Maybe this is your company’s first ERP implementation, or maybe just your company’s first ERP implementation in a very long time. Are ERP implementations a trick, or a treat? Well it depends on who you ask. Depending on how you approach an ERP implementation, it can be a trick or a treat!
Here are our top 5 tips for making the ERP implementation experience a treat and avoiding a trick:
- Executive support and commitment. For an ERP implementation to be a success, executive team members must not only be willing to invest financially in the selected ERP system, they must also invest their time in supporting and motivating other employees on both the implementation team and who will participate in training on the new ERP system. Seeing that the executive team “buys in” to the new system will keep employees from resisting the change or getting frustrated with the implementation process.
- Realistic expectations and resources. Understand that no matter how well planned an ERP implementation is, it is not going to happen overnight. Even the smoothest ERP implementation will take time, patience, and dedication from all employees involved in the implementation and training. The ERP project leader should take a realistic look at the implementation plan and the employee resources he has available, keeping in mind that employees also need keep up with their day to day jobs on top of the ERP implementation and training.
- Experienced project management. ERP project management is a job that requires experience. Whether you have a member of your team that has experience implementing a previous ERP system, or whether you have to bring in an outside consultant with prior experience, an experienced ERP project leader can make or break an implementation. When choosing an ERP implementation leader, be sure to find a person who is likeable and can also command the respect of both the executive team and the individual employees who will train on the new ERP system. Lastly, and this may be a hard quality to find if choosing a project leader from within the company, but try to choose an ERP project leader who is impartial when it comes to the different departments. If a project manager is a leader in a certain department within the company, he or she might give preferential treatment to the agenda of that department.
- Make ERP training a top priority. You might have chosen the perfect fit in an ERP system, but if your employees don’t know how to use it, the ERP implementation will likely fail. Employees must be trained extensively on the system. It’s also important to thoroughly document training and implementation so in case of employee turnover, vacations, or extended leaves, you aren’t left exposed.
- Measure Results. Set goals early on and measure results at 6 months, 12 months, and 18 months after go live to evaluate the project’s success. For larger ERP implementation projects, it may make sense to do a phased implementation. Look at your list of ERP goals and group them by priority. Phase 1 should include the top priorities to your business, and after those goals are met you can work on meeting Phase 2 goals.
Remember, no matter how much research and preparation you do, an ERP implementation is a huge undertaking and will take time, patience, and hard work from all areas of your business. However, when done right, an ERP implementation can be a real treat! And be sure to follow our tips above to avoid classic ERP implementation tricks.
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