December 14, 2016 | by Kevin Ameche, Vice President, Wolcott Group, LLC

Taking Inventory of ERP Solutions

12 questions steel service centers and metal fabricators must ask before buying business software

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Service centers and metal fabricators, like other industries, are facing a business shift that requires action. The leaders in the industry are using technology to provide better service to customers, track costs more accurately and tighten internal operations.

To thrive in the connected world, you need business management systems that will improve service, reduce waste and build productivity. As you evaluate replacements for your accounting or legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, you must ask the right questions. Your success depends on your ability to optimize processes and master your supply chain through technology.

We’ve compiled a list of questions to help you choose business management software that will support your long-term goals. The vendors you talk to should have definitive, detailed answers to the following questions:


1. Can we track inventory using multiple attributes?
2. Can we view and maintain costs for labor, freight, outside services and
3. Will we have end-to-end visibility to yield and gross margin calculations?
4. Will sales quoting and order entry be quick, intuitive and accurate?
5. Can we perform nesting and gross piece pricing on quote and order
6. Is there a shipping dispatch board to build, monitor and maintain loads?
7. Can we support outside processing and customer owned material?
8. How will we handle customer specifications like packaging, loading and
9. Will we have visibility to all processes from quote through delivery?
10. How will the software help us improve the profitability of value added
11. Can we support actual, theoretical, average and replacement cost?
12. Is there a centralized visual display of operations?

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