Best-of-Breed or ERP: What’s Your Pick for Supply Chain Planning?

Here at Demand Solutions, we’re big fans of Lora Cecere’s work on her blog, Supply Chain Shaman. Lora deserves every bit of the credit she gets for being an honest commentator on today’s leading supply chain planning solutions and strategies.

best-of-breed supply chain planning solutionAnd so when Lora wrote earlier this year about the evolution of supply chain planning systems and the corresponding impact on user satisfaction, we sat up and listened.

Lora actually presented her findings to 700 attendees of an April 14 webinar sponsored by APICS. She then summarized this information in an April 15 blog post.

What Lora found will go a long way towards answering the question, “Which is better: ERP, or best-of-breed supply chain planning?”

Can ERP Really Deliver for Supply Chain Planners?


Lora sums up her findings thusly:

Today, SAP and Oracle have market share dominance; however, the data is clear. Neither technology vendor is an industry leader in delivering a solution that fits the needs of the supply chain planner.

To Lora’s credit, she’s not just dishing out rhetoric to get more clicks. She actually has her own survey data to back her up.

According to Lora’s survey, best-of-breed solutions went live early or on time 56% of the time, compared to just 37% of the time for ERP. Best-of-breed went live in 12 months or less 71% of the time, compared to 37% for ERP.

What about going live within the original budget? Best-of-breed held the edge here, too, by a 59% to 40% margin.

When it came to achieving ROI in nine months or less, that’s a benefit that 34% of best-of-breed implementations yielded, compared to just 11% for ERP.

And in terms of overall satisfaction, best-of-breed won out again, 81% to 63%.

Wow. It’s not a landslide, but all indications are that best-of-breed supply chain planning solutions deliver more bang for the buck, in less time, than their ERP counterparts.

So, Why Doesn’t Everyone Just Choose Best-of-Breed Supply Chain Planning?

Survey results like these beg the question: why does anyone still implement ERP solutions for supply chain planning?

Well, let’s give ERP companies their due. They’re typically large and well funded (or, in the case of Oracle and SAP, extremely large and extremely well funded). That means they can devote a lot of resources to product development and customer service. That also means they’re not going to disappear and leave their customers stranded without a vendor.

And if you’re a larger manufacturer or distributor that already uses one of the well-established ERP platforms, you might assume that your ERP vendor’s supply chain planning offering will integrate seamlessly with your existing software.

Fair enough. But Lora gives several reasons why she believes companies continue to implement solutions that will ultimately deliver lower user satisfaction. Among other reasons, she cites:

• An unwillingness by industry analysts to be tough on large companies’ solutions.

• Consultants’ tendency to recommend solutions that will require long, lucrative (for them) implementations.

• Differing opinions on what constitutes an “integrated” solution.

Again, we appreciate Lora’s frank commentary on supply chain planning solutions and urge you to read her full article.

And if you’re in the market for a new supply chain planning platform that can help you achieve the full promise of integrated business planning (IBP), we urge you to consider Demand Solutions. We’re ready to answer all your toughest evaluation questions—even the ones about integration with your existing systems.

Give us a call today at 800-886-3737.