How to Make Your ERP Project a Success
In today’s manufacturing and distribution marketplace, enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is essential for business success. ERP empowers organizations to control their operations from top to bottom. Data is consolidated in a single solution to provide transparency and encourage interdepartmental collaboration. Comprehensive tools and analytics give users the capability to enhance efficiency, cut costs and improve decision making.
But here’s the catch: Even though ERP is a must for modern enterprise success, not all ERP implementations end in success. When businesses don’t follow best practices, they end up wasting their software investment. Follow these five tips to prevent your ERP implementation from ending in failure.
1. Have an ERP Selection Process
No part of the ERP implementation process should be rushed, and that includes vendor selection. Going straight to Google to look up different solutions isn’t the way to start your ERP search. First, put together a selection team of managers and stakeholders. This team will determine what your business needs from a new solution. Find out where you’re falling short in your performance and prioritize the ERP functionality that is most important to supporting your operations. Once you’ve documented your functional and technical requirements, you can start browsing websites and emailing providers and resellers to set up demos with vendors that support your industry.
Laying out your requirements is critical to finding a solution that truly fits your enterprise. Companies easily get persuaded by flashy demos and engaging sales reps. At each demo and meeting, don’t get distracted and lose sight of your software needs. With a solid ERP selection plan in place, you can invest in the best solution for your enterprise.
2. Maintain Open Communication
Disaster strikes any ERP project when relevant parties aren’t in agreement. Senior executives aren’t convinced the software is worth the cost, while managers crave an IT overhaul to optimize processes. Some users look forward to a new system, while the rest fear a change to their daily routines. These oppositions often hold businesses back, but open communication can help them move forward.
Those who advocate for an ERP implementation must thoroughly make the case for its value. Show where current processes are lagging and specific ways that ERP can improve operations and give your business an advantage in the marketplace. Invite input from all users, asking for both their pain points and concerns with the new project. By instilling communication throughout the process, you can gain approval for the implementation and keep the project on track.
3. Determine TCO and ROI
The point of an ERP solution is to add value to your enterprise. To determine the best way to implement your software to strengthen your bottom line, you’ll need to calculate the total cost of ownership (TCO) and return on investment (ROI). Many factors go into calculating TCO, such as licensing fees, maintenance costs and customizations. Make sure you’re not leaving anything out when you’re estimating the cost of your investment.
You also don’t want to leave anything out of your ROI calculations. Assign values to the improvements you expect from your solution. How will leaner production lines translate to higher savings? Will workflow automation save you in overtime payments or error handling costs? How much can you save in returns and recalls with better quality control? These numbers will help you select the best vendor, prioritize implementation goals and create a realistic budget.
4. Automate Processes Effectively
One of the advantages of ERP implementation that businesses look forward to the most is process automation. However, it takes some work to make process automation effective. Automating your current workflows might just make poor workflows run faster, adding little value to your enterprise. Therefore, you’ll need to undergo business process modeling, detecting current pain points and creating a map of new and improved business processes.
Once business processes are rewritten, your project team can begin automation. It takes some time to make sure data and workflows move smoothly. Implementations often experience issues when project teams are rushed during this activity. Give them the time to fully execute this stage of the implementation. When you automate processes correctly, you can enjoy unprecedented efficiency from the top floor to the shop floor.
5. Be Clear on Expectations
We can’t stress it enough: ERP implementation success hinges on your company’s understanding of what to expect from your software and the project itself. Businesses often lack internal ERP expertise, making them completely lost when they start planning the implementation. Teaming up with people who have extensive ERP experience is critical to executing your project. A consulting firm will understand what it takes to align your software to your business needs. Certified consultants follow a proven methodology to mitigate risk and adhere to best practices. They also help clients have reasonable expectations for their ERP implementation.
A successful ERP implementation requires a careful consideration of all angles of your business and adherence to software best practices. But this isn’t something that most manufacturers and distributors can pull off without help from a software expert. That’s why you should team up with the consultants at Datix.
An Infor Gold Partner, Datix has implemented ERP software for over 20 years. Our certified consultants know all the Infor CloudSuite consulting tricks to executing your ERP project in line with your business requirements. We provide a variety of services and solutions designed to drive value throughout your software’s lifetime.
Count on our ERP experts to transform your business through software. Contact Datix today to make your ERP implementation a success!