Selecting the proper computer system requires evaluating a number of factors. Here are some key ones:

  • Evaluate customer support. "You are not just buying a computer system, you're buying service after the sale," says Rusty Shealy, owner of Capital Concrete. "Service is critical to ensuring you are operating efficiently."
  • Determine upgrade costs. Learn whether you are supplied with all upgrades or do they require any additional cost, says Shealy. "It produces a huge front-end cost, but it saves a lot on the back end, and you know your costs."
  • Ask about customization. Sardinia Concrete is proactive about beta-testing programs and providing feedback. "We're always looking for easier ways to do things and upgrade," says Charlie Stone, vice president. "Companies will listen to customer needs and revise software to create new versions to fit our needs."
  • Consider a one-stop shop. Some producers integrate systems, but that can create incompatibilities that must be resolved. Sardinia Concrete uses systems from several companies and suspects there may be benefits to having all its eggs in one basket. "Companies may be more proactive if you're a bigger customer and they know the entire system," says Stone. But operating only one system can be a problem if it goes down. Two systems may provide some backup support for each other.