Running a business can be quite challenging. As it grows in size and revenue, the list of tasks and processes critical to its long-term profitability also grows alongside it. What may be a set of chores that can be done by one or two people, especially during a company’s start-up phase, will soon become an extensive amount of work that may require multiple teams to efficiently handle.
Thankfully, solutions such as ERP systems can help massively in automating many of these chores, allowing for a much more streamlined workflow that can be managed with limited manpower and resources. By installing an ERP system into your company’s infrastructure, its operations can easily keep up with its own growth.
With that said, an ERP system needs to be implemented successfully before its advantages and benefits can truly be experienced. If it is installed or implemented incorrectly, it could turn out to be a costly liability rather than an asset. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to implement an ERP system the right way into your company.
The first thing you need to do is to carefully evaluate and document all the tasks, challenges, and work processes involved in your business operations. In doing so, you will be able to determine what exactly you need out of an ERP system, from the goals that you want to hit to the scope of the implementation itself. Moreover, it will also help you figure out just what kind of ERP system you need, as there are many variations and vendors to choose from.
After gathering all the in-house information you need to discover your exact ERP system needs, it’s time to go outside. Do this by consulting with your industry colleagues or a trusted advisor and find out what their experiences are related to their choice of ERP systems. In doing so, you will get a frank and unbiased idea of what ERP system is ideal for your business and what you should avoid, without being confused or muddled by marketing spin or speak. You should also look into meeting with multiple third-party ERP system consultants for a clearer picture.
Interview your employees about your impending purchase. Ask them to voice their opinions on the matter. Since they will be the ones who are going to have their work supported by the ERP system you will end up having a dialogue with them that will give you new insight as to what the ERP solution needs to do to actually contribute to business productivity. Granted, this may cause you to go back and re-examine your choices, but this will help avoid any difficulties in the long run.
Once you’ve made your choice with the type of ERP vendor and solution that your business requires, select a project manager who will manage the implementation of the system itself. This person will be directly responsible for the ERP, such as being the sole point of contact for the rest of the company and its officers, become the one who supervises the system’s proper and safe deployment, and also ensure that the project stays within deadlines and budgets. A project leader in this juncture of ERP implementation is essential to its success.
By now, you should already have enough information to create a detailed plan on how to purchase, install, and configure your ERP system in a way that’s tailor-fit to your business. Do so, but ensure that not everything is set in stone and that there’s still room for major adjustments and revisions. Project plans will almost always change, so it’s important to make allowances.
Before or during the implementation of the ERP system, it’s critical for you to re-examine all the daily tasks, chores, processes, and workflows within your company. As the system will no doubt make your internal business processes more efficient and streamlined, you have to ensure that the way they’re performed takes full advantage of its strengths and functionality.
Once the system is in place and the work processes are revamped around its functions, it’s time to invest the proper resources and time to ensure that your employees are well-versed in its usage. Don’t simply link or send them the instruction manual—look into intensive individual and group training. You’ll not only prevent any slipups or mistakes in your staff operating the ERP system but also make them more comfortable in using new technology. All this contributes to a more productive and pleasant workplace.
Just because you’ve successfully implemented your ERP system into your company and molded your business processes to take advantage of it doesn’t mean your work is done. Instead, you should always look into all the ways that your system can be improved as a whole, from its software and its hardware to the very employees using it. Technology is ever-changing, after all, and improvements will always manifest as time goes on.
Implement your ERP system wisely to maximize its benefits
Implementing an ERP system into your company may sound challenging, but it’s easier than you think. Simply follow the steps above and you’re sure to be able to do so with the least amount of confusion and stress. As for which vendor to go with, it’s best to go with an established ERP solutions provider.