One of the most critical components to a successful ERP implementation is the support of upper level management. Whether your business is a less than $5 million manufacturer or a multi-facility, multi-national operation, having the support of top management turns the odds in your favor that your implementation will be successful.
IQMS works with hundreds of customers on an annual basis to help them implement our manufacturing ERP and MES software solution, EnterpriseIQ, improve the use of EnterpriseIQ and roll out new functionality. In looking at all of these projects at a macro level, success trends become evident. Below you will find some of those trends and tactics carried out by managers that lead toward a successful ERP implementation project.
Management Trends and Tactics for a Successful ERP Implementation
No. 1: An ERP implementation is not an IT project. Kristina Bianchi, one of IQMS’ Senior Implementation Leads, is constantly telling customers that an ERP project is not just an IT project – it is a business project. EnterpriseIQ can touch every facet of your business, from prospecting new customers to reporting production on the shop floor to paying your employees. All of these processes (and the ones in between) are integral to the success of your business. It only makes sense that the software system that will be the backbone of your business processes be implemented as a business project. This means that your implementation team should be comprised of personnel that have knowledge of how the business processes flow, regardless of their technological prowess.
No. 2: Get engaged in the implementation. Taking a hands-on approach to an ERP implementation will promote the success of the project. If upper management shows an interest in how the project is going on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, your team will be more engaged with the implementation. You don’t need to get to the point of knowing every single configuration detail, but at least be aware of the issues that are causing delays to the project. This also pushes your team to work on the implementation more frequently versus just when an IQMS specialist is on-site.
No. 3: Set a realistic go live goal based on resource availability. Frequently, we get a new customer who states they have to be live in two months, yet they just won a large new customer contract, are moving to a different facility or maybe implementing another large business project. Unless you are dedicating personnel to the ERP implementation project, your team will need to do their “day job” in addition to the work required for the ERP implementation. You will need to understand that they may be out of the office for training or working with the on-site Professional Services personnel and not available to perform their normal activities. Finding the right balance is difficult, but having the right resources available during the implementation will pay off after you have gone live.
No. 4: Promote change. Implementing a new business software touches nearly all of your standard operating procedures. We all know change is difficult, so encouraging change acceptance and preparing your team that their day to day tasks may not be the same after they are live will help ease the fear of change.
No. 5: Allow end users to make decisions. Paul Ramos, IQMS Senior Implementation Lead, states that if the end users are involved in the decision making process up front, they will have more buy in during the implementation. Identifying business process owners prior to kicking off the implementation is a good practice. If the business process owners are not part of the project team, then consulting them during the set up phase of the implementation keeps them involved.
Every ERP implementation project is unique. But based on years of experience and studying the common threads of a successful implementation process, IQMS has discovered that these five practices will improve the probability that your ERP implementation project will yield the best results. ERP implementations don’t have to be an arduous experience. With upper level management support and company-wide encouragement, your ERP implementation project can yield impressive benefits for years to come.