A great choice for straight manufacturing, but not suitable for complex manufacturing models

What is most valuable?

The Financial Accounting module, in general, is quite good. It is quite simple but powerful. Similarly, the Manufacturing functionality, including a multiple level bill of materials, is also quite useful.

What needs improvement?

SYSPRO at the moment is lacking on the project side. There's a module called Projects and Contracts, and it's a poorly designed module. One of my clients is a project-based organization, and they're finding it extremely difficult to manage their business using SYSPRO, to the point that they're looking at alternative solutions. The Projects and Contracts module is not a very useful tool. It does project accounting reasonably well, but in terms of putting in proper structures, like a work breakdown structure and so forth, it's actually quite poor.

Their design or their architecture for the Projects module isn't good enough. They need to redesign it and redevelop it. They have made improvements. However, the problem is that if you're building on a bad foundation, then your building isn't going to be very strong. That's principally their problem.

Any heavy equipment company would have a requirement to keep their equipment available for production. In that sense, SYSPRO has no maintenance management functionality. There's also no functionality for field services management. These two functionalities are critical for places like mines or for heavy equipment manufacturers who service the aftermarket and so forth. From a product perspective, this obviously isn't a good place to be because they are sort of taking themselves out of the market for quite a number of industries. They are constrained to manufacturing and distribution.

For how long have I used the solution?

I'm a consultant, and I've had two projects for this solution. I was on one project for about 18 months and on the other one for about 12 months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's quite a mature product, so it's quite stable. Once it works, it doesn't require a lot of support, which is a good thing. Solutions like SAP take a huge amount of support. SYSPRO is quite light on the support in comparison to SAP.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

If you use it for what it was designed for, it's absolutely scalable. You generally don't get users who have thousands of licenses. I think the biggest license in the country is for around 360 concurrent users. That would probably mean 600 or 700 users, which is not a small number. Therefore, it is quite scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

SYSPRO is quite well set up to support its very large customer base. Their technical support is fine. It isn't an issue at all.

Their technical support is also quite prompt. They have a partner model. In general, you would have an agreement with a partner. The first line support is mostly handled by the company itself. The second and third line support is handled by the partner. Whatever the partner can't solve, it escalates to SYSPRO. I've not seen issues that required urgent attention and were not rectified in a timely fashion. Their support model works well.

How was the initial setup?

It's reasonably straightforward to set up. It took roughly about six months to get an initial implementation going. Six months would be adequate to complete a project from start to finish.

What other advice do I have?

SYSPRO is quite a widely used ERP. It was developed in South Africa about 30 years ago or maybe more. It has got around 17,000 clients globally. It is quite a substantially used product. 

I'm an independent consultant. I try to be product-agnostic wherever I can. I have recommended SYSPRO for a family-owned business with maybe 300 million rand turnover or so. SYSPRO was the better choice for them because they had budget constraints and so on, and their implementation partner was strong. 

I certainly would recommend SYSPRO, but I think one needs to be very careful. If you are a straight manufacturing company that distributes your product through wholesalers and so forth, it is a great choice. If you have a more complex manufacturing model, like manufactured-to-order or designed-to-order, where you require Projects functionality, then it is not the right solution for you. At this point, this is the side that lets SYSPRO down.

I would rate SYSPRO a six out of ten in terms of other comparable products. For straight manufacturing, either process or discrete manufacturing, SYSPRO is fine, but when there is a requirement for more complex manufacturing models, SYSPRO probably isn't going to be the best solution.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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