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Editorials

10 Ways To Ensure Your ERP Implementation Is A Success

by Sean Balogh
Encompass Solutions, Inc.

It’s no secret that the manufacturing landscape is changing constantly and new technologies are emerging faster than ever. It is for these reasons that identifying which technologies will give your enterprise a competitive edge and allow it to weather the storm of disruption is essential. Adopting a unified ERP system to more efficiently connect and organize your operations is one such advantage. Here’s a list of 10 things you can do to ensure your ERP implementation is a success once you’ve identified which solution is right for your enterprise.

1. Pick The Right Partner For The Job: ERP Vendors, Consultants, and Partners

Who you enlist to assist with your implementation is a crucial component of ensuring your success, if not the most important factor contributing to the outcome project.

Don’t add yours to the long line of inefficient and outright failed ERP implementations by doing your due diligence and identifying a vendor, partner, ERP consulting firm, or other organization that speaks to your needs and connects with your organization, its goals, and desired outcomes. You and your teams will likely be working with these ERP experts for months on end, so it’s important to connect not just on a professional level, but a personal one too. After all, if you’re collaborating with someone you can’t stand, there is little chance the project will survive such a strained working relationship.

Trust your partner to know how to manage the project since it’s likely they’ve completed several implementations across an array of industries. It may mean giving up some control you’re used to maintaining, but the success of your project trumps comfort, without question.

2. Pick The Right Solution For Your Situation: Not All ERP Solutions Are Built Alike

There are ERP platforms that have been around for decades and ERP solutions that were developed as recently as last year. They all offer different value for their price. Some sacrifice capability for ease of use, while others sacrifice emphasis on one enterprise need at the expense of another. Whether you want an ERP solution that is cloud-based, hosted, on-premise or one that can be all three, options exist to address your enterprise’s needs. That doesn’t mean the search for the right fit will be easy.

Are you shopping for an ERP solution geared closer to process manufacturing, discrete manufacturing, or a service you provide? It’s better to measure twice and cut once. Don’t’ waste precious resources, like time, money, and labor, on a solution that won’t address your most critical of needs. Contact ERP vendors and consultants, arrange for demos of each solution and meet with your teams to understand what they’ll need out of the final product.

3. Plan For The Future: Going Beyond Go-Live

Your success doesn’t stop once things are up and running. How will your enterprise utilize your new ERP solution of the next 5 or 10 years? Upgrades, turnover, customizations as you enter new markets, and so many more factors await as you move forward.

You need a solution that grows with your business’ trajectory, which makes it even more critical to select a solution that can accommodate that new warehouse overseas or subsidiaries on the horizon. Changing regulations and compliance requirements at local, state, national, and international levels may be something you need to consider.

Going into your selection process with a roadmap of where the organization is going over the next decade will ensure you aren’t painted into an expensive corner. Plan as far as you can to give your partners the clearest picture of your intended journey as possible.

4. Staff Buy-in: On-Boarding Makes The Difference

Let’s put this out there first: nothing ensures a business’ success more than its employees. That said, you staff need to be on board with this transition or it’ll be destined to fail before it starts. It’s natural that change, especially significant change can be fear-inducing. However, with the right approach, your staff can come to embrace the coming change. Address their apprehensions, be prepared to give concrete answers to how the new system will address employee needs and make their jobs both easier and more efficient. Getting your staff to understand why this change is coming is integral in getting them on-board with how you go about implementing.

5. Sideline The Bureaucracy: Streamline Implementation

Bureaucracy is notorious for slowing down even the most efficient processes. EPR consultants and integrators are good at their jobs, when they’re allowed to operate. By getting the necessary parties involved from inception, you can avoid blockers to critical processes during implementation. This may depend on how many layers of management your organization had in place, but by clearing the channel to enable the ERP consultants to do their job without impediment, you can avoid bottlenecks and wasting precious resources in the process.

6. Establish Order: Project Roles And Responsibilities

When it comes to both in-house and external resources, making sure everyone has a clear understanding of their role and responsibilities during your ERP implementation process. Your partnered ERP consultant will walk you through the process and give recommendations on how best to delegate the workload during implementation. Ensure that you and your team know what’s going on at every stage to avoid bottlenecks and unintended setbacks.

7. An Opportunity To Redefine Your Business Processes

Your ERP consultants will likely conduct a business process review prior to beginning your ERP implementation. This is a critical time for your business to reevaluate how processes are carried out. While you may be tempted to replicate old ways of doing things on a new ERP platform, the new system enables your teams to make more efficient use of the tools at their disposal. Go back to the beginning and determine whether your organization should change the way they do things from the onset. Keep in mind, many ERP solutions come built in with the best practices of hundreds if not thousands of businesses in related industries.

8. Emphasize Clean Data

Old SKUs, incomplete, and just plain bad customer data don’t need to follow you into a new era for your business. make an impact with a new start that doesn’t leave room for shoddy work. Ensuring your recording and data practices are clean and clear from the start is the best way to ensure the right approach to record keeping and management is in your future.

9. Don’t Cut Corners On Training

Like onboarding, your team should be in it to win it when it comes to your ERP implementation. That means they need to know the software inside and out when it comes time to use the platform. A quality ERP consultant will get your staff trained in all the right tools needed for their given role. Instill confidence in your team by giving them the best training that money can buy, your business with prosper and your staff buy-in will increase with your investment.

10. Don’t Cut Ties After Go Live

When it comes time to use the new ERP solution on your own, chances are there will be bumps in the road as you move forward. This is where your team's training is proven and your reevaluated business processes are put to the test. Consider bringing on an ERP consultant that offers managed services and support beyond ERP implementation. Maintaining a solid professional relationship with partners can save your business a lot of unnecessary grief and precious resources in the long run. On the other end of a successful go-live, when your business hits the ground running and has a bright future ahead a good partner can enable your enterprise to take advantage of rapid development and position for expansion.

About Encompass Solutions
Encompass Solutions, Inc. is an ERP consulting firm and Epicor Platinum Partner that offers professional services in business consulting, project management, and software implementation. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems or addressing the emerging challenges in corporate and operational growth, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. As experts in identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.

 

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