Benefits? Of course. ERP software allows businesses to manage effectively and derive value from their data, streamline and standardize processes, and even some core business functions to be automated, giving employees time to focus on tasks that require more attention. With the market expected to be worth $41.69 billion by 2021, many companies are adopting an ERP system at a fast pace. It would seem that those that don’t adopt, will soon be left behind. The value of these systems to manufacturers is massive, and the sector has more buyers and users of ERP than any other industry. However, ERP systems, if not done properly, can be difficult and time-consuming to integrate. It can also be challenging to implement ERP without major disruption to business-as-usual operations; it’s a bit like trying to change an airplane engine while still in the air. Therefore, having the right team to implement and manage this process is critical. Here’s how to build the perfect implementation team for your project:
Key Players you NEED
No. 1 – Executive Sponsor
You may have heard the Gartner statistic floating around that ERP implementations have a 50-75 percent failure rate. While this shouldn’t scare businesses, it is important that executives are on board and involved in the project from the start.
Executives need to set the tone for the vision and end-goals of the ERP project, as well as being engaged throughout. They need to develop realistic scope and expectations, communicate this across the company, and be accountable for the success of the project. It’s vital that the executives define and feel comfortable with the process as the best way to do it is with a clear definition from the beginning.
No. 2 – Implementation Partner
When implementing an ERP solution, the consulting partner you select is just as important as the software itself—if not more so. Remember, your ERP is only as good as the people who work with it. It’s a big, transformational project and will require consistent consulting. A good implementation partner will have a strong track record of success, and the ability to see the project through to the end and beyond.
Although it will be ideal that the implementation partner could be the same provider, you’ll need someone with technical and functional knowledge, you also want someone who has business acumen and, a deep understanding of your industry and the possible pain points.
No. 3 – Core Team
Your core team members are the ones who live and breathe the project on a daily basis. Assign each member a specific area of ownership and allow people to ‘own’ their individual responsibilities within the project. Core team members should have good knowledge of business processes in their domain, coordinate with the project manager and help with testing the system, as well as training end-users.
A direct contact, all companies need someone capable to get familiar with the system and spread the knowledge around. In that way, if there any doubts or misunderstandings, those can be clarified internally. They’ll need to be available to sign off requirements, report on the project process and continue motivating the core team on resolving any issues that arise.
Guiding Principles for a Successful Implementation
No. 1 – Choose people for Competency and Ability, not job Title or Status
It’s tempting to choose people who are already existing team members on their hierarchical role in the company, but this is a mistake. Managerial level employees aren’t necessarily more knowledgeable, and the project could take them away from their usual tasks. Instead, choose experienced, savvy employees from across the company or hire externally someone who has had experience with this in the past; they’re more likely to be dedicated to the project and new responsibilities can act as a motivator.
No. 2 – Communicate and Manage Change Effectively
It’s important for those implementing the ERP system to communicate a clear vision, plan and timescale across the company. This is often overlooked, which can cause huge problems with adoption by end-users after implementation. Remember that those not involved in the management of the ERP are the ones who will be using it on a daily basis, so try and involve them in the implementation as much as possible; find out their pain points and help them understand how the system will help solve them. Make sure you manage change effectively when rolling out the software and give proper training to all employees.
No. 3 – Empower your Implementation team and let them do their Best Work
Executive involvement and strong communication are essential for a successful ERP implementation. However, businesses should be careful not to micro-manage, and instead, allow their team the freedom to work on the project and use their own individual expertise to bring something new to the table. And of course, when implemented, your new ERP system will empower the whole team and give them the tools they need to do their best work.
ERP News. (2019). How to Build the Perfect ERP Implementation Team – ERP News. [online] Available at: https://erpnews.com/how-to-build-the-perfect-erp-implementation-team/ [Accessed 20 Nov. 2019].