Overwhelmed by ERP?
Companies new to enterprise resource planning (ERP) software tend to approach projects with great trepidation—or outright panic. Growing small to midsize manufacturers and distributors will reach a point when they recognize that QuickBooks and Excel alone aren’t cutting it. However, they can’t fathom undergoing a difficult, time-consuming ERP implementation with a small IT team or no IT personnel whatsoever. How do they determine the right vendor? Will this project even be worth it? At this point, an SMB is screaming, “HELP!”
Though we don’t want to leave companies with the impression that ERP implementations should be taken lightly—after all, any major business change requires contemplation and enterprise-wide effort—software projects don’t need to induce immense stress. The process of selecting and installing ERP may seem overwhelming at first, but with some planning and the right consulting team, it doesn’t have to cause a major headache. Furthermore, an ERP implementation should be a cost-effective, organized project that doesn’t interrupt daily business tasks. By following our tips, your business can execute its first ERP implementation to enhance operations.
Assess Business Processes
Before looking up ERP vendors, set priorities by assessing your business processes and goals. If you don’t know the tasks employees perform, the data different departments require and the operations in need of improvement, there’s no chance that you will find the software that aligns with your company. Identify the employees and departments who will be utilizing the ERP system and make sure you understand their roles and tasks.
Don’t leave a single stone unturned. Daily practices aren’t the only ones worthy of attention. Even those occasional operations should be noted so they are supported in the software instance. Once expectations and goals are fully communicated and prioritized, you can begin the process of finding a vendor that meets your specific guidelines.
Build a Team
An ERP implementation is guaranteed to end in disarray if a software project team isn’t in place. A project team with well-defined roles prevents your office from running around in panic, performing the wrong tasks and straying further and further from the end goals.
Determine which staff members can dedicate time away from their current roles to complete project goals. Who has the leadership skills to take charge of the implementation? Who can provide documentation throughout the process and manage the schedule? Who can define business processes? You can read more here about which team roles are needed for project success. A well-organized, collaborative project team drives progress and efficiency in ERP implementations.
Keep it Simple
Immense configuration and customization options for ERP systems overwhelm businesses of any size and from all ERP backgrounds. Larger businesses with complex processes or multiple sites must look into these options in order to gain a system that meets highly specified needs. For smaller manufacturers embarking on their first ERP instance, however, it’s best to stick with the basics. Go for a fast, easy implementation that still provides comprehensive modules for core processes. The more customizations, the more complicated, costly and time-consuming your ERP project will become.
An SMB migrating from QuickBooks to a robust ERP system will find dramatic improvement in their efficiency without intense customizations. Plus, if the ERP instance is scalable and flexible, modules and features can be added later to support your enterprise as it expands.
Find an ERP Consultant
Especially for your first ERP implementation, the smartest thing your business can do is find a trusted consulting firm. ERP consultants mitigate risk, offering end-to-end support so your business avoids common project pitfalls. Consulting firms include industry experts who can help you map your business processes and find areas that could use improvement. They can then guide you in determining the right vendor and implementing your new ERP instance according to best practices. Consultants will even provide support beyond go-live through maintaining and upgrading your system.
Your first ERP implementation doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience. For smaller businesses, Datix recommends one of our fixed-fee Epicor packages for manufacturing or distribution. Our fixed-fee implementation is the easiest way to get started with ERP, ensuring project ROI by providing cloud-hosted Epicor ERP on a fast schedule and low price point. There are no surprises and no hidden fees—just core Epicor modules implemented swiftly and easily by our expert consultants.
With over 20 years of enterprise software expertise, Datix has the top software consultants for mid-market manufacturers and distributors. We have developed extensive industry knowledge and honed our skills in business process modeling. An Epicor Gold Partner, we have been distinguished as one of the premier Epicor experts, but we go above and beyond ERP to provide CRM, eCommerce and integration solutions to meet any and all of our clients’ software needs.
Ready for your first ERP project? Get in touch with Datix’s enterprise software professionals today!