With Christmas quickly approaching, many of us will be starting to think of our new year’s resolutions. So this year, how about making a resolution you can stick to? If you’re tired of those niggling inefficiencies in your business, January could be the opportunity you need to eradicate them once and for all.
2018 could be the year you finally stop putting off the inevitable and invest in a new ERP system.
However, starting a new ERP project is not without its difficulties — without the correct planning in place. As the saying goes, fail to prepare and prepare to fail. Put the legwork in now and hit the ground running once your ERP software is fully implemented.
In this blog post, I will be discussing the essential preparations for successfully starting your new ERP project:
Assemble your A-team
The key to successfully implementing an ERP project is assembling a team who can take ownership of its implementation. Without the personnel in place, you run the risk of letting your ERP project fall by the wayside, allowing it to be easily neglected among your staff’s growing to-do list.
It’s wise to appoint a project leader and include key individuals from each area of your manufacturing business, as they should have the greatest understanding of how the ERP system needs to work within each area.
Of course, you may not have the necessary knowledge in-house to successfully implement your ERP project. That’s why it’s so important to choose a knowledgeable ERP provider who can advise and support you at each step of the process.
Know what you want
You know you want ERP software — but why? To ensure you get the right ERP solution for your needs, you’ll need to fully understand your requirements, linking them to your current and future business objectives.
During quieter periods, make a comprehensive list of your specific requirements. Don’t skip over this step in the hope that the bear minimum will suffice; doing so could mean you end up with an ERP solution that doesn’t fully meet your needs.
It’s also wise to incorporate any future plans you may have into your list of requirements. You may not need the functionality now, but if you’ll be rolling out changes in the next few months, include them in the list to avoid making changes further down the line.
Once you have finalised your list, ask yourself if you have covered all of the key issues your business is currently facing. If you haven’t, you’ll need to review your list and amend accordingly.
Plan, plan, plan
Once you know exactly what you want, you can start work on creating an ERP project plan, which will take each of your requirements and deliver clear actions that are needed to meet each of them. Again, devising an effective plan takes time, so it’s worth putting the effort in at this stage.
Think strategically and logically, and draw on the advice from expert ERP software providers where needed to bridge any knowledge gaps you may have. If you’re unsure of how the software can support a particular process, an experienced provider will also be able to devise a solution.
Select your ERP software provider
After all your planning, your ERP project is well underway. The next step — and arguably one of the most important — is finding the ERP software provider who can take all of your aforementioned planning and make it a reality.
If you’re deciding between a few different solutions and providers, you need to carry out a full evaluation. Ask yourself key questions—how well does this solution meet my requirements? Is the system adaptable? Will it be easy to roll-out and will employees be able to use it easily?
Take advantage of product demos, as these provide an insight into how the software operates and how flexible the solution is. What level of customization does the software offer? Does it support change management?
Selecting the right ERP provider is crucial to the success of your new ERP software, so make sure you fully weigh up your options.
Create an implementation timescale
You know what you want and how you’ll achieve it; the next step is deciding when you’ll achieve it by. Work with your ERP software provider to establish an implementation timescale. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so breakdown your project into core milestones.
Breaking down the project makes it more manageable from both a scale and budget perspective, and clearly communicates the delivery points for each stage. This means internally, you’re better able to plan for the software’s rollout, scheduling any necessary training in advance so your new ERP project can hit the ground running once live.
With a plan like this in place, you can make your long-awaited ERP project a success, reaping the benefits long into 2018.
One of our business experts will be happy to arrange a webinar or meeting with you to guide you through the process of planning a new ERP project.