Planning an ERP and implementing the project is a challenging venture for any company. Here are some best practices that will help you implement smoothly and effectively.
Get buy-in from the top
ERP selection and implementation requires research, purchasing, customization and implementation, and each of these steps takes time and resources. You’ll need support from the senior executives at your company, which can be challenging as you’ll have to justify the financial and human resources required. Ensuring your senior management understands the importance of this technology, and the extent of which a proper ERP can help your business grow.
Choosing the right solution
Choosing the right ERP solution is critical. Many vendors will try and oversell you on their product, and get you excited about features it offers, even if these are features that you’ll never use. ERP customization is key to a successful implementation, so choosing an ERP consultant that knows the product options, has learned your business and has a good understanding of which modules your company needs (and which is doesn’t), will be critical to helping you find the right solution for your company, without overpaying for modules and features you won’t use. Select your consultant carefully. Look for one with experience in your industry, and be sure to invest the time into building their knowledge of your business and every element of its operations.
Build the right team
Even after you’ve selected your consultant, a successful implementation requires a group of dedicated problem-solvers whose full-time job is this project. Find the brightest minds in your organization and assign them to this task. Because this will require back-filling their current positions, this is challenging to do, especially if you don’t have full buy-in from your senior executives.
Assign a strong leader
The best ERP implementations are led by diligent, curious, inspirational leaders who prioritize research and experimentation and do whatever it takes to stick to deadlines. This person should have both leadership and project management skills.
Every project manager at every company in every industry has battled scope creep. At some point, a stakeholder will push to broaden the scope of the project which typically diverts the project from its original purpose and causes deadlines to be moved and missed. The strong leader you’ve assigned should be empowered to push back and let stakeholders know that their requests can be tackled after the initial project is complete.
Invest in training
It’s important that your team is properly trained on the ERP system before you launch. About 30% of the resources dedicated to this project should be used for training and support.
Implementing ERP isn’t easy, but it’s certainly worthwhile. Things will go wrong at some point, but if you’ve implemented properly and trained thoroughly, you’ll prepared.