An Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system is a suite of integrated software solutions designed to support the business activities of a company. These systems help businesses manage their regular operations by automating key company processes and functions. Examples of the operations that an ERP system can manage include sales, marketing, product planning, inventory management, product deliveries, and payments.
ERP systems are useful to enterprises of any size, from small home-based businesses to large-scale enterprises. ERPs enable the speedy, accurate, and efficient completion of work that can typically be time-consuming and error-prone when performed manually. ERP systems help companies minimize the probability of these costly errors, lower operational costs, and boost their overall productivity. Employing ERP systems, therefore, leads to greater profitability for the company in the long run.
If your business doesn’t yet employ an ERP system, it’s important to do thorough research on ERP systems Philippines-based companies trust before committing to a certain suite of programs. It’s just as critical to prepare your employees for the implementation of your chosen system. The following steps can help ensure a smooth and efficient ERP implementation process:
Define Problems, Goals, and Expectations Clearly
Choosing and implementing the right ERP system is about more than simply selecting the most expensive software suite or the one with the most integrated programs. A good ERP system will work to address your company’s specific problems and further its unique goals. Hence, before all else, it’s important to be clear about what precise issues you’d like your chosen system to solve. It also helps to articulate what business goals the system will ultimately help further.
Being thorough and detailed about what you want and expect from an ERP system will make the long, laborious process of choosing, preparing, and implementing that system easier. It’s also worthwhile to consider a phased implementation over an immediate, one-time approach. A more gradual implementation affords users more time and opportunities to address glitches and system flaws on a smaller scale before going company-wide.
Designate a Project Lead
ERP implementation in your company should be handled and overseen by a dedicated internal team. In particular, it’s important to designate a team lead and lay out the scope of their responsibilities for the duration of the project. In addition to leading implementation efforts, this person is meant to act as a common point of contact for questions, concerns, and feedback about the project. One of the first things they will likely need to do is to create an effective feedback process or platform that all members of the company can use.
Make Sure All Employees Are Aligned
Introducing a new software system is a big change for any company. Hence, a sound change management strategy is necessary to help your employees navigate the transition successfully.
Before implementing a particular ERP system, it’s important to inform the entire company that you intend to do so. Going forward, company management and the implementation team must advocate proactively for the new system. They also need to communicate critical information about the system and its implementation process to their colleagues at every stage of the process. These actions will help encourage employee buy-in and foster a generally positive mindset about the project.
The following pieces of information are especially important to communicate during implementation:
- Fundamental information on ERP – An ERP system may be a foreign concept to many of your employees, especially those who aren’t highly tech-savvy. Those who need it may appreciate a simple, easy-to-follow guide that outlines the nature of ERP software systems and how they work.
- Company goals and objectives – Explain why you intend to implement an ERP system, as well as why you have chosen a particular software. What problems does your company have that it can help solve? What benefits does your company hope to gain from using the system? How do you imagine your operations going forward after the system goes live?
- Specific software solutions being implemented – Walk your employees through the programs you intend to implement as part of your ERP suite, as well as your reasons for choosing each. Encourage your employees to research the programs independently and familiarize themselves with the software they will eventually be using.
- Additional resources for internal research and feedback – Point your employees to trustworthy sources of information on ERP systems in general and on your chosen software in particular. Do also identify which individuals or teams they should seek out within the company if they have questions or require technical assistance. Outline clear and defined processes for communicating concerns, providing feedback, and requesting support.
Identify Training Needs and Methodology
Many, if not all, your employees may need additional training to effectively operate your chosen ERP system. This is especially important for members of departments whose operations will be impacted most significantly by the ERP implementation. Once you determine which individuals and teams to train, you can begin thinking about what processes, content, and tools you’ll need to mount an effective training program. Don’t hesitate to seek help from ERP training experts if necessary.
Implementing a new ERP system can be daunting, but constant communication with your employees and thorough preparation can ease the process significantly. A well-prepared team will be equipped to deal with any risks and challenges that arise during the implementation process. They’ll also be well-positioned to make the most of your new ERP system’s benefits once it’s up and running.