Goals for ERP Implementation Success
If you're on the market for ERP software, you've probably heard the spiel from multiple software vendors by now. ERP promises to accomplish a whole host of objectives for its users, including the ability to monitor and manage supply chain and production activities with greater efficiency. The end goal is always lowering costs and increasing revenue throughout the business.
But to get these sweeping improvements, you must focus on measurable, specific and achievable goals. What do you want your business to look like at the end of the implementation? How will ERP help you reach those goals? What part will the project team play in the process? These are all questions that need to go into the goal-setting process, preferably before you even pick your software vendor—you're going to need to know what you're looking for after all. Read on to learn the ERP project goals you should be setting for your implementation!
It should go without saying that a project timeline is the foundation upon which the rest of your ERP project goals will be built. Deadlines should be set and enforced as much as possible. Setting loose, ballpark targets will allow employees to procrastinate and dodge responsibility for their specific tasks, causing your implementation to go off the rails.
Additionally, because the lifetime of an ERP project should be significant, there also needs to be a long-term, more generalized set of objectives built into your timeline. Look five to ten years down the line, and map out what your enterprise software system will look like. Are you making room in budgets and calendars for upgrades? Accounting for significant business growth? While your focus should rightly remain on a successful implementation and post go-live period, it’s dangerous to ignore the long-term implications of your new software. In the short term, you should be segmenting your project calendar based on deliverables—the next step of setting the right ERP project goals.
Deliverables are the documents that will outline every step along the way and should be the backbone of your ERP calendar. Deliverables will cover the entire range of your implementation, including the project plan, training strategy and a thorough documentation of all your business processes. These documents will be central to your organization’s ability to smoothly implement ERP, as they not only outline the goals you need to meet at each deadline, but also describe how those goals will be met. Deliverables are your roadmap. They identify the small goals along the way to go live, tracking your progress and motivating the project team.
Production Cost Reduction
Cost reduction is one of the main reasons that businesses pursue ERP implementations. ERP software devised specifically for manufacturing uniquely accommodates lean principles that seek to put your production cycle in line with demand, thereby cutting inventory costs. Before implementation, your project team should conduct a thorough analysis of your production costs across the board and then match that with the proposed savings ERP will allow.
Your new instance should cut inefficiencies in your manufacturing processes, scheduling, inventory management and more, saving time and money throughout your enterprise. You need an estimate for cost savings because it will be the foundation of one of the most important ERP project goals of all: ROI.
Return on investment (ROI) is quite rightly one of the core baselines by which ERP project success is measured. By calculating your total cost of ownership (TCO) and estimated future savings, you can map out your desired ROI for the ERP. The projected ROI decision needs to be made at the beginning of your implementation—otherwise, how will you justify the investment to executives and stakeholders? From the first step of the project to the last, the estimated return should be kept in mind to drive every decision in your implementation. If a certain move or software customization isn’t a necessity and will be making that ROI harder to reach in the long run, don’t go for it.
Along with the long-term cost estimation of the ERP system itself, project teams need to think about how the ERP software will slot into the broad future of the organization. No ERP instance is a silver bullet that magically comes into a company and instantly fixes all of its problems. That means your software will need to be modified over time. Some companies find that the best fitting enterprise software systems are built from a patchwork of "best of breed" systems from different vendors. Small businesses might spring for a simple, out-of-the-box implementation and pursue customizations as they grow.
Whatever the scale of your ERP project, you need to consider long-term business growth and objectives when you are setting goals. You don't need complex details for every single project you envision in your company's future, but a general understanding of long-term software requirements is critical for selecting a software vendor that can adapt to ongoing business developments.
Functionality and Ease of Use
Yes, ERP success needs to be measured on hard numbers to justify its cost, but it should be equally judged on its ease of use. In other words, will it make your employees' lives easier in the long run? It’s crucial that you work closely with every ERP end user in your company to understand their day-to-day tasks and align your new software to streamline activities. What specific processes will your ERP be intended to support? Go through the modules you are implementing, where they will be implemented and what each workflow will look like once the system has been put in place.
Bottom line: User adoption needs to be a priority when it comes to your ERP project goals. If no one uses the system to input information or support their work, it is just an empty piece of software—certainly not worth the significant investment you made in it.
Your ERP project goals will need to cover a wide range of factors and figures within your company in order for the implementation to have the structure it needs to succeed. In addition to ROI and cost reduction, an ERP project team needs to keep broader goals in mind—including ease of use and the long-term sustainability of the software. By combining specific, short-term ERP project goals with broad, long-term plans for the future of your software and your business, you can build a solid structure to ensure your company thrives for years to come.
Whether you need help building your own set of ERP project goals or you’re just setting out on an implementation and don’t even know where to begin, get in touch with an expert at Datix today! We have over 20 years of experience in helping clients select, map and implement ERP systems in line with their business processes. As an Epicor Gold Partner, we have the expertise to help you achieve all your ERP project goals.