An ERP implementation is a big undertaking for any size of company. Visual South has been implementing ERP in manufacturing companies for close to 30 years, so we know how much of an effort it requires. Over that period of time, we have learned a lot of lessons, and developed a methodical process that puts our customers in position to succeed with their implementations. We have an exhaustive list of blogs on the topic of implementing ERP, but I have summarized our top 25 tips for success (in no particular order) below:
- Have your ERP partner put together a plan for you, and execute it!
- Prioritize training. A company whose staff is well-trained on a less robust ERP package will outperform a company whose staff is poorly trained on a function-rich ERP system.
- Make sure there is alignment between your process development and your training.
- Rely on a company you trust to help you implement your ERP.
- Identify the most important requirements for Phase 1 to avoid scope creep. ERP implementations fail when companies try to do too much, too quickly.
- Have a change management plan as part of the implementation. Change is more difficult for some people than others.
- Embrace team members who initially resist the changing processes, instead of alienating them. Usually, they are making sure the new way is better than the old way
- Create an infrastructure for the project with an implementation owner, manager, and team members with clear roles and responsibilities.
- Plan to make resources available during the implementation, instead of adding it on top of everyone’s full-time job.
- Be sure the implementation is seen as the highest priority by the top level of your organization. If it isn’t deemed important by your leaders, it will not be seen as important anywhere else.
- Strongly consider putting people from the ERP selection team on the ERP implementation team as well.
- Look for opportunities to turn tribal knowledge into shared knowledge.
- When designing and discussing processes, do not mistake someone being difficult with someone wanting to make sure things are improving.
- Develop an internal resource who understands the data structure in the ERP, so that you can unlock information and reports without outside assistance.
- Crosstrain employees from different departments to give your company a greater depth of knowledge.
- Create a continuous improvement team after you go live to get in the habit of refining processes and resolving issues, versus sliding back into disparate solutions to problems.
- Make sure the consultants you work with have both manufacturing and ERP software experience.
- Do not create silos; cross-functional training will make your team stronger once you are live on the software.
- Realize that go-live is not the end, it is the beginning. Have a continuous improvement plan to make your use of the ERP better and better.
- Document processes to institutionalize your knowledge of how the ERP works, and use it to onboard new employees.
- Create an onboarding plan for new employees, so they know how to do their jobs in the ERP.
- Be smart about defining the scope of the implementation; a “replace what you have now” approach is usually the least risky.
- Listen carefully to things you do not want to hear; these are the opportunities for meaningful change.
- Don’t get caught up in going live as quickly as possible; focus on going live when you know your team is ready.
- Don’t forget why you are paying a consultant. It is for their advice and guidance, so make sure to heed it.
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Visual South typically works with companies that manufacture something. These companies are experts in their product, but not experts in implementing ERP. That is why they come to us. Our team can guide them through a successful ERP implementation and be a valued resource for years to come.
Most companies don’t evaluate ERP on a regular basis. If you are looking for ERP and not sure where to start, how about talking to an expert who is not a sales person? Click here to learn more about Jack Shannon, and sign up for a free phone consultation to discuss your situation.