricky endeavor. On the one hand, you want to choose something that is quick, comprehensive, and can quickly give you vendor information and compliance updates with little effort. On the other hand, you want a software program that is capable of digging deep into analysis and helping you find areas you can save, processes you can streamline, and redundancies you can eliminate. Balancing the two can be an issue, and frequently, trying to achieve that balance leads to the following mistakes.

    Jumping Headlong without Testing

    Too often, one element of a software program satisfies the decision-maker or makers, and the software is purchased without fully understanding its capabilities and limitations. For example, supplier management software that handles contact information may not do enough analysis at the factory compliance level itself, so half the battle of streamlining supplier management processes is lost before it starts. Or, it might be an amazing internal supplier manager, but not function well from an overall purchase order and production management standpoint.

    The only way to avoid a rash decision that leaves some with a bad taste in their mouths is to test the software in real time. That means coordinating with your vendor to be allowed to put the software through its paces before signing any type of agreement. If you buy the first package you test, that part is easy, but if you test 10 different programs, it can be costly and time-consuming. However, it’s worth the effort. You don’t want to get a year into a new software package and have its deficiencies lead to employee dissatisfaction or management mistakes.

    Choosing Software That Can’t Be Modified

    This is another problem that is the result of rushing into a decision. It’s highly unlikely, if not impossible, that you will choose a program that doesn’t need modification. This is because no two industries are exactly alike. The package you choose must be able to be modified and done so fairly easily by your internal development team or a team from your vendor. If the software is so proprietary that modifications are strongly discouraged, prohibitively expensive, or impossible, you should consider another software package unless all your other needs and expectations are met and exceeded.

    Ignoring Costs

    Sometimes, the best software program available is just too expensive. Too often, though, managers fall in love with it and push to adopt it, ignoring the cost of ownership and development. That almost always ends up being an issue when budgets are being formulated. Before any software is even considered, a budget should be set, and no deviation allowed unless it’s fully considered and discussed by management. Software programs, especially those that have to be modified can very quickly turn into a money pit. The only way to avoid that is to set parameters in terms of funding and then stick to them.

    Set Budget

    Preparing Insufficiently

    The one truism of software implementation is that there will be a sizable contingent of employees that will fight the change as much as possible. Some people can tolerate change, but most hate it. When introducing an enterprise-wide software solution, the only way to head off complaints is to go through a testing and conversion preparation phase to address all reasonable employee concerns before implementation.

    These four mistakes all can be avoided if the supplier management software implementation is properly managed as a project and planned out months in advance. To learn more about supplier management solutions, check out CBX Software.

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