The benefits of ERP are well-known – improved customer service, streamlined operations, competitive advantage, business growth, etc. However, selecting the wrong system or a poor implementation can set your company’s progress back by years.
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) system selection and implementation are two of the most important things a company has to “get right”. For distribution management, a successful ERP implementation can help you:
- Improve customer satisfaction while minimizing cost
- Reduce order times
- Know your true costs
- Know where your business is
And despite what you may have heard about ERP system implementations wrecking havoc with day-to-day operations, a successful, non-disruptive ERP implementation is actually quite common. When you work with the right partner—and the right ERP system—the process can go off without a hitch.
Two industry veterans, Dave Turbide, a specialized writer and consultant, and Ray Rebello, Director of Product Marketing at Acumatica, have put together a Whitepaper with 5 steps to make sure that your ERP selection and implementation is a success. You can get the full Whitepaper here.
Step 1: Address the preliminaries
Before you can implement a new ERP, there are a few things you need to address that will set you up for success once you move into the implementation phase of your ERP project:
- Ask the Question: Why do you need a new ERP system? Maybe your current system is not supporting your business’ needs, or won’t in the future as you grow and expand. Or, maybe your system costs too much to maintain, is unreliable or is not secure. There can be a myriad of reasons why you need a new ERP system.
- Secure your team: Your main users need to be involved right from the start, and should lead the effort in selecting the system and planning/carrying out the implementation. By involving all key stakeholders from the very beginning, you take any surprises out of the end result.
- Outline the project strategy: In this step, you will only need to outline the general shape and scope of your ERP. This is also a good time to take a look at your current systems and data.
- Take a good look at the current state of business: One thing that is often neglected is baseline measurements like inventory levels by type, production lead time, and inventory accuracy, to name a few.
Step 2: Unite the team
You can’t expect to accomplish any kind of successful ERP implementation without having your whole team on board. Make sure to schedule some ERP training very early on in the project, not specific to any particular software, but focused on general principles. Get everyone on the same page.
Step 3: Select your solution provider and implementation partner
ERP has been around for decades and there are a wide range of systems you can choose from. Make sure to keep these three things in mind as you go through your selection process:
- Functionality:Match the specific functionality that you need today (per your requirements definition) with the ability to adapt the system to change when your needs change.
- Ease of use: Evaluate the design of the user interface to see how familiar and intuitive it is – it must be simple to learn and easy to use.
- Support:Finally, the system developer and/or implementation partner must be reliable, trustworthy, and compatible with your needs and company culture.
Step 4: Implement your new system
Your ERP implementation doesn’t have to be traumatic or overwhelming, but it will take some work. Here are some of the most basic things that successful implementations have in common:
- Use standard tracking tools like MS Project to manage the effort.
- Keep the project and its progress highly visible to the entire group of stakeholders throughout the whole process.
- Don’t skimp on training.
Step 5: Keep up the momentum
Implementation doesn’t end once you go live. It’s important to stay up to date on new features, releases, and trainings. Consider advanced functionality, and keep your employees educated. Your people will change, your applications will change, and you want to make sure that you’re staying up to speed with all that is happening in the world of ERP.
Implementing a new ERP doesn’t need to disrupt your business—it can be a grand success. With the right support and partnership with Central Data, an ERP implementation can be a seamless experience.
Learn more! Download the free Whitepaper “Navigating ERP Selection and Implementation: A 5-Step Process“.