Every organization has some form of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). An ERP automates an organization's business process. There are times where an organization feels they have outgrown it and look to implement a new system. However, a correct ERP implementation methodology should be chosen. To successfully implement an ERP they must take the time to plan, design, test, and continually make improvements. Here are 5 key methods for a successful ERP implementation.
1 - Have a Roundtable of Why the Organization Wants and Need a New ERP
It’s not easy implementing a new ERP. It takes time, money, and dedicated resources that could very well be used for something else. Just because it’s the latest thing to do does not mean it’s the right thing to do. It’s a serious step and the ROI should be easily justified and measured. Goals should be clearly documented. A few important reasons an organization would want to make this change involve:
- To come to a uniform platform and not continue with the integration of legacy and newer platforms.
- To increase process improvements and decision-making strategies
- To make data more visible and accessible for all
- To reduce operation costs
- To increase customer satisfaction levels
2 - Get the Appropriate Team Members for a Project Management Team
Gather important players to be on the team. The project management team should be diversified with someone from each department.
- Have a project team leader that everyone should report to. They should have some experience with leadership, have excellent organization and communication skills, and able to take control of difficult situations.
- Have enough people on the team to spread the workload. Work overload is one key factor in an ERP development turning disastrous. If they can focus their duties strictly on the project that would be best.
- Have key team members. These members should be knowledgeable of their job and the structure of their department. It’s critical to have people on the team that understand the goals fully.
3 - Have the Support and Access to Top Level Management
Besides being aware of the ERP implementation process an organization should have a strong support system from their top level management. Often there will be conflicting issues and needs. This is the time for the decision makers to work that out. They should be aware of time sensitivity also. Some projects may have to sit until a final decision is given from executive management.
4 - Create the Plan
Once all of the key members are in place and the goals are set forth, it’s time to create and document the plan.
- Meet with various vendors. Make sure their software can satisfy the business requirements. Each vendor offers a unique ERP implementation methodology regarding their planning and setup.
- Set realistic expectations such as the resource requirements, milestone deliveries, budgets, and final date before the release of the new ERP.
- Meet with other outside professionals. A final review of the ERP implementation methodology should be done with an outside consultant who can advise if these are truly the correct steps and plan to be implemented. They can help adjust the plan.
5 - Implement and Train All Departments
Once the ERP is completed it’s time to implement it and test it. During the testing phase the organization can start training departments in phases. They may want to start out with a small implementation team to test it and offer suggestions. Ensure it’s a well laid-out and carefully planned training program.
As a final note organizations need to be patient. It will not be an overnight process to have a successfully integrated ERP. It will take time to blend well with the organizational needs.
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