With the endless possibilities of your ERP system, it is important to make clear rules about how you work with the software. What steps do you go through to complete a specific process? It is important to write this down in work instructions.
Work instructions for an ERP system
In a work instruction you explain step by step what the user should do. For example, to make a quote or invoice, to draw up a rental contract or to complete a sales order. It is important that the work instruction is written very clearly, so that someone who is going to perform the task for the first time can do it completely independently. Also, the work instruction should not be too detailed or too technical, but should match the knowledge and skills of the employee performing the task. A work instruction does not cover a complete process from, for example, service request to invoicing. Such an extensive process includes several work instructions, such as creating a quote, creating an order, executing a work order and creating an invoice.
What are the benefits?
If you know how to work with the system, why would you spend time putting the work instruction on paper? There are a few important reasons to do this:
- The work instruction provides clarity: not only for you, but also for the rest of the organization. And not only now, but also in the future.
- The work instruction is useful in employee training: the work instruction is perfect for training purposes. When the system is implemented, but also for new employees. You ensure that knowledge does not get lost.
- The work instruction allows you to think critically about processes and working methods: writing down work instructions forces you to think carefully about your business processes and way of working. Is the process efficient? And complete? Or can you improve it?
"It is important that the work instruction is written very clearly, so that someone who is going to perform the task for the first time can do it completely independently."
Keep it up to date
It is very important for work instructions to keep them up to date. Over time, changes or extensions to the work instructions may be required, because of various reasons:
- Changes to the software: you might request changes to the software, or your partner might make changes. An extra field can already ask for a change in the work instruction. And you will need to create new work instructions when you implement additional modules or solutions.
- Changes in processes: the best way of working right now might be different from the best way of working in the future. And when you adjust your process, working method or procedures, this impacts your work instructions.
- Upgrade to a new version: a new version of the software brings changes. Chances are that your processes and work instructions remain largely the same, but there may be small differences.
- Multiple languages required: in which language or languages do you draw up your work instructions? The choice you make here has an influence on keeping the work instructions up to date. For example, if you choose two languages, you will need to keep both sets of work instructions up to date.
You are not alone when creating work instructions. Ask your software partner for documentation. This will broadly match your way of working, but you may need to adjust a few process descriptions and work instructions. It is smart to make someone responsible for maintaining the work instructions. He or she can make the work instructions available in a central location and update them when necessary.