5 important steps in implementing ERP System

Implement an ERP system

How do you successfully implement an ERP System? Below are 5 important steps, which we advise you to go through first. 

1. Which people

A succesful ERP-implementation stands or falls with involving the right people, at the right time and in the right way. No other decision is ultimately more important than the choice of the project team itself. Be smart about assembling the right internal team (owners, managers, executives and employees) to have the best information available to you. The size of the team will vary over time, but a core of people will be involved throughout the project. From determining the size and features of the new system, to processing documentation and testing and training. It is the insight and participation of these key people that can make the biggest difference in the outcome of the implementation.

2. Document the process

The frustrations, inefficiency and shortcomings of the existing system have probably led to an increasing series of work-arounds that are now needed. Hmmmm, in fact, it is precisely these problems that have led to a search for a replacement ERP system. It is now time to 'formalize' these work-arounds, at least in terms of a process document: What is the purpose of the process? What are the current steps in the process? Which of the steps are currently supported, and which require a work-around?

The flaws in the current system, and the work-arounds that have been made to work around them, are critical information. When it is time to choose a new system, these process documents can form the basis for an objective comparison of the replacement candidates.

3. Make the right priorities

It can be tempting to include every possible change or improvement that you or someone else can think of when looking for a new system. Just documenting the processes, and a quick survey of your colleagues will yield a long "wish list" of improvements. Years of frustrations will provide ample material. This is a good starting point, but this list should be worked through and prioritized first.

A successful ERP implementation will only focus on a carefully selected and ranked list of priorities. Start with the "everything" list. You then identify all functions, processes and analytics that have the highest priority, then second priority, etc. Some of the items on the wish list will be business critical and essential to the company's success, and some will be highly beneficial, but not quite the first priority. This ranked set of priorities is essential for the next step.

4. Select the best ERP system

Armed with a set of process documents, and a prioritized list of features, let's start looking. Where to start? Use the priority list and decide whether you need a "generic" product with a strong set of core features and functions, rapid implementation and wide applicability, or a more specialized and targeted solution designed for your industry and perhaps even customized to your own specifications, need.

The range of possibilities for a replacement ERP system is extensive, with choices for implementation method, size and scale, and every budget. The key to making the right choice is following the first three steps. Does the proposed system support my existing processes without the workarounds? Is the new system an improvement on my existing processes, does it provide greater efficiency and can people work together better? Can the new system support future growth, increased volumes, or new ventures?

5. Select an ERP implementation partner

During the selection process for the new ERP system, you make the last choice and that is the implementation partner. Choose it carefully, this decision is important. The ERP partner is responsible for delivering your vision, developed by your key people and based on your key priorities. Does the partner have the technical expertise of the project to be launched? Does the partner work according to a fixed implementation method? Does the partner have an approach that is compatible with your own corporate culture and personality?

For any ERP implementation, it is the collaboration between your project team and the ERP partner that determines the ultimate success or failure of the project.

A successful ERP implementation doesn't need magic. It is the result of careful product selection and cooperation with the right partner. 

Take advantage of these five important steps and take your company to the next step.

5 important steps in implementing ERP System
Erwin van der Ploeg 18 september 2015
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