Developing ERP software costs a fortune and also it requires major changes in the organization. The main motto of ERP is to manage and integrate data from the core business process into one centre system. Manufacturers have began to understand the rippling benefits of ERP – increased productivity, enhanced efficiency and more volatile work structure.
However these benefits can be obtained only if proper steps are taken for implementing it and the project is given utmost care and attention that is required. Involving the right people and understanding what the processes need to be improved makes the half the battle won in ERP implementation.
Here are few steps that have to be taken before commencement on your ERP project:
- Bring your team together: Before making key decisions on ERP project, see to it that you have right people on the team. For this you have to take into account the following:
- Go for executive buy in and see to it that person who is experienced and also from senior level is involved from the very beginning
- Select the project Leader, who has leadership qualities, has in depth knowledge of the project and has the experience execute work within time limits. Leader acts as champion for new system who keeps the project on track and moving and sees to it that the deadlines are met.
- Other members should involve key employees who will provide with all the required help that act as advocate of the system.
2. Locate and record business process that needs improvement: The main motto of incorporating ERP software in the business is to make key process more efficient and streamlining them to common core for enhancing the business productivity. So it is vital to leisurely look at the each business process and have a sessions with different staff members that handle the process and see to it – what works, what does not work and how improvements can be made. It is advisable to record this before working on ERP plan.
3. Establish existing costs: Identify the existing costs of the business like security, support, downtime, upgrades, security, insurance and inefficiencies. Doing such you will understand what cost you incur by your current system and what you end up saving after implementing ERP. Doing so you can corner the budget for your ERP on one hand and on the other you can convince the less willing members of management in favor of ERP.
4. Corner the right vendor: As it is rightly said if source is best the result ought to be equally best. So it is vital to select the right vendor for your business and this you can do by:
- Research on their experience and work culture by interviewing them initially. Make a list of questions like – What is your experience? Testimonials of vendors whose work is transpired recently? Does they provide everything that makes you achieve what you intended? They mode of dealing with disaster recovery and security management? And lastly ask them their performance statistics.
- With the help of such questions you can shortlist the vendors and once you have countable vendors, you can ask for live demo of their software from each one so that you can be clear about your choice.
- Before making the final decision, you should find out exactly what you will be paying over next 5 years and thus get the legal team to go through the contract. Before cornering the vendor, understand exactly what you are responsible for and what you need to be aware of.
5. Locate the right implementation partner: If you have skilled IT in house team then there is no need for you to locate implementation partner. But if you do not possess, you ought to locate implementation partner who have in depth knowledge for smooth functioning of the process and who will make the process much less disruptive.
- Local partner is advisable as they can easily visit you onsite but before you corner see to it that they have required experience.
- Discuss the current business process with the chosen partner may help you in spotting the needs you have missed and also marketing better work plan.
Tasting the success of ERP pro implementation
Once you have corned the vendor after checking the testimonials and demo, next big step is to implement it and make the implementation a successful affair. The vital aspect here is employee buy in. Just make sure that your employees are on board and are using the system correctly as it is only through their inputs and efforts the ERP implementation will taste success.
- Training: Training makes the employee ready to face changes. Good training is best mode to achieve employee buy in for your new ERP system. Also training makes the employees accept the changes readily as it so happens that people doing something for long time resist changes initially particularly if they find new system difficult to use. It is vital to make decisions whether to give in house training or hire a trainer outside your business and if you are sure that you have employees in the organization who provide training then go for “train the trainer” approach by training that person and making him to train others.
- Make sure that senior members are using the system: Set an example before preaching. In other words senior members must make use of the system so that they can send signals that the system is beneficial to the entire organization and can be easily understood if tried. Else if the staff personnel see to it that managers are not using the system correctly then they are likely avoid the new system.
- Frequent review of the system: See to it that the system is reviewed at frequent intervals and is performing well. Communicate to the users of the system at intervals to find out what they are finding, what is working and what they are finding difficult. In case you feel that they are finding it a bit tough then provide training wherever required. Here implementation partner comes to help as they can provide you with system health checks including review of your use of your new software and ideas for augmentation.