As you know, ERPs software is becoming an essential facet of Finance Digital Transformation. In fact, it is one of the most important investments during Finance Transformation implementation. Our lens today will focus on the different ERP systems currently on the market servicing a range of different industries.

There is plenty of articles and software reviews websites that have listed the best ERP software for this year. However, and although some articles are very useful, they skim past the fact that each ERP system offers a set of unique features to distinguish itself from the rest, and as such, suits some industries more than others.

A manufacturing industry might not have the same needs as a council, which will differ as well from a real estate company, etc.

Therefore, instead of listing the best ERP regardless of their application, it might be more appropriate to list the best ERP software per industry.

In case you want to read more about ERP software before starting this list, we suggest you read this article first: Why ERPs are important for your business?

Almost every industry needs ERP solutions for better business planning and operations. We have decided to provide 3 different ERPs for each industry:

Retail

Public Sector

Education

Healthcare

Construction

Manufacturing

 

For each industry, we tried to provide information about the pros and cons of each solution as well as the key features. Some ERPs might suit bigger companies while others are directly targeting small to mid-sized businesses.

RETAIL INDUSTRY

 

 

 

Although ERP systems are more and more targeting small businesses, fresh retailers don’t need an ERP at first, especially if you have only one branch or two, unless they are substantial in size…

As a retailer, once you open five or so branches, an ERP systems can provide you with a unified and more comprehensive solution that will help you manage your operations simultaneously.

For retailers, specific ERPs are available and solve particular needs such as inventory management, CRM integration, retail workflow automation, omnichannel capacities, accounting, integrated POS, etc.

TRADEGECKO

 

 

 

 

 

An Australian based company, TradeGecko is a powerful inventory and order management software built for multichannel brands, high growth eCommerce and wholesale. The software provides automation for omnichannel operations, intelligent reporting and seamless integration. This tool is exclusively targeting retailers/wholesalers and has, as a result, very interesting features for this industry.

KEY FEATURES:

– Complete Inventory Management: Comes with key features such as inventory control, warehouse management, order management, inventory optimisation, inventory management report

– Multi-Channel Sales: The software provides a central hub to manage inventory and orders for all your sales channels

– Batch and Expiry Tracking: Capacity of monitoring expiring stocks and fulfill orders using First in First Out (FIFO) logic.

PROS:

  • Streamlined user friendly-Interface
  • Seamless Integration
  • Exclusively focused on retailers
  • Keep track of complex items and variants
  • Good customer experience overall
  • Cloud-based

CONS:

  • Somewhat expensive for small businesses
  • Reporting can be difficult for new users
  • Smartphone app limited

Cin7 is the automated inventory management platform for brands with revenue of over 1$ million. The ERP synchronizes stock with sales and orders across every physical and online sales channel.

As the image suggests below, CIN7 centralise inventory, order workflows, stock locations and sales channels in one solution that connects products to customers.

KEY FEATURES:

– Tracking & Control: The tool provides a set of efficient tracking features including barcode inventory, batch, FIFO, and serial tracking.

– Complete Amazon Integration: Manage inventory and automate order management for any amazon channel.

– Built-in Point of Sale: Omnichannel fulfillment, customer rewards, full-featured inventory. Overall, CIN7 provides a strong POS capability.

PROS:

  • Powerful reporting capabilities
  • Extensive Integration capacity
  • Amazon integration
  • Great visibility

CONS:

  • Lack of customer support
  • Long implementation
  • Light CRM
  • Can be expensive for small businesses

Most certainly less famous than NetSuite or SageX3, Tally.ERP 9 is India’s leading business management software for GST, accounting, inventory, and payroll. This ERP is a reliable solution for small to mid-sized companies.

This ERP is used by nearly 2 million businesses in more than 100 countries.

KEY FEATURES:

– Flexible Purchase and Sales Management: The software is designed with complete flexibility to suit different purchase and sales processes, required by the business

– Efficient Inventory Management Features: From defining unlimited groups, categories and locations to have the ability to record the entire cycle of manufacturing activity, Tally provides a wide range of features when it comes to inventory management.

– Analytics: Insightful business reports about your financials or inventory are available and will help you assess performance and forecast casualties.

– Mobile friendly & Remote Access: Tally enables users to access all the information via any device, browser, and location

PROS:

  • Easy to use
  • Good customisation
  • Cheaper than bigger competitors
  • Accessible remotely

CONS:

  • Some users pointed out the tool required some initial training
  • Customer support sometimes lacks
  • Still require manual entry while other option might provide automation
  • Outdated user interface

PUBLIC SECTOR

 

Public sector entities, no less than companies, encounter the same issue when it comes to delivering better customer service, streamline processes across multiple departments and create a more transparent environment.

However, the public sector often faces other challenges such as budget restriction and increased service-level demands, creating a complex set of stringent requirements that complexify the research for a next ERP.

Due to legal, regulatory, and policy standards that are not applicable in the private sector, we have selected the ERPs that suit the most specific requirements of public sector entities.

 Well known in the ERP industry, Infor is a major player with more than 17000 employees worldwide providing diverse services to more than 60 million users.

The company offers a broad range of cloud-based solutions for many industries including the public sector since 2015 with the launch of Infor CloudSuite Public Sector. The solution has been designed to match the regulatory needs of civic and government work posts according to the companies specific requirements.

KEY FEATURES:

– Human Resources & Payroll: The tool provides all the capabilities for human resource management, payroll, and employee and manager self-service

– Community Development & Regulation: With back office and front office functionality, the ERP system has a built-in customer relationship management feature as well as call center and dynamic portal functionality

– Public Safety: Comes with a workforce and learning management, emergency dispatch software and Infor Hansen add on, an Asset Management System very popular among numbers of councils.

PROS:

  • Customisable and flexible
  • Good financial visibility
  • Experienced customer support
  • User-Friendly
  • Smooth migration from on-premise to cloud-based

CONS:

  • You might need an IT guy to implement the entire system
  • Human Resource could need some updates
  • Financial features overall are limited

Dynamics 365 is another mastodon in the ERP industry with solutions for almost all industries including the public sector. The software offers a wide range of possibilities from service, operation and HR.

KEY FEATURES:

– Strong Customer Service Capabilities: The software comes with a great variety of features to improve customer service. Features such as personalised messages via chat or SMS, reporting, tracking system are the most used.

– Human Resources: Dynamics 365 provides an interesting HR program structure that enables the user to create compliant and competitive programs that meet changing global regulations coupled with compensation and benefits programs, and configurable self-service enrolment tools.

– Extra Features outside the specific need of the public sector: Marketing, Service, Finance, CRM are other features accessible with this solution which might not be useful for some institutions, but which could be a game-changer for others.

PROS:

  • Extremely customisable
  • Easy to integrate with other solutions
  • Everything in one place
  • Great customer support

CONS:

  • Steep learning Curve
  • Needs some improvement with the financial module
  • Not inexpensive

Smaller than its competitor mentioned above, New World ERP provides an easy to use ERP suite encompassing financials, human resources, utility management, and community development. It is designed to meet the needs of various public sector organisations via fast access information, simplified reporting, and time-saving workflow to help increase financial transparency, make informed business decisions, and ensure accountability.

KEY FEATURES:

– Community Development: This ERP provides a comprehensive parcel management system with automated tasks, streamlined licensing and tracking capacity including blueprints, maps, permits, code enforcement activities, and historical information.

– EnerGov: Comes with an interesting civic services solution. From planning, permitting, and licensing to asset management and citizen requests, the platform uses GIS (Geographic Information System) to automate and connect critical processes, improve communication, and increase productivity from desk to field.

– Human Capital Management: Similar to the other applications, the software provides recruitment as well as compensation, training and development plans.

PROS:

  • A cheaper alternative in comparison to “bigger players”
  • Specifically targeting local governments
  • Functional budget report
  • Very easy to use

CONS:

  • Some features such as contract and grants require an update
  • Lack of customisable reports
  • Support can be slow
  • The software is not up to date with the latest trends in technology
  • Might better suit companies based in the US

EDUCATION

 

The Education Sector is not exempt from using ERPs. In fact, the industry has become more and more competitive and as such, had to adapt to new technologies.

Some ERPs’ features don’t apply to this sector as higher educational institutions have specific needs such as admission management, grades and mark sheet record or class management albeit common financial management and inventory management are still vital.

That’s why, for higher educational systems, not every ERP, even the most popular, is the best option.

Built for higher education, this ERP has been adopted by more than 2,500 institutions in more than 50 countries enhancing operations and enriching the experience for over 20 million students.

KEY FEATURES:

– Ellucian Banner Student: This feature brings student data together to support registration, enrolment, grading, advising, and of course planning in a user-friendly framework. Also accessible via mobile.

– Ellucian PowerCampus: Ellucian eases the communication between educational institutions and students by providing a complete management system to attract, engage and retain. Comes with reporting and analytics tools.

– Marketing & Communication tools: Alongside the ERP’s core functionalities, the software provides marketing and communication capabilities to create unique and personalised outreach and remarketing campaigns to recruit students and corporate partners

PROS:

  • Efficient financial capabilities
  • Specifically created for educational institutions
  • Good customer support
  • Mobile Responsive

CONS:

  • Lack of integration
  • UI/UX could feel outdated for some
  • Can be difficult to use and navigate at first
  • Cost

TechnologyOne is an Australian enterprise software company and is one of the leaders in the ERP industry. In the past years, the company has diversified its portfolio thanks to its new approach to educational institutions. Lately, Curtin University, one of the top-ranked universities globally signed a 3 years SaaS agreement to allow TechOne to digital transform its administrative and student management processes for more than 56,000 students and 4,000 staff.

KEY FEATURES:

– OneEducation: The ERP provides an entire solution encompassing student administration, property and campus services, human resource and payroll management, research management and, finance and budgeting.

– Saas Capabilities: TechnologyOne is a SaaS ERP using the cloud which reduces IT costs on the client-side, ensures a real-time update and provides a more flexible and responsive framework.

– Full ERP functions: The software provides solutions for a wide range of industry which educational institutions can also tap in and leverage as extra tools including capital planning, enterprise budgeting, and facilities management.

PROS:

  • Updates delivered at no additional cost
  • Strong holistic solution
  • Great UI design

CONS:

  • Most clients are from Australia or New Zealand
  • Accounts Payable feature limited

NetSuite provides ERP and CRM functions in one solution. It is a horizontal package designed for an extensive range of industries, including educational institutions. The solution is highly customisable and easy to use. Like the previous solutions, the software is cloud-based allowing for real-time updates. This solution would suit institutions already using education software and which are looking to upgrade their existing structure.

KEY FEATURES:

– Comprehensive accounting and finance: The solution provides you with everything you need to establish efficient processes and gain transparency of business operations. In addition to standard general ledger functionality, it also allows multi-currency support.

– CRM functions: Comes with an integrated CRM allowing you to manage the entire lead-to-cash cycle with a single unified set of tools.

– Real-time business intelligence: NetSuite empowers companies with reporting and analytics features allowing them to create reports and dashboards that combine operational, financial data and KPI’s for each department, locations, etc.

PROS:

  • Highly customisable
  • Good customer service
  • A very large spectrum of functionalities
  • Great reporting tools

CONS:

  • Steep learning curve – can become quite complex
  • Can be expensive for some companies
  • You might need someone to implement it for you
  • Deployment can take some time depending on your needs

HEALTHCARE

 

It shouldn’t be surprising that the healthcare industry is using the latest technology in their service. The industry is actually at the forefront of any innovation and is currently investing a lot of resources into blockchain technology, AI and digital transformation. As a result, healthcare providers have a lot of options when it comes to choosing an ERP system.

With more than 40% of market share as ERP vendors in healthcare, Infor ERP is the leader in the industry. Their CloudSuite HealthCare is a complete set of solutions unique to healthcare, including finance, planning, supply chain, human capital, and asset management.

KEY FEATURES:

– Support for healthcare-specific business processes: Including, tracking and validating clinical competencies and job-specific reviews, patient charge documentation, patient-floor supply reordering

– Analytics for Healthcare: Comes with a set of analytical tools to help you understand your operational performance hot spots and move beyond data sharing and analysis.

– Enterprise Asset Management feature: Holistic capability allowing you to streamline all the facets of capital asset life cycle management, including work order management, inventory control, preventive maintenance and much more.

PROS:

  • Fast capabilities
  • One stop shop
  • Built-in support
  • Great reporting tools

CONS:

  • A bit complex for some users
  • HR features could be improved

SAP is a European multinational software corporation especially known for its ERP software. The company has over 425,000 customers in over 180 countries. Their clients in the healthcare industry are the like of Bayer or Sigma Healthcare.

KEY FEATURES:

– Internet of Things (IoT): SAP provides a cutting-edge IoT technology allowing infrastructure to connect assets, people, and processes based on real-time intelligence from digital IoT platform services and sensor data.

– Cloud and Data Platform: The software enables intelligent data management coupled with limitless analytics capabilities.

– Business Analytics: Comes with a cloud solution for business intelligence and collaborative enterprise planning, augmented with the power of predictive analytics and machine learning technology.

PROS:

  • High-end technology such as machine-learning, AI, predictive analytics
  • Very efficient modules
  • Great for multinational companies
  • Great tool for a holistic digital transformation

CONS:

  • Not accessible for small companies as their modules are very expensive
  • The steep learning curve for some

Oracle healthcare comes second in the top ERP vendors for hospitals with 33% of market share.

Overall, the Oracle solutions enable healthcare payers, providers, and researchers to leverage cloud technologies to drive innovation, reduce costs, and improve patient outcomes.

KEY FEATURES:

– Clinically integrated Supply Chain: With the constant stream of new and updated medical devices driving up the number of recalls, the need for hospitals to track, trace, and manage clinical inventory is more critical than ever. Therefore, the Oracle Supply Chain Management (SCM) Cloud, Oracle Digital Assistant, and Oracle Analytics features have been specially developed to improve patient safety and optimize clinical inventories.

– Connected Care: The concept of Connected Care brings telemedicine into the 21st century with transformational cloud technologies that expand access to care, reduce door-to-needle time, improve chronic condition management, and proactively identify at-risk patients, leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine learning capabilities.

– Cost-Effective Healthcare: The software supports the quadruple aim framework that spans cost, population health, patient experience, and clinician satisfaction.

PROS:

  • Many features are specifically oriented towards the healthcare system
  • Machine learning and IoT capabilities

CONS:

  • Requires specific technical and functional resources to do proper configuration
  • Expensive

CONSTRUCTION

 

Typically, operation automation, project management, data management and improved internal communication are the fundamental features construction company are looking for when  evaluating ERP systems.

Additional features such as inventory management, contract management or human resources are also highly regarded.

Hence, some ERPs are more suited than others to answer this industry’s needs.

Sage 300 construction is a complete construction management solution with a total integration through all levels of an organisation including job cost, project management, estimating, payroll, procurement, document management, service management and more. The solution is a one shop stop for construction companies.

KEY FEATURES:

– Job Cost & Project Management: The solution enables you to monitor, analyse, and report on all project-related data. Hence, you can track contract fiscals, estimates, construction costs, subcontracts, and other project information in as much detail as you need.

– Sage Estimating & Bidding: Sage offers an interesting feature for estimating your overall costs and future profit before putting together a bid. Estimates take into factor labor, supplies, subcontractor, material, equipment costs and historical data to improve your bid accuracy.

– Payroll: The inbuilt Payroll solution reduces the resources and overhead required to process payroll — even in labour-intensive organisations. With the flexibility to adapt to your organisation and region, the payroll solution simplifies the way you produce payroll advice, tax reports, union reports, and more.

PROS:

  • Recommended for large-sized construction companies
  • Easy to customise reports generation
  • Able to meet a large number of organisational needs through a variety of modules
  • Great accounting capabilities

CONS:

  • UI somewhat outdated
  • Require some training for some people
  • Could improve their customer service
  • Expensive to customise

Viewpoint has been developed as a configurable, contemporary software solution that will serve to address the problems customers in the construction industry face that hinder them from making significant success in their projects. The solution offers powerful features such as integrated Project Management, Job Costing, Data Management, and Risk Management, plus enhanced productivity and analysis.

KEY FEATURES:

– Field Management: Enables the break down of communication to quickly hire skilled labor, the solution can reduce errors and concentrate on the important tasks by using a user-friendly framework.

– Equipment Management: This module enables the digital tracking of operational costs by easily assigning equipment to spend to jobs or projects as well as tracking maintenance history to effectively forecasting maintenance costing.

– Accounting & Budgeting: Viewpoint supports multiple planning scenarios throughout the budget process to improve job costs and deliver information to the field instantly.

PROS:

  • Excellent tracking of construction cost abilities
  • Highly customisable
  • Easy to use
  • Good UI

CONS:

  • Cloud-based solution that still requires some development
  • The cost can increase with the addons
  • Could improve their customer service

IFS offers Project Management and Asset Lifecycle software to the engineering, construction and infrastructure industry. IFS develops and delivers enterprise software for customers around the world who manufacture and distribute goods, build and maintain assets, and manage service-focused operations.

KEY FEATURES:

– Contract Management: Specifically designed to handle complex contracts for variant clients and payment applications.

– Document Management: The solutions enable the management of all project documentation including revision control, document deliverables and approval workflow.

– Engineering component feature: The component provides tools to manage the project equipment list and include an asset design component that is best placed to integrate the design objects from a 3D model required to implement a BIM strategy.

PROS:

  • Simple interface and ease of navigation
  • Configurable options that are approachable for SQL and XML writers
  • Quite flexible to answer the diverse needs of the construction industry

CONS:

  • Long implementation
  • Business rule creation is not intuitive
  • Could have more documentation to help users in the early steps.

MANUFACTURING

 

IFS offers Project Management and Asset Lifecycle software to the engineering, construction and infrastructure industry. IFS develops and delivers enterprise software for customers around the world who manufacture and distribute goods, build and maintain assets, and manage service-focused operations.

IQMS delivers an innovative manufacturing industry ERP software solution that helps manufacturing enterprises stay lean, agile and competitive. The solution has proved to be especially valuable in highly regulated industries where strict compliance and traceability requirements are a top concern.

KEY FEATURES:

– Assembly Configuration Flexibility: Whether your assembly and fabrication processes are work center-based, assembly line based, application-based or a combination of many types, IQMS’ assembly manufacturing ERP software has industry-specific options for both continuous and batch production.

– Specific solution for different types of manufacturing companies: IQMS provides tailored solutions for assembly manufacturing, automotive manufacturing, food and beverage manufacturing, medical manufacturing, packaging manufacturing, plastics and rubber manufacturing, stamping manufacturing

– Labor Reporting:  IQMS’ assembly tools allow for labor focused manufacturing. Labor report per processor per shift, with detailed tracking at each stage or at the end. Reject/scrap components at each process for continual visibility.

PROS:

  • Holistic framework, rich Features and highly flexible
  • Excellent customer service (useful as the software is complex)
  • Specifically tailored for manufacturing processes
  • Real-time production monitoring
  • IQMS data resides in Oracle database allowing for custom reports, data-mining, and intelligent real-time extensions.

CONS:

  • Reporting is a little cumbersome unless you are well versed in Crystal Reporting
  • The number of features can be a bit overwhelming
  • Annual maintenance is expensive

Unlike some other ERP providers, IQMS offers industry-specific features to assist with production planning, product lifecycle management and maintaining quality products throughout the process. With features such as dispatch lists, labor reporting, sub-assembly support and line clearance security.

SYSPRO Manufacturing ERP is a highly scalable, industry-built solution that can be deployed in the cloud, on-premise, or accessed via any mobile device. The software is designed to simplify business complexity for manufacturers and distributors by providing actionable insights that support effective decision-making, strong cost control, streamlined processes, and improved productivity.

KEY FEATURES:

– Supply Chain Optimisation: Supply chain optimization connects your entire manufacturing or distribution value chain, from R&D and materials sourcing through production and delivery. Rather than focusing on individual suppliers, you gain a holistic view to enable you to look at your entire system and find ways to improve delivery speed, while reducing costs and risks.

– Specific solution for different type of manufacturing companies : Syspro provides tailored solutions for chemicals and fertilizers manufacturing, automotive manufacturing, electronics manufacturing, fabricated metals manufacturing, food and beverage manufacturing, medical devices manufacturing, furniture and fittings manufacturing, industrial machinery and equipment manufacturing, packaging manufacturing, plastics and rubber manufacturing.

– Production Control:  The solution comes with a fully integrated set of tools to help you plan, execute, record, track and control your output. Syspro provides visibility throughout the production supply chain from suppliers, along the production process, through to customers and is also able to integrate with other systems in the production environment.

PROS:

  • Great ERP for small to mid-sized organisation
  • MS-SQL database will give you almost any report you require
  • Syspro is known by its users to constantly improve their current solution
  • Good third party integration capabilities
  • Very stable, fast and exempt of bugs

CONS:

  • Great Support team
  • The data integrity checks (or balance functions as they call them) can only be run with no other users accessing the software.
  • Some modules are written in different countries and so the data validation and user interfaces are not always uniform
  • Lack of automation for some tasks

ERP from the Plex Manufacturing Cloud is built for the modern manufacturer, where the plant floor comes first. Web-based and real-time, the solution capture information at the place where things are made. Their manufacturing solutions are designed from the ground up connecting suppliers, machines, materials, people, systems, and customers. Focusing on the unique requirements of discrete and process manufacturing, Plex smart manufacturing solutions deliver production control, inventory management, supply chain management, and more.

KEY FEATURES:

– IoT capabilities: The Plex Industrial IoT (IoT) solution provides real-time asset performance dashboards to improve productivity and increase overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). Visibility is provided overwork cells and individual assets within them. Moreover, the IoT provides predictive analytics which helps you foreseen equipment failure or disruptive operations.

– Specific solutions for different types of manufacturing companies: Plex provides tailored solutions for aerospace-related manufacturing, automotive manufacturing, electronics manufacturing, precision metal forming manufacturing, food and beverage manufacturing, industrial machinery and equipment manufacturing, plastics and rubber manufacturing. Moreover, the solution takes into account the different types of manufacturing processes such as lean manufacturing, manufacturing intelligence and mixed-mode manufacturing.

– Distribution Requirements Planning (DPR):  Allows you to plan across multiple manufacturing and distribution facilities for a holistic enterprise-wide plan – with user-defined planning frequency and planning horizon.

PROS:

  • Web-based reducing the total IT cost of implementation, maintenance, support and updates
  • Cheaper alternative comparing to big ERP software systems
  • Good User Interface Design
  • A lot of resources available
  • One-Stop Shop

CONS:

  • Current business intelligence tools associated with the software are hard to use
  • Difficult to set up and require user training

In Brief

Overall, ERP systems have a long lifetime and aren’t only costly, these systems take an extensive period of time to implement and require subsequent business restructuring. Unfortunately, although most businesses take the time to assess the situation and to research the different ERP vendors, almost one third fail to implement an ERP that meets all of their unique needs. That is why it is very important to undertake a significant amount of due dilligence and make a careful selection when choosing your solution.

The positive side? All these sacrifices are worth your investment if your implementation is successful. The numerous benefits are well known and ROI can be expected in the first few years of the implementation.

Large companies such as Dynamics 365, Oracle, SAP offer a wide range of solutions that most companies could benefit from. More recently, they started to provide more specific solutions to meet the particular needs of each industry.

These companies provide best-in-class technologies and have a wide experience with a variety of industries. Some of these providers are very flexible and can create a tailored solution while others only provide a holistic but standard system that could answer 90% of your needs.

On the other hand, some companies preferred to specialise solely in an industry and have as such an industry-specific solution that will work for only one particular type of company. Such companies tend to be smaller and might not provide features such as Artificial Intelligence and predictive analytics. That being said, not everyone requires such capabilities and more often than not, these solutions are cheaper than top competitors.

All in all, most solutions provide typical ERP features such as reporting, CRM, HR, accounting, tracking, etc, which means that the most important feature lies more in the ERP’s integration to your current system and how this new solution will leverage your structure than anything else.

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