Using an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system in your business can be highly rewarding if implemented properly. It can help you synchronize all of your information and streamline your business operations, as well as significantly improve communication and collaboration within your company.
An ERP system is great for reducing costs, and by improving collaboration, it can help you boost productivity and efficiency, which will lead to a high-quality customer service and enable you to stay ahead of your competition.
There are many reasons you should utilize ERP software, but how can you make sure that you implement it successfully? Here are the essential steps that you need to take for a successful ERP implementation.
- Identify Your Goals and Objectives
Before implementing any ERP solution, it is crucial that you identify your objectives and determine exactly what your needs are. Given the numerous benefits of an ERP system, you might have an idea about what it can do for your business, but do you know exactly what goals it will help you achieve?
You need to think about your company’s goals and objectives, and find ways in which an ERP system can help you achieve them. You need to analyze your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) so you can effectively identify the problems that ERP software will help you solve. This will also give you insight into your future projections, so you can adapt your organization to the change.
- Choose a Project Manager to Ease the Implementation Process
You need to find a capable project manager who can ensure that the implementation process goes smoothly. A professional with the right expertise and experience will guide your employees through the process and not
only make sure that they fully understand its importance and the impact it will have on your organization, but also explain their roles and responsibilities.
This is why you need to either find an internal employee with excellent communication and management skills for the role of a project manager, or hire someone with the appropriate skill set. Either way, you’ll save a lot of time which you can focus on your core competencies and all the other tasks needed for a successful ERP implementation.
- Find the Right ERP Software for Your Needs
Finding the right ERP software for your needs is perhaps the most important step that you need to take, because not every ERP solution will bring you the same benefits. What worked perfectly for someone else may not be the right solution for your specific business requirements.
One-size-fits-all is definitely not the way to go with this particular software implementation, so you must take into account your business needs, the industry you are in, and your system requirements, as well as your future expectations.
For instance, do you need an on-premise system or will a cloud solution work better for your business? In order to come to the right decision, you should discuss all the possible questions with an expert ERP consultant.
- Data Migration
Data migration is an important step for successful ERP implementation because, if done properly, it will help you effectively streamline your operations, and if done improperly, it could take a long time to fix. Before converting all of your data into your new ERP system, you should filter out everything that you find unnecessary or incorrect, so the new system is clean and accurate.
Your goal is to clean up your data and transfer only the most important information, so that you can achieve efficiency and data integrity.
- Configure the System
After finding the right ERP software for your needs and conducting accurate data migration, it’s time to launch the system and actually implement your chosen ERP solution. After installing the infrastructure, you need to configure the ERP system and optimize it for your business needs.
Depending on both the software and the vendor you select, this length of this process can vary greatly. You want a balance between attention to detail and time to implement.
Some ERP software is more robust and will require a longer implementation based on complexity alone. Some will be ready to go “out-of-the-box”. A good vendor will perform their due diligence and spend time reviewing your requirements prior to implementation to make the process smoother and shorter. Others might skip this step and get lost in the details when implementation time comes, dragging out the process; or worse, leave you hanging with a system that doesn’t meet your needs.
Make sure you discuss this timeline and process with your vendor ahead of time so there are no surprises.
- Test the System
After you configure your chosen ERP system, it’s necessary to move into a testing phase so that you can ensure that everything is working properly. Testing is a crucial part of the ERP implementation process because it will give you a clear insight into the performance of the system and help you make a smooth transition. You should never go live before performing proper system and user acceptance testing.
- Train Your Employees
After the ERP system has been implemented and tested, you need to train your employees so they are able to use the new system efficiently and effectively. You should hire a team of experts to provide the necessary on-site ERP employee training, and help all your employees fully understand and become proficient with the software. Your IT team should definitely be provided with more extensive training, so that they are able to handle any technical issue that may occur in the future.
- Go Live with Your New ERP System
After your employees have been thoroughly trained in the use of the new ERP system, it’s time to go live and start coordinating all your activities and resources, effectively streamlining your business operations. You should test the system once again, to ensure that it is working optimally.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that all work on your ERP implementation is done. For the ERP implementation process to be truly successful, you need to continuously work on it. You can’t just implement the software, train your employees, and never think of it again.
You need to make sure that the system is properly maintained, upgraded when needed, and that any kind of glitch or problem is dealt with quickly and effectively, so that your ERP system can achieve peak performance levels.
Implementing an ERP solution into your organization can be one of the best decisions you make. Although it takes a substantial amount of time and thorough planning, your efforts will pay off in the long term if you make the transition to the new system as smooth as possible.
So let this be your guide – if you follow the steps listed here, not only will you improve decision-making, productivity, efficiency, collaboration and communication within your company, effectively coordinating your business activities and enhancing the performance of your workforce, you’ll also significantly improve your customer service and provide your business with plenty of opportunities for growth.