A standard ERP won’t cut it for the disposal industry

Johannes Neumüller09/19/2018

Most people are aware that an ERP selection and an ERP introduction project are quite challenging. Nevertheless, the path to going live is relatively clear – compiling requirements and verifying which standard ERP meets these requirements. Then selecting an implementation partner that understands your business, and you’re set to go.

Standard ERP is not enough

Some industries have an additional hurdle along the way, because there is no standard ERP that meets their requirements. One of these is the disposal industry. One of the critical issues in this industry is that there are two directions for the same transaction. It is possible that money has to be paid when goods are received (as within a usual transaction), and it is also possible that money is earned when goods are received. Because if you have hazardous waste, you’re happy to get rid of it. It will cost you, of course. Copper, on the other hand, is a material for which you can get money from the disposer.

A standard ERP solution can’t cope with this. In order for the company to acquire materials with a standard ERP, at some point in the process you have to pay a bill. But you never get money for it. And this is not the only drawback. The list is long, but we can sum it up as follows: normal ERP systems lack several core functions for this industry. So standard software just doesn’t cut it. The question remains – what is a future-proof way to fill these gaps?

The all-rounder: Standard ERP + industry package

There is more than one answer. If you’re not willing to miss the advantages of standard ERP solutions, there’s only one option remaining: an industry package. The ERP thus becomes a disposal solution, and the company acquires proven functionality. Furthermore you will keep all the advantages of a standard solution. This way also minimizes the service cost for programming additions and it removes a major unknown variable from the equation, since the software is already existing.

The disposer knows right away whether or not the industry functionality and company requirements fit together.

Beware of bogus “industry solutions”

Industry extensions are not all the same. This issue is strategically relevant with regard to the software life cycle. Some so-called industry solutions actually just misuse a standard ERP as a development platform. The processes for the disposal industry are recreated in parallel, and basic functions of the standard are no longer used.

This entails the risk that the supposedly safe investment in a standard solution could turn out to be a proprietary solution. So no one profits from the functions of the internationally proven standard software anymore. This fraud logically leaves the company severely dependent on the so-called “industry solution provider.” After a few years, instead of an upgrade, a whole new system probably makes more sense, since no standard upgrade path will be effective.

How much does the disposal solution help people?

If the software helps employees in their daily work, the company is rewarded with clean data. In other words, any software development ultimately has to focus on people first. Only providers who understand this will be able to survive on the market in the long run. You can tell right away from the software interface. And, of course, a good partner considers this aspect in the implementation process, too.

Call in the professionals

If the disposal company manages to get the right industry experts on board, they’ve already laid the foundation for a future competitive advantage. The proven solution should ideally come with a partner who understands disposal processes and works with you on equal terms. This makes the project work much more focused right off the bat. In particular, it takes much less work to compare the requirements.

Why is this different with standard ERP projects? The reason is that a partner might specialize in the manufacturing industry, for example. This might be a certain orientation, but it’s not an actual focus. This partner generally can’t contribute the same level of expertise in the modeling of food production processes and bicycle production processes at the same time. Industry experts in the waste industry contribute know-how on each individual business process of disposal. The project experience they've accumulated so far serves as a benchmark for new projects. So from the first day on, you can discuss potential improvements and not waste time explaining how a disposal company actually works.


To implement an ERP is never easy. That’s why it’s one of the most exciting types of company projects. The disposal industry has a harder time than others, because there are core components missing in the system standards. The right disposal solution closes these gaps and puts people first. Ideally, the right consultants also join up at the same time. The result is greatly minimized project risks.

ERP industry solution for the disposal industry

Our experts know the requirements in the disposal and recycling industry. We’ve combined this knowledge in an ERP industry solution.

Learn more

About the Author: Johannes Neumüller

Johannes Neumüller is Senior Sales Manager at COSMO CONSULT (formerly FWI). He started his professional career at Industrieinformatik in Linz, where he came to sales after working as a consultant and project manager for international IT projects. He then worked as a strategy manager for Siemens VAI. He graduated from the Hagenberg University of Applied Sciences with a specialization in hardware and software engineering as well as an MBA degree program for international sales management at FH Steyr.

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