The search is over and the contract is signed, so your journey to a new ERP for your process manufacturing company is over, right? While there is excitement regarding the opportunity to learn cutting-edge software, it may be mitigated by the uncertainty of how the transition to a new system will come to fruition. We suggest your company keeps the following four key components in mind during the ERP implementation process to enable you to remain focused on success.
Change is disconcerting for many stakeholders and can often lead to uncertainty within the organization. How your company approaches change management is key to successful implementation. Creating an internal team with a knowledgeable ERP administrator is beneficial to facilitate the transition process. In exercising their responsibilities, the team creates and implements a structured change management plan that works closely with the chosen ERP partner. They focus on increasing efficiency, maximizing best practices and improving overall business performance, while also addressing the stress and anxiety for employees that can accompany a company-wide change in technology.
Flexibility among all participants to allow time for training, planning, on-site visits, scenario testing and other implementation-related events that occur along the way is key. While tasks related to transitioning to an ERP system often require attention for much of the work day, regular work responsibilities loom as well. Finding a balance between the two is of utmost importance. Deviations from original implementation schedule can also occur. Lastly, implementation plan deviations, budgetary adjustments, technology upgrades and company-specific requirements require flexibility for all key users.
When choosing an ERP provider, it is vital to select one that provides ongoing customer support that continues long after the software go live. Additionally, a vendor that caters specifically to your industry is especially advantageous as they are able to utilize their prior experience to provide suggestions, solutions and training exercises throughout implementation and beyond. The ERP partner knows your needs and speaks your language, making the implementation process more streamlined and successful for all involved. While the focus and purpose provided by both the ERP vendor and internal team is adjusted over time, both continue in supportive roles far beyond the initial ERP implementation.
While the aforementioned components are important, communication is the thread that is woven through all of them. A communication plan includes regular meetings with the project manager and key stakeholders to make sure implementation process stays on schedule and creates a buy-in for all employees within your organization. Forthright and honest communication of the implementation process is a necessity and will go a long way to addressing company morale and mitigating the fear and uncertainties a new system could bring.
While the implementation of an ERP system may seem daunting, time-consuming and risky, the reward and ROI for a successful implementation is ten-fold. A truly successful ERP implementation does not rely solely on the system’s implementation team, but the willingness of the stakeholders to invest in change management, flexibility, continuous support and communication.