An ERP implementation is a time-consuming project. One of the most important aspects in order to turn it into a success is 'focus'. Do not try to include everything in the project, do not hang on too much on details or minor issues and be determined when it comes to making decisions.
Do not put everything in ERP
ERP software is comprehensive, but not the perfect solution to everything that goes on in your organization. When you put everything in ERP the project becomes far too complicated and the result you get at the go-live will be far from optimal. Use, for example, for technical drawings a drawing program and keep certain processes out of the scope of the project to include them in your ERP system later on.
Focus on the standard processes
ERP software supports business processes throughout the whole organization. What these processes look like is something you define together with your colleagues and with your software partner. This will soon bring up a bunch of exceptions to the rule. And of course it is wise to keep in mind that a process sometimes takes a different rout or includes an extra step, but you do not want to cover every exception in ERP. Because you do not want to focus on something that happened just once before or happens only every few years. Focus on the standard processes; what do these look like and how can you automate these in the ERP system? Take good care of this and you will get a good system. You can resolve those exceptions to the rule later on with a work-around, a solution outside the system or, if necessary, with customizations.
No matter what, an ERP implementation confronts you with some important decisions. You will have to think about how to set up processes. Do you opt for centralized or decentralized purchasing of parts? What tasks do you assign to your technicians and what will you consciously not bother them with? How much structure will you bring to your sales department and how much freedom do you give your sales people? It is important that you take well-informed decisions. Make a list of all the pros and cons and then take your decision. You will disappoint people and you will experience certain downsides. However, that may not stop you and your team from being decisive. Too often, difficult choices are postponed and pushed aside, but that causes delay and confusion. Make sure you are well-informed about the choices regarding the processes, listen to the experts in your organization and at the software partner and then take a decision you are fully confident about with the entire project group.
The go-live with the software is an important moment, but not the end. Once you run successfully with the ERP system, you can focus on things you left out of scope in the implementation. You initiate optimization processes to refine business processes and to start using additional functionalities. This is how you turn a good ERP system into an excellent ERP system.
Luuk Busschers is Consultant at Dysel and helps customers to achieve their goals by using industry-specific ERP software.