When going through the implementation of an enterprise resource planning system, one question should be asked: Are the users getting the most out of the experience? If they are, then they should have no issue with using the program as is. However, as we've discussed recently, user workarounds remain an issue. This matters even when using a strong platform such as Microsoft Dynamics NAV. Some workers may believe that they're getting around certain features for the benefit of others. However, they create major problems for workers down the line. Avoiding the creation of these shortcuts can benefit the company in the long run.
Defying the creation
Sometimes, workarounds appear not just while the system is active, but during the implementation process itself. There are various reasons that this can occur over time, according to ERP Focus. The first is that different processes on the shop floor are handled in an inconsistent manner. This variability can lead to the data being delivered to be corrupt and possibly unreliable over time, which can hamper performance. The best way that this can be resolved before everything goes live is through change management, which often requires operations to be altered to better suit the needs of the software.
Another important aspect is employee education and training. Even though software platforms such as Dynamics NAV have made things easier through mobile device functionality and more consumer-centric user interfaces, all that is meaningless if a worker turns it on for the first time and doesn't understand what's happening on the screen. Educating employees on how the software actually functions in relation to what they work on every day can make a significant difference. The more they know, the less likely they trying to figure out ways around the system to perform their duties.
Keeping an eye on things
One problem that creates opportunities for workarounds during implementation is a lack of metrics that can identify areas of inefficiency. When these aren't spotted, staff members may feel compelled to go around the system to perform certain tasks. With measures such as timekeeping software in place to evaluate performance, this issue is greatly mitigated, holding employees to task on certain issues while also improving productivity overall.
Monitoring the system is essential, even after the implementation is complete. Microsoft Dynamics developer Josh Richards wrote in the Dynamics Community blog that this extends beyond metrics and into employee behavior. A single IT employee, for instance, could disrupt operations through a workaround simply because they're not being supervised at a critical moment. Therefore, keeping track of user-specific actions can help companies prevent these issues from ever popping up.
Tracking changes to the software or its uses requires management to have a significant amount of training, enough that managers and shop floor supervisors should have a better understanding of the software and its various workflows than their employees do. This serves two purposes. For one, training allows management to identify areas where workarounds are happening. For another, these people knowing about the software gives them the opportunity to fix the problem by teaching the employees what to do instead.
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.