There are many advantages to implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system in your company.
From rapid access to vital information like supplier and customer data, to having a management dashboard that shows only the information you need to make quick decisions based on realtime data. Every company needs an ERP. Period. A correct implementation can lead to competitive advantages hard to see without one.
But 99% done isn’t done, so until the implementation is 100% complete, all processes are integrated, and all departments connected, you can’t really expect get the true value and competitive edge from the system.
Here are some of the top pitfalls to avoid when implementing:
- Not getting full Executive Buy-In: Bringing all the functional managers together is critical for the implementation process. Achieving a better understanding of the key business functions in a company requires every decision-maker to participate and not be hindered by technological barriers.
- Making it a Single Department Project: You can’t drive a car with only one wheel and you can’t get value by creating a tool for a single department without connecting the other departments. A Single point of truth for your business means all the data has to be analyzed in order gain intelligence, not just the data from one department.
- No Project Manager and Other Key Stakeholders: While your ERP supplier will most likely assign a full time project manager, or at least they should, there has to be a company employee responsible and ready to answer timely and unexpected questions about the project to smooth out this very complex process. Additionally, it is important to identify and involve other key contributors and stakeholders in your team, such was your Head of IT or Marketing, that can offer valuable insight and guidance during the planning and implementation. If you do not consider their input and insight, you might be making a very expensive mistake, either because of missed opportunities or problems that arise due to lack of relevant information.
- Not Anticipating Change: The competitive landscape is ever-changing so while some out-of-the-box solutions provide tools that appear to make your life easier, they are actually very limiting and force you to adapt your business to the software instead of the software adapting to your business. Be sure to anticipate that the needs of the business will change and ensure that the system can be modified and adapted when they do, otherwise you will face the same issues you are trying to resolve now, again and again.
- Lack of Training: ERP, just as any tool, is only as good as the people who use it. If you don’t train your staff to use it properly you can’t expect a better competitive edge. One of the ways to lower the learning curve for your team, and consequently increase the return on investment, is to integrate the existing business process and social dynamic that your employees are used to, thereby lowering their resistance to change and shortening the time it takes to see results and returns.
- Lack of Documentation: Training is more about teaching the staff where to look, then what to do. To do that, proper documentation has to be in writing, guides, tutorials and, most importantly, application tutorials directly in the software, at the point of use, where it is most needed. Make sure you plan and ask how your system will be documented for your processes and what training options are available to maximize the investment in your new ERP.
Thanks for reading!