Many ERP implementations do not proceed as expected. The project takes too long, the costs are too high and, most importantly: the expected benefits for the company are not or only partially achieved. With these 6 steps your ERP implementation stays within scope and you increase the chance of realizing benefits for your business.
1. Understand the current situation
Before you start selecting and implementing an ERP system, you must understand the current situation in your company. How do you work now, with which systems and why does this need to be improved? What are the most important issues and frustrations among employees and what negative consequences does this have for the success of your company? This requires interviews with employees in all departments and an extensive assessment of the organization.
2. Set clear objectives
Once you understand the current situation in the company, it's time to improve things. It’s tempting to try to tackle everything immediately, but that is not realistic. An ERP implementation is a major project and to make this a success it is important to focus on the key topics. Therefore, set clear, realistic objectives that you want to achieve with the ERP project and choose a partner and ERP system that will help you with that.
3. Create organizational support
You might be a huge supporter of the project, but that is not enough. The rest of the organization must also realize that the changes are necessary. There must be support for the ERP implementation in all departments of the organization. Management must support the project, but end-users in all departments must also see that the ERP system will make their work easier. Without organizational support, the project is doomed to fail.
"The scope of the project must be clearly defined, and the project planning must provide guidance and clarity."
4. Prepare a clear project plan
You know what you want, and the entire organization is ready for it. A common mistake in ERP projects is to then just start without a clear project plan. Make sure that you clearly document how the project should be completed. Who does what, when and with what result? The scope of the project must be clearly defined, and the project planning must provide guidance and clarity. Only with a clear project plan can you make adjustments in time, remind people of their responsibilities and complete the project within time and budget.
5. Stick to the agreements
Does someone suddenly want to broaden the scope of the project? Does one of the key users have no time to fulfill his or her tasks in the project? Is there no or insufficient testing? These are all serious threats to the project. Make sure that everyone commits to what you have agreed upon and immediately step up if this does not happen. A change in the scope or postponing tasks is only permitted if the project steering committee considers this acceptable or necessary and therefore agrees.
6. Measure the results and manage where necessary
Already during the ERP implementation, it is important to measure results. Is the process indeed much faster now? Do you get insights that you didn't have before? You can manage all this where necessary. For example, by changing processes, adjusting the setup or spending extra time on a topic during user training. Even after the go-live, continuously measuring and monitoring whether you achieve the intended results is very important.
These steps are not a guarantee of success, because unfortunately there are no guarantees. But by following these steps you are better prepared for setbacks and you avoid some of the biggest pitfalls in ERP implementations.
Ivan Dale is Project Manager at Dysel North America and leads in that role the consultancy team to achieve successful projects together with customers.