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ERP selection: Finding the right solution in mechanical and plant engineering

Reading Time: 3 Minutes 22.02.2022 Currents & Trends

How Elma Schmidbauer took on the ERP selection

Elma Schmidbauer, a global player in plant engineering, serial manufacturing, and chemical production, has special requirements for an ERP system due to the diverse business fields.

Since their old ERP system was no longer capable of receiving updates due to massive customizations, the company decided it was time for a new ERP solution. In this interview, the three project leaders tell you how they tackled the selection process and what was especially important to them.


Fabian Merk
Head of Marketing & Corporate Development
Elma Schmidbauer


Oliver Brauer
Head of IT
Elma Schmidbauer


Matthias Dampmann
Head of Disposition and Production Logistics
Elma Schmidbauer

How come you wanted to find a new ERP system?

Fabian Merk: In 2015, we still used a Microsoft product. It was a highly customized system with roughly 1,000 days of customizing accumulated over the years. This ultimately led to a series of problems. It seemed that we were no longer capable of installing updates. And the processes, costings and material flows were lacking transparency. We therefore made the decision to find a new ERP system and started the selection process.

What was the most important thing to you in the selection process? Can you give us an outline of the project?

Fabian Merk: We first put together a core team of 8 persons who would handle the project. Then we needed to become aware of our requirements. We got help from Trovarit for this, so we could put together the requirement specifications and send them to the providers. As a first result, we could shortlist 20 providers that seemed interesting to us.
After that, we dug a bit deeper and evaluated all providers by means of scoring models. At this point, we also collected some first cost estimates to narrow down the shortlist to four candidates. Next, we got in touch with these four providers. We invited them to our site, introduced Elma as a company and outlined our core processes. Every provider then had two to three weeks to prepare a presentation of their solution tailored to our needs. Of course, we also visited some reference customers to find out what the customers think of their provider.

On the basis of these results, we ended up with two finalists. The last competitors had to complete another task and hold a final presentation where our management was sitting in the first row. In the end, the ERP core team made the final decision.

What were the core requirements the system absolutely had to fulfill?

Matthias Dampmann: We have to map the order process including all challenges we are facing in our three fields of operation: plant engineering, serial manufacturing and chemical production. This was our central concern and all our decisions and measures were geared toward it.

Can you name one or two examples for this?

Matthias Dampmann:One example is the ordering process from the request for quote through to the delivery in serial manufacturing. Another example is the plant business itself that, being pure project business, involves a whole different process. It was also a whole new thing for us to map chemical production in the ERP system as this was not the case before.
Oliver Brauer: Before we introduced the ERP system to chemical production they had still worked with index cards. To the team, this was a leap from the Stone Age to space travel. This was by far the most extreme thing we've done in the whole project, but we wouldn't want to miss the ERP system now.

What were the K.O. criteria?

Oliver Brauer:From the IT perspective, it was important to have a modern and reliable system that would be low-maintenance in our everyday work. The ERP solution has to be available 24/7 with as little failures as possible. And proALPHA has proven to be reliable, too: the system has an availability of almost 100%.

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