Whether a company upgrades its current system or integrates one for the first time, the process of implementing an enterprise resource planning solution can often be lengthy and, at times, challenging. Without proper planning in place, the system launch could experience setbacks that not only put your upgrade behind schedule, but cost your company money as well.
These seven tips will add efficiency to your company's ERP implementation, ultimately keeping it on-time and on-budget:
1. Work with a trusted consulting company
Hiring a knowledgeable and respected ERP consultant is undoubtedly one of the best things internal overseers can do when it comes to a system upgrade. Without a leader, the process could quickly unravel. A reputable consulting company, on the other hand, will not only ensure the software fits the needs of your business, but will also work tirelessly to smooth out the implementation process from start to finish.
2. Promote or hire an internal manager
On a similar note, it's quite possible your company should consider hiring an internal source to oversee project management. Regardless of whether that employee is promoted from within or recruited outside of the organization, ERP experience is of the utmost importance to such a position.
It's worth noting, however, this individual should not be the only manager overseeing an ERP implementation. Instead, they should be coordinating with an outside consultant to keep communications – and the project – moving on both sides.
3. Consistently encourage communication
One of the easiest and most obvious ways to set the stage for success with an ERP implementation is to eliminate confusion throughout the process. Consequently, project managers must elaborate on what the system means for the company and how it will serve needs in the future.
As things progress, managers should also keep employees informed of the next steps and clearly outline their roles within the implementation process.
4. Allow for flexibility within your budget
Though project overseers should go to great lengths to create and adhere to the budget for their organization's ERP tool, they may not always be able to properly assess the situation. For example, unforeseen expenses may arise as software is customized to fit your business's needs. For this reason, your company should allocate an extra 5 to 10 percent of the project's total budget to a 'just in case' fund – allowing for some financial flexibility as the implementation process continues.
5. Address security issues early on
Putting proper security measures, such as passwords, user controls and firewalls, in place will protect your company's data. It could also prevent the need to spend money fixing issues that arise in the future.
Similarly, archiving old data before an upgrade may help reveal business trends and correlations that save time and money down the road. As noted by Tech Republic, archiving will also speed up table conversions and build upon the end-user experience – both of which are vital to a project's success.
6. Ensure training is properly carried out
Having the proper training methods and manuals in place will increase the efficiency across your warehouse floor upon the launch of an ERP solution – ultimately saving time and money down the road. When employees are more comfortable with a system, they will be able to employ it and utilize its benefits to the fullest extent.
7. Carry out a dress rehearsal before launch
Simulating a going live test for your solution will provide insight into your software's progress and functionality before taking the product to the floor for the long run. According to Tech Republic, a dress rehearsal should be conducted under the same conditions you'll have in place when the software eventually goes live. Doing so will enable project managers to detect issues early and fix them before launch time.