Finding the causes of problems in ERP change management

When completing an implementation of an enterprise resource planning system such as Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015, organizational change management is often a necessity. The full benefits of the software can only be realized if the business' processes align with the software's, not the other way around. Every person, from the shop floor employee to the chief executive of the company, has to readjust their routines to ensure that the implementation goes without a hitch. So, it's possible that change management goes wrong in certain ways, from the bottom to the top. Figuring out these mistakes ahead of time can help prevent problems from accumulating, leading to cost overruns and delays.

The key players in the wrong positions
In terms of ERP implementation, it's almost a given that the most important figures in the project are the people who are expected to use the software. With that said, however, some implementation teams fail to take that basic fact into consideration, according to ERP Focus. The one mistake is that the project is that the team is separated from the rest of the company, and that attempts to integrate potential every day users are ignored. That only further alienates them, and creates a situation where issues that could easily be resolved aren't seen until after go-live, which causes a lot of problems that hamper operations.

More importantly, the expected users on the implementation team should be the best workers on the staff. However, managers tend to get cold feet because they lose such productive members of the group, and choose instead to install members who are less experienced, perhaps as a way to prove their mettle. That's a huge mistake, for an ERP project requires a lot of time, resources, money and responsibility. To give that to newer workers presents a great risk of failure. A better way to test mettle is to have the top players on the ERP team while the lesser experienced staff take their roles during the process, or just hire some new people.

The leader that is needed
Along with change management on the bottom, the figures at the top of the company should be willing to commit to changes with the implementation. As said, ERP alters a company's business processes, from workflows to production schedules, and the firm's leadership has to adjust to these circumstances.

In previous years, change management has focused on the softer side, including company culture and motivation. However, the Harvard Business Review notes that hard factors, ones that can actually be measured, play a greater role. These are often done in surprising ways. For example, the length of the project should matter as much as businesses think it does. Instead, there should be a concern over how frequent are reviews on the project, since that allows the project to maintain a steady course. Another area is commitment: Executives that aren't fully backing a project will project that downward on the hierarchy, which in turn makes it much harder to get everyone on board. Only through effective, responsible and passionate leadership can the project's success be fully realized.

Learn how to define your ERP strategy by downloading the white paper entitled "ERP in Manufacturing: Defining the ERP Strategy" from the DMS website today.