You’re finally set on an ERP system and after having weighed the pros and cons of the system you are going to acquire for your company, you’re only left to deal with the simple implementation phase, right?
Well, there certainly are steps one can take to avoid complicating the process, but still, it wouldn’t be exactly accurate to refer to this stage as an easy one.
In fact, it carries quite the weight and dismissing it as insignificant might lead to the appearance of lots of otherwise completely avoidable bumps in the road.
So what exactly should one be thinking about when trying to sort out how to get started with their ERP?
Concrete steps to getting your ERP up and running
For the vast majority of ERP implementations, you won’t find ready-made software. This means that you’re not looking for something off the shelf, but rather shifting your focus to identifying key-requirements, investing in training, and creating a solid maintenance system that runs itself and ensures a smooth transition.
This should then be followed by the complete transfer of your company’s data. Up next comes figuring out a way to keep track of all the processes and last, but certainly not least, providing proper instruction and resources for the staff members that will be using the software.
Agreeing on relevant requirements for a business that’s constantly evolving and then actually putting in the work to implement them is key to your success. This is indeed the most time-consuming and difficult stage of getting your ERP set up, but it’s also the most impactful.
And yes, although these are all things that you are going to have to address step by step, you should, however, give some thought to all of them on the whole from the very beginning.
What can you gain by doing that? Some potentially key insights regarding the relationship between all these areas of interest that can help you have better overall management of your initiative.
Implementation is huge in terms of impact. There’s no point in jumping through hoops trying to determine if your chosen ERP has added value to your business or, on the contrary, has just become a total nuisance. You can often anticipate major challenges early in the process just by measuring how successful the implementation stage was.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at what said implementation stage typically involves.
1. A project team
Taking on the implementation process of an ERP as a one-man job (without any external guidance) can be unwise and have quite the unpleasant, and costly consequences for the business owner, especially if they haven’t had the chance to gain a thorough understanding of how ERP systems function.
It can make all the difference in the world thus having certain people on ERP duty as your company transitions to the way your software of choice works. Obviously, the composition of the team you put together will be highly dependent on the qualifications of your current staff, but just as much on the particulars of your software.
So is the background of your staff enough to make you feel secure letting them handle whatever it takes to get your ERP up and running?
If not, no worries and no bad blood! You can always bring in some experienced people to get your intended team of specialists on the level needed for the project to end up a success.
Don’t wait for the problems to occur, hinder their appearance from the get-go.
2. A project management plan
The only real condition of whoever handles the ERP setup, however, is for them to be able to create a strong management plan and follow up within the established deadlines. Pretty straightforward.
What are the absolute musts your ERP implementation management plan should include? Besides task delegation and budget allocation, which are a given in regard to any kind of project, your plan should clearly define the ways and timelines you realistically need to address the process accurately.
Therefore, you should clearly know the when and the how of tasks associated with the implementation.
On one hand, this helps you keep track of how the project is evolving. On the other hand, by having a point by point view of where the implementation stands, management can figure out ways to work around the disruption to maintain productivity within the company.
3. User training
While the software in itself and the perks it offers certainly are of importance, it is equally significant that the ones who will use the system receive the proper training. This is the only way in which all the progress done by implementing the ERP does not end up being mistakenly undone by someone who might have had good intentions but lacked the qualification to correctly put them into practice.
Coaching the team that will be in charge of overseeing the software is essential, and as long as training does, in fact, take place, how it happens can always be adapted to your company’s particular circumstances.
For instance, perhaps you decide that the way to go is on-site training in which case you’re going to need to be able to accommodate that.
What does that mean? Largely, it means setting up meetings while being mindful of the schedules of everyone involved and planning accordingly so that employees won’t have to work overtime to complete their routine assignments. However, much of this approach is just as valid for the CEO who opts to have their staff trained for ERP usage with the help of online courses.
There’s not one flawless ERP to fill in all your business’ gaps and there’s no one perfect method to go about transitioning and adapting your company’s operational model to a new system. There are only business owners who understand that going the extra mile for their projects is what makes it count in the long run.