Key Learnings from our successful ERP Implementations
Before we explain the key learnings from our successful ERP implementations, let us first discuss what are the primary reasons for implementing, what are the expected outcomes and what are the steps involved in the implementation process. This will help us to outline the leanings at each and every step of the Implementation.
Why Implement ERP? What are the expected outcomes of ERP Implementation?
At the heart of an ERP Implementation lies the burning desire for success. Adopting an ERP is a big decision for an organization. Companies adopt ERP software to streamline and make their business processes as efficient as possible, achieve a real-time view of the business anytime from anywhere. This enables achieving operational excellence, keeping expenses under control and helps to maximize profits.
What are the steps involved in ERP Implementation?
ERP Implementation starts with research to find a robust and scalable ERP that best suits your specific business requirements. Once identified, the next steps are software installation, training end-users, moving data to a new system, mapping and configuring business processes.
What are the Key Learnings from our successful ERP Implementations?
As a company focused on ERP software development and implementation, we have carried out over 100+ successful ERP implementation Projects. We have identified that the following key elements are crucial for the success of an ERP project.
- Clearly Define ERP Implementation Objectives
- Describe how Success of ERP Implementation can be measured
- Management backing can make or break ERP implementation
- Ensuring the best ERP Product fit is critical for success
- Selecting the right team for implementation is vital for gaining value from ERP
- Strategic planning for ERP Implementation is a must
- Change management
- Proper Allocation of Time & Resources
- Training of Employees
- Over-customization can kill the project
- Testing before Go-Live is necessary
- Go-Live is the most critical activity
- Frequent data analysis and monitoring after Go – Live
- Post Implementation support is required for longevity of ERP
Let us now discuss each of these in further detail.
1. Clearly Define ERP Implementation Objectives
An organization should be clearly aware of the big picture as to why they want to adopt ERP. Some common examples of ERP implementation objectives are standardizing processes, bringing speed and efficiency in business processes, reducing manual work, making the process transparent, getting real-time visibility, shorter cycle times, reduced costs.
2. Describe how Success of ERP Implementation can be measured
An organization should clearly describe how they will measure the success of ERP implementation at the organization level, at the department level. To give you specific examples of measurable results:
Department Level Success measures:
- Purchase Order Cycle Time Reduced by XX days
- Average Inventory Value Reduced by XX amount
Organization Level Success measures:
- Achieve X% Orders Delivered on Time
- Reduce Operating Cost by X%
- Reduce the number of errors by X%
3. Management backing can make or break ERP implementation
In order for an ERP Implementation to be successful, Management involvement and backing should be 100%. Only then will the ERP project get the requisite resources, time, focus. Employees will understand the importance and work towards achieving success.
4. Ensuring the best ERP Product fit is critical for success
Each manufacturing company has its own unique requirements. Some organizations adopt discrete manufacturing, some follow batch processing, some are service industries. Hence it is advisable to adopt an ERP which caters to your specific industry needs and is the closest fit to your specific goals and needs so that minimal customization will be required.
Having a thorough discussion during the ERP Evaluation process, asking precise questions to assess how suitable is the ERP for your specific and niche process requirements is critical for best fit ERP selection.
5. Selecting the right team for implementation is vital for gaining value from ERP
The core ERP project implementation team should include process owners as they are experts in internal processes and know business requirements clearly. ERP vendor team should also have functional and technical expertise. Together they should form a cohesive team with a clear understanding of how to drive the project, ensure proper planning at all stages with a commitment to ensuring successful implementation.
6. Change Management
Change management plays a crucial role in the success of ERP. With the implementation of an ERP, there are significant changes in the way data is collected, data is reported, how data can be viewed and so on. These changes affect both direct users as well as indirect users. Hence it is important to inform and educate employees as well as third parties about the likely changes, how they will help improve processes and so on. This will help to eliminate any apprehensions and resistance for the change and ensure a smooth transition.
7. Proper Allocation of Time & Resource
ERP team should get sanctions from the Management for the requisite time and resources for implementation. ERP project team should ensure proper allocation of time for each implementation activity, as well as completion of all activities on time. ERP implementation should be completed from start to finish as a continuous activity within the stipulated time frame.
8. Over-customization can kill the project
When adopting an ERP, you should select one that is based on the standard business practices of your particular industry. Over customization can result in additional time, increase costs, and may also affect the stability of the product. Hence, it is advisable to keep the customizations to the bare minimum and only in areas where absolutely essential.
9. Training of Employees
ERP Training is crucial for the success of Go-Live. The more informed and trained the employees are, the better the implementation will be. Both, the vendor and customer should ensure proper training and active participation of users to learn all relevant aspects of the ERP Software. Employees should be well versed with the ERP to carry out regular business activities using ERP software.
10. Systematic Testing before Go Live
Extensive testing should be carried out to ensure ERP is able to fulfill all your business needs. When all important parameters are met during cycle run, trial run, and users approvals are obtained then only “Go Live”
11. Go Live is the most critical activity
A successful “Go Live” is possible only when all the necessary steps including data collection, data upload, data configuration have been properly performed and after managing any fixes or customizations.
Go Live is the most critical activity and companies can enjoy the real benefits of ERP only if the Go-Live is done in the right way. If for any reason, it goes haywire, it can hamper business activities and cause tremendous difficulties in operation resulting in ERP implementation failure.
12. Frequent data analysis and monitoring after Go – Live
ERP software is valuable only if it has correct and complete data. Management must use the ERP to generate maximum possible reports and analysis in order to extract maximum value from it. When management does frequent data analysis and monitoring of business results, this ensures that employees enter all relevant data into the appropriate modules and the data is updated and accurate.
13. Post Implementation support is required for longevity of ERP
ERP requires frequent reviews and corrections for the ever-changing market needs. ERP is affected by external as well as internal factors such as a change in government rules & regulations, changes in management policies, etc. Hence continuous support and improvement must be implemented via ERP to stay updated and relevant to survive competition and changes
This article is compiled based on our decade long experience in ERP implementation. Rest assured that if you follow all the learning and plan implementation accordingly, you will have a smooth and successful ERP implementation along with significant savings of time and money.