TMS Requires 100 Million, Does ERP Require 1 Billion?

A recent article over on Logistics Management that put[s] the spotlight on ERP had a great quote from
Ben Pivar, Vice President and North American Supply Chain Lead for Capgemini regarding Transportation Management Systems (TMS) Pivar says that the economics of installing a TMS package on a client server, for example, doesn’t really work until you have nearly $100 million in freight spend and that’s why on-demand is so popular in that space.

SI has to agree. Unless a firm has tens of millions in freight spend, the costs of installation, maintenance, and usage tend to dwarf the benefits of using a TMS system. However, what’s even more important to note is that enterprise ERP (from a top vendor) is, on average, at least five, if not (usually) ten times, more expensive to install, integrate, maintain, and use than TMS. This would seem to indicate that the economics of traditional ERP don’t make sense unless your company has 1 Billion in spend, or at least 1 Billion in revenue. In other words, unless you’re a member of the Fortune 2000 or Global 3000, traditional end-to-end on-premise enterprise ERP is probably not for you. And it would appear that Oracle, one of the largest players, tends to agree. Why do you think it has advertisements stating it has 98% of the Fortune 500? It’s not just because the Fortune X, it’s target market, provide it with its biggest deals. It’s because Oracle also understands that unless a company has reached a critical mass, given the cost of the system, the company won’t get the advertised return (which is a key to keeping the company as a high-paying customer year after year).

However, every organization needs a good transaction store and data repository as analysis is key to supply management success. So what does this mean if you’re not one of the lucky ones? Don’t look at a a tradtional on-premise end-to-end ERP from a big boy. Look at either a newer, smaller, slimmed down offering from a smaller player, possibly based on an open-source solution (like Compiere), a suite from a provider that maintains its own transaction store, or a newer, slimmed down, SaaS offering from a traditional provider that can integrate with some BoB solutions in the cloud and offer an effective hybrid solution. Just don’t go for the billion-dollar solution, because your organization likely won’t get a return from the millions it will cost.