The implementation of a new ERP system is not easy. A decent product that suits your business, a vendor who knows the industry you are in, a good project approach; those are all things you need. But once you have made your decision, the implementation will follow shortly. And that is even much more complicated! Because it means a lot of hard work for your organization. And what else is important? And to what should you pay attention? Here are a couple of tips.
Make sure management is involved
An ERP implementation is not an IT project, but a business project. Management must therefore be closely involved and show commitment. If that is not the case, a project can quickly get derailed, making it much easier for employees to resist to all changes coming their way, changes that are inherent to a new ERP system.
Rome was not built in a day
As an ERP implementation goes hand in hand with new way working procedures, it is wise to not do everything at once. Not only the ERP system is new, the procedures and processes are new too and perhaps the way of doing business with customers and suppliers changes as well. You should start, depending on the impact of the changes, with the most necessary parts. When after the go-live things have come to peace, you can start implementing other functionalities. You can do this in multiple phases. Opt for quality, not for speed.
Keep your eyes on the road
Always keep in mind why you have chosen for a new ERP system. And do not lose that objective out of sight. Too often a new system offers so many new possibilities that one is inclined to directly take all of these new features along in the implementation. This takes so many extra effort and time, that this original objective might not get the full attention. So don’t do that. New features of the system that are outside of the original scope should be taken care of in a subsequent phase.
Quality takes time and money
Make sure the employees involved, the key users and project managers, have sufficient time available to carry out their work as key user and project manager. Do not underestimate the time they need to spend on the project. A key user will probably need a few days a week in order to turn the implementation into a success. And during the implementation his/her required effort is more likely to increase than to decrease. This of course means that a part of the normal work of these key user needs to be carried out by colleagues.
It is important that every single person in the organization is informed of what is going to happen. This way you create commitment from other employees to go the extra mile. At the start of an implementation make sure to have a kick-off meeting together with as many people possible, not just with those directly involved. Explain what is going to happen and what the consequences will be for everyone in the organization. After the kick-off meeting , provide regular project updates. This can be done easily by email or with a newsletter on the intranet.
No matter how good the ERP system is, if you don’t pay attention to all of the above, the implementation could fail.
Peter Gerhardt is Senior Lead Consultant Logistics at Dysel and helps customers achieve maximum results with business software.