In this multiple part series, we will discuss every step that you will have to take in order to succesfully implement an ERP system. In this final article, we will discuss that what you have been working so hard for: actually implementing ERP software.
Actually Implementing ERP Software
When you have selected the right ERP system for your company, you can start thinking avout the actual implementation of ERP. You should know the CSFs by now (your Critical Success factors). If you need to refresh your memeory, please read our first article: Preparing the project. These are the things that have to be done well for success. You should also have defines measurements for success as you need this before you start any project. The measurements for success help to motivate the staff during the implantation and keep everything on track in regards to your CSFs.
The Business Process Improvement
Your existing business process might not be the best way to do things so don’t assume that it is. You also don’t want to modify the new system to do what was done in the past. Have a solid understanding of existing business processes and talk to those that do the work. Find out the time spend on activities. If all personnel do the same thing such as waste about 15 minute per day, this adds up over the year and can cost a company thousands in lost revenues.
The Management of the Project
The success of the project comes down to the project management. This looks at the time, scope and budget of the project. Make sure you use a structure methodology when using project management. The manager should also not try to please everyone as they need some tough skin to do this job.
The Internal Champion
This is the person that will do what is required to get the job done. Projects will be successful if you have this sort of individual in charge of things.
Involvement of Employees
You need to get employees involved in the project. They may know critical business processes that you’re missing. People can be threatened by change so by involving them, they will be more supportive of what you’re trying to accomplish.
The Best People
Make sure you have your best individuals involved in your implementation. These people have the confidence of those around them, have the right attitude, and understand the business. Try to reduce their workload as the implementation will take a long time.
Your Risk Management
Know when risks may occur, the impact of them, and the types of risks that could impact you. Try to get all parties involved in mitigating those risks. Make sure those that are naysayers are a part of the risk management process.
Ensure you communicate frequently, formally, and informally with all those involved so they know what is going on.
Train the Trainer
The best way to cut your training costs and to get employees to know the system is for them to teach it.
You have many options to setup a new system. These can include conversion, customization, and integration. You need an iterative process until you have a finished prototype. This may take a few tries until it’s correct. You should get a representative sample of transactions and put this through the system and make sure you have controls as well as reports. You don’t want to go live until you have everything and everyone ready to go.
Customizations sometimes slow down the implementation and raise your costs. More problems can occur when you want to upgrade to a newer version. Customizations are warranted and are important for the business, but keep an eye on them.
Have a Phased in Approach
Most small and mid-sized businesses don’t have the manpower to do everything all at once so do this in phases.
Have a Review Post Implementation
You need to learn from mistakes to improve things so ensure you review the project and implementation after everything goes live.