For the past 29 years I have been involved with ERP in a variety of roles: As a team member responsible for implementing ERP within the company; as an ERP implementation consultant with multiple software/consulting companies and as the owner of an ERP practice within a consulting firm. ERP touts that it will save your company money by helping you:
Improve Cash Flow
After almost thirty years of involvement with ERP at all different levels, I have found the answer to be: YES, NO or MAYBE.
In order to realize the promises of implementing ERP, I have discovered several keys to success. The level at which your company embraces these keys will determine your level of success and the impact of an ERP implementation.
Keys to success
Having an open mind to process change. I have lost count of the number of times that I have heard key people say something like - “but we do it differently than everyone else - we are very unique”. I want to scream (but don’t) “Really, you buy/make stuff, sell your stuff and then account for it. Millions of companies do the same thing as you.”
Point: Be willing to review your business processes and open to bringing them into line with the most accepted business practices.
The commitment of executive level management to the project. There are many decisions to be made to an ERP implementation project and key executive decision makers that are committed and available will speed the process.
Point: Staying on schedule is key during a project. Delays inevitably lead to higher implementation costs and the loss of interest/commitment to the project.
Dedicated time to the implementation task. The implementation team from your company must be empowered by the company to commit valuable time to the project. This may require additional work time and a realignment of their priorities. If the implementation is not seen as a priority for their time commitments, it can quickly get behind schedule.
Point: Appoint a group of employees to serve as the implementation team, assign a good leader for the team and empower them to commit time to the project (which may mean you have to relieve them of other responsibilities).
Focused on the project goals. A good project plan will outline the essential business processes to be achieved. No project plan is perfect but should be seen as the master plan of what needs to be accomplished.
Point: Be clear on what is a “must have”, “an important to have” and a “nice to have”.
These keys to success will go far in determining the success of your new ERP tool. The success of the project will determine if you will actually realize the financial rewards promised.
About the Author:
Rick Taylor leads the ERP practice for MTS. Rick has over 40 years of experience in Information Technology, most of which has been in the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). Rick has worked across a variety of platforms and tools including Cullinet, Computer Associates, BaaN, Sage X3 ERP and Acumatica. For the last 10 years, Rick has been a senior consultant specializing in Acumatica implementations. Rick has successfully implemented ERP tools across a variety of Industries including Defense, Manufacturing, Logistics, Church / Not-for-Profit and Distribution.