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ERP Software > Which Tier is Right for You?

ERP systems have evolved over the past decades from their origins as MRP systems to MRP II and then finally to ERP. ERP vendors range in size from Fortune 100 companies to small independently owned companies. The software packages and their vendors are, for your understanding, classified into three broad categories: Tier I, II and III.

Tier I

These are the largest and most well known of the software packages ie. SAP®, ORACLE® to name a few. These software packages handle everything from the banking industry to supermarkets.

Characteristics include:

  • Used by many Fortune 500 companies. Tier I vendors are starting to market to midsize manufacturers. In some cases, they sell software purchased from other vendors. Other vendors offer a subset of their own software under the assumption that smaller companies don’t need as much functionality.
  • Used by large international companies
  • In a lot of cases a full time “team” is required on the part of the company implementing the software.
  • Implementation teams are usually augmented with third party consultants
  • Usually priced by modules and by number of users
Tier II - this is where Metasystems Accelerated ERP fits

These vendors are a good fit for most small and midsize manufacturers. The software provided by these vendors offer rich functionality and run on a variety of technologies. Expect higher involvement from these vendors or their representatives (see below) in the implementation of the software. For companies with any type of complexity in manufacturing, sales or engineering processes; software packages in this Tier would be a good choice.

Characteristics include:

  • Offer a high degree of functionality and varied ERP applications.
  • May be targeted to a specific industry. Some software packages were first developed to support a specific industry. These work well in their particular industry but struggle when used outside that industry.
  • The software is normally sold through a Value Added Reseller (VAR). The same VAR will offer implementation services as well (see note below).
  • A significant amount of consolidation has taken place amongst Tier II vendors. It is not uncommon to see one vendor offer many different ERP packages.
  • Usually priced by user
Tier III

These vendors offer what is often referred to as “canned” software. If across the board, standard business practices are used throughout the company or if all that is required is accounting and light inventory control, these packages will probably be a good fit.

Characteristics include:

  • Easy to use screens.
  • Installation CDs. Usually windows based.
  • Self-taught tutorials are usually the extent of the training.
  • Many times priced by module.