If you’re shopping for an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software solution, there are many options to consider. However, chemical and process manufacturers and distributors have unique needs that not every vendor can meet.
Datacor is an industry-focused ERP system that has been serving the market for 30 years with specialized functionality and resources. SAP ERP is a popular enterprise-focused suite that offers a broad range of cross-vertical functionality. In this post, we’ll compare these systems to learn which one is best for your needs.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
This checklist provides an overview of the differences between Datacor ERP and SAP ERP, which we’ll cover in depth below:
|Integrated Customer Relationship Management (CRM)||Yes||No*|
|Industry-Specific Business intelligence||Yes||No*|
|Billing and invoicing||Yes||Yes|
|Material requirements planning (MRP)||Yes||Yes|
|Supply chain management||Yes||Yes|
|Plant preventive maintenance||Yes||No*|
|Safety data sheet (SDS) and certificate of analysis (COA) creation and management||Yes||No*|
|Chemical and gas industry compliance and reporting||Yes||No*|
|Batch manufacturing records (BMRs)||Yes||No*|
|Global taxation||No (North America and EU only)||Yes|
|Global support offices||No||Yes|
|U.S. Based Support||Yes||No|
|Integrated development, support, implementation, and consulting||Yes||No|
|Global language support||No (English, Spanish, French)||Yes|
|*May be available as an add-on or custom module through a third-party vendor.|
At a high level, SAP is best for global enterprises that need functionality spanning multiple languages and taxation standards, with implementation on a massive scale. Datacor is a better fit for small, midsize and large companies in the chemical and process manufacturing industry that need functionality tailored to their specific vertical.
ERP systems help companies streamline and optimize key processes across the organization by offering a range of integrated modules that store all information in a centralized database. When it comes to the system itself, there are some key differences between what a global, generalized vendor such as SAP offers and what you get with an industry-targeted vendor, such as Datacor.
On-premises vs. cloud hosting
Both systems can be hosted either on-premises (physically installed on the company’s own hardware servers, which the company manages and maintains) or in the cloud (hosted on virtual servers in the cloud, which are managed and maintained by the vendor). The right choice will depend upon your company’s needs.
Industry-specific vs. broad functionality
Most ERP systems support industry-agnostic, core modules such as accounting, CRM and human resources. Datacor is one of the rare vendors that offers out-of-the-box functionality specialized for the chemical and process manufacturing industry.
SAP serves all industry verticals; while it is a powerful, robust system, this also brings complications when more targeted tools are required. As an all-purpose solution, SAP ERP must be customized to meet the needs of chemical and process manufacturers — typically by hiring programmers and/or consultants to create modifications and special modules.
While SAP brings the flexibility to customize the system however you want, these modifications take skill, time and money. Customizations are what have earned ERP implementations a reputation for being costly, lengthy and problematic.
Datacor was designed specifically with the needs of chemical and process manufacturers in mind. Many of Datacor’s staff worked in the industry before joining the team, bringing valuable insight that eases customer interactions. There are also a range of market-specific features and modules that come standard with Datacor ERP. Some of these include:
For massive, worldwide enterprises, there are a few international features and capabilities SAP offers that may make it a better fit, such as support for global taxation, global support offices and a broad range of language options.
Single vendor vs. partner network
As a single-vendor system, Datacor is a complete, top-to-bottom solution. While you cannot pick and choose the modules to implement, chemical and process manufacturers will find all the necessary functionality for day-to-day operations automatically built into the software.
What’s more, all business functions and departments are automatically linked and tracked across the organization from day one. Support and development is also handled internally, without the need to involve third-party vendors.
As a modular solution, SAP offers the ability to pick and choose the applications you want to implement. Many companies will start with one basic module, such as accounting, and implement additional functionality to accommodate growing business needs over time. However, this can make navigating and purchasing SAP’s offerings complicated and confusing, especially for first-time ERP software users.
What’s more, SAP relies on a partner network, contracting out capabilities such as application development, support and implementation. That means companies may be working with SAP directly — or one of the hundreds of other companies within their ecosystem.
When building custom modules through SAP, each is often created by a different developer or consultant, none of whom may be communicating with each other. This type of siloed application development can cause integration and implementation challenges down the line.
What’s more, many of the modules chemical and process manufacturers rely on are cross-functional. For example, a plant maintenance module would need to be linked with a production module to prevent employees from attempting to use broken equipment. If the development teams are working separately, there may not be an easy way for these modules to exchange information.
Datacor, on the other hand, is a complete solution that offers all of the features and modules chemical and process manufacturers need out of the box. The same development team works on each module and designs it for cross-functionality.
With a vertical partner such as Datacor, every new feature, update and improvement made to the software in the future is relevant to the chemical and process manufacturing industry. With a broad solution such as SAP, only a fraction of the improvements may be relevant to the needs of niche industries — meaning you’re paying for features you don’t need, while paying even more to custom-build those that aren’t offered.
The chemical industry has unique needs and requirements, so it is helpful to work with a vendor who has deep experience with companies’ most common issues. When working with generic vendors, consultants and third parties, customers in niche industries often have to educate the provider about their industry before they can provide adequate support.
Regulatory compliance is a key area in which having a specialized vendor is helpful. Datacor has experts on staff who may be even more familiar with regulatory and reporting requirements than the companies themselves. General vendors and third-party partners may not be familiar with these requirements. At worst, this can result in compliance violations and production problems; at least, it may drag out implementation cost and time.
What’s more, if SAP’s custom modules have been built by different teams, users will have to be trained on each module individually, and trainers may not be familiar with cross-modular functionality. With a unified solution such as Datacor, support and implementation teams can train users on the entire system at once, backed by the expertise that comes from thousands of hours of experience with the same software.
Because SAP is designed for large, global enterprises, it comes with a higher per-user price tag. What’s more, developing and implementing custom modules incurs extra costs. Since chemical and process manufacturers will need to create specialized modules to make SAP fit their needs, Datacor is a more affordable option, coming with a lower per-user cost and pre-built, specialized functionality.
To learn more about how Datacor and SAP stack up, or to see the software in action, sign up for a personalized demo.
Datacor offers products and services designed specifically for process manufacturers and chemical distributors. Contact us to learn more about our products and services. Call us now at (973) 822-1551 or fill out the form to the right.