Essential ERP Implementation Tips
You’ve outgrown your antiquated technology. Employees are wasting hours on manual tasks. You can’t easily access crucial metrics. As these problems take a toll on your manufacturing or distribution business, you begin to wonder if it’s time to implement enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.
ERP provides the infrastructure to tackle these issues. Modern solutions offer comprehensive functionality and innovative tools to support business growth. Process automation can drastically reduce manual data entry and speed up your performance. Serving as a central data hub, ERP consolidates information throughout your enterprise into one user-friendly solution.
But before you take the plunge into an ERP implementation, there are some guidelines you need to follow to make your project worthwhile. Below, we go over the ERP implementation tips essential for improving your business performance.
Do you know what you need from an ERP solution? Businesses often make the mistake of undergoing a software implementation without even understanding the essential functions their system must perform to support their processes and reach their goals. These projects result in solutions that fail to contribute value to their companies. Implementations succeed when businesses set ERP requirements based on their desired improvements and operations.
To do this, you must gain a cohesive view of your enterprise. What software systems are you currently using? Where are the gaps in your operations? Speak to managers across your company to create an accurate model of business processes and applications. From this information, you can determine where improvements need to be made and which software programs and workflows must stay in place. A comprehensive understanding of where your business is falling short is vital to establishing your software requirements and selecting the right fit for your enterprise.
Once you’ve documented your ERP requirements, it’s time to start searching for your solution. Businesses tend to get distracted by flashy demos and presentations during the selection process. To narrow down your search from the enormous variety of vendors, you’ll need to keep your ERP requirements in front of you at all times. Don’t stray from your core needs after hearing an engaging sales pitch. Find a solution designed for your industry, size and methods.
As you’re meeting with sales reps and viewing demos, take notes and ask questions. Do they have the deployment model you’re looking for? Is their system easy to navigate? Is the solution easily customizable and scalable? Additionally, ask each vendor or reseller for a few references to ensure they have a record in providing successful ERP systems. Taking an organized, focused approach to ERP selection will help you invest in the best solution to elevate your enterprise performance.
Don’t Neglect Change Management
ERP project teams often get so caught up in technical tasks that they forget all about the end user. Employees who have long operated on spreadsheets and legacy platforms might need time to adjust to their new software. In fact, they might avoid using it altogether. That’s why change management is so critical to implementation success. Through change management, you can inform users of the value of ERP software and teach them how to leverage its functionality to simplify daily activities.
From the beginning of the project, let users know what’s going on. At company meetings, explain the purpose of the ERP solution and when it is expected to go live. Provide role-based training and resources to help each user effectively employ the software in their day-to-day operations. Encourage them to ask questions, and make sure they know who to go to for answers. Once the system is live, track metrics to determine if the software is being effectively utilized. Prioritizing change management in your ERP implementation encourages swift, widespread user adoption.
Remember Your Goals
When you lose sight of project goals, you risk deploying a solution that doesn’t meet business needs. In some cases, project teams get overwhelmed with particular tasks, causing them to rush through stages of the implementation and forgo essential activities. Schedule regular meetings to check in on the implementation’s progress and confirm that all critical processes are being executed. Remind the project team of the benefits of ERP software and the risks of doing slapdash work. Additionally, provide incentives to motivate and reward them for their hard work.
Forgetting implementation goals can also result in delays and budget overruns. Project teams will sometimes work on unnecessary customizations and add-ons, thinking they will contribute value to the final solution. However, deviating from the original scope can result in a bloated implementation that is more prone to errors. The extra time and money put into these features will likely do little to help end users. Again, regular meetings will allow team members and stakeholders to stay on the same page. Additionally, maintain a changelog to track and approve any changes made to the scope of the project. Sticking to original goals will help the implementation stay on time and on budget.
Ask for Help
Overwhelmed by our tips? The good news is that you don’t have to undergo an ERP implementation on your own. Certified ERP consultants can guide you through the project, helping you follow all the best practices that’ll lead you to a robust solution. Consultants with extensive industry expertise can also serve as an extra set of eyes as you’re defining your goals and requirements. They’ll help you with business process modeling, uncovering current issues and areas of improvement that you might have missed. Additionally, consultants will assist in some of the most technical tasks, such as converting data or performing tests. These ERP experts are essential for mitigating software project risk.
Furthermore, the top consultants won’t leave you after the software goes live. They’ll continue managing your solution and providing upgrades and additional projects when you need them. With help from ERP consultants, you can generate long-term value from your software investment.
Going into your ERP implementation with a solid understanding of best practices will help you achieve a successful project. The results of a well-executed implementation are monumental for your enterprise. For example, Forrester calculated that Epicor ERP generated an average of 264% ROI to the typical manufacturing customer in over three years. Epicor’s robust solution includes all the tools you need to drive value and optimize operations.
Datix, an Epicor Gold Partner, does whatever it takes to make your ERP project a success. Our certified consultants have provided software solutions to manufacturers and distributors for over 20 years. From start to finish, we work with each client to make sure their Epicor system fulfills their long-term business goals.
If you’re considering ERP, get in touch with the experts for more information. Contact Datix today!