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When it comes to optimizing your business and strategically planning for the future, an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution can play a vital role in taking your company to where you want it to be. But in order to maximize the power of such a system, you need a plan in place for the ERP implementation.
The Challenges of an ERP Implementation
ERP systems allow companies to configure and synchronize a variety of organizational processes together to save resources and maximize efficiency in an ever-changing business environment. However, to assume that an ERP implementation is easy would be a big miscalculation. Here are some of the challenges organizations face:
- It takes time for employees to learn how to use a new ERP system. Educating and training employees on the correct methodologies and procedures can be resource-intensive.
- The actual process of implementing the new system from a technological point of view can take time and energy away from other core business activities.
- Robust ERP systems have maintenance costs attached to them. This can get expensive if not properly addressed. What’s more, there’s also the cost of upgrading internal hardware and processes.
- In today’s landscape, security is always a big deal. If cybersecurity isn’t prioritized, major problems will ensue.
Any one of these challenges might not be a big deal in isolation. However, when they’re layered on top of one another, they become problematic.
5 Tips for ERP Implementation
ERP implementation isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be impossible, either. With a little planning, you can get it right. Here are some helpful tips for a seamless ERP rollout:
1. Ensure Support from Management
If you want any ERP implementation to be successful from the start, you need complete support and commitment from all members of management, not just one or two decision-makers. If everyone is on board with the decision to select a particular ERP solution, you’ll find it much easier to develop effective policies and procedures.
2. Set Goals for the ERP Implementation
If you study companies that fail to facilitate smooth ERP implementations, you’ll find that many of them fail to set goals or develop realistic timelines. Therefore, in order to streamline your own approach and bring some clarity to the process, make sure you set some objectives and build out a schedule.
On the other hand, timelines and milestones should be realistic. Also, don’t fall behind, lest small delays become major problems. Any delay in the schedule can be difficult to make up and will limit your overall efficacy.
3. Establish a Validation Process
A new ERP system is a significant investment. Moreover, it requires hundreds of hours of planning (and even more for proper implementation). Thus, it makes zero sense to do it on your own.
Further, make sure you use an ERP validation solution to ensure proper compliance and maximum protection. The product should be tailored to the specific ERP system you’re using (and the industry it will be used in). For example, Arbour Group offers a pre-packaged Infor ERP validation solution for the life sciences industry. Find one that works for your organization.
4. Hire the Right People for the ERP Implementation
In addition to selecting a good ERP validation solution, be sure to hire the right consultant for your company’s ERP implementation. Someone with industry experience facilitating ERP implementation can be enormously helpful. This is because the process can take weeks—if not months. So it’s important that you choose professionals who have both technical competency and soft skills.
On a related note, you need to prioritize communication between your team and any consultants you’re working with (as well as with the vendor). When in doubt, over-communicate. Within this context, it’s better to say too much than nothing at all.
5. Train Employees
As mentioned above, training of employees is one of the major challenges of any ERP implementation. It takes time and commitment to learn a new way of operating. You can take proactive measures to mitigate the burden on employees by planning ahead and implementing a cohesive training experience that works in tandem with the ERP rollout.
Putting It All Together
You need a plan of attack for an ERP implementation. That’s the moral of the story. The more you understand the challenges you face, the less likely it is they’ll sink you. Take your time and do your due diligence along the way. The smoother the rollout, the more likely it is that your ERP system will benefit your organization in profound ways.