We are in the age of digital revolution. Thanks to artificial intelligence, e-commerce, mobile devices, and software-as-a-service, business processes are occurring at speeds never seen or achieved before. Traditional rules associated with running a successful business are ever-changing. Automation, lean staffing, and in-depth analytics are becoming vital for successful operations.
Businesses aren’t on their own with these changes, though. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software can help. ERP has been around for decades, but the cloud is making its functionality and accessibility even better. Once reserved for huge manufacturing enterprises, ERP is now available to smaller businesses, too. There is no longer a need for huge ERP system investment and rollout. Emerging cloud systems are better than ever and deliver top-notch quality.
Some companies spend years implementing a new ERP system. It doesn’t have to take that long nowadays. It can take significantly less time and can even be completed without dedicated project staffing. This article will dive deeper into the way you can finish your ERP implementation at warp speed.
Why Does ERP Implementation Take So Long in the First Place?
Simply put, the entire process of implementing a whole business management system is incredibly complex, which is why it can be very time-consuming. Because of the complexity of this implementation, many smaller companies choose not to implement an ERP system in the first place (despite the evidence that they are incredibly beneficial).
It is important to note that ERP for small businesses and ERP systems for larger organizations have differences. Smaller companies tend to require substantial review processes and training sessions before ever going live. The entire process can take extended amounts of time for preparation after the software has been chosen.
During the selection process, clients should understand the requirements, see a demonstration, and be assured that the software can perform the necessary tasks. You should also be aware of the vendor’s ability to provide support for your operations.
5 Ways to Speed up ERP Implementation
After the software purchase is complete, the implementation process can officially begin. Below, we outline ways in which you can speed up the process.
#1. Get your Team Involved
Any change in your ERP will likely affect the majority of your team in one way or another. Help them to see the value in making a change by getting the team involved, getting their input on decisions for replacements. Get the team involved as much and as early as possible!
#2. Plan Wisely
Planning is vital to a successful ERP rollout. You must go into the process with a clear sense of your organization’s overall goals, resources, and capabilities. ERP is used in all aspects of your business and can represent a significant upgrade within your organization. It shows that your organization is serious about growth and that there is a definitive picture of the company and where it wants to go with this efficient ERP implementation.
Within the planning process, data migration is an essential prerequisite. If data migration is done correctly, it will inherently streamline your operations. If done improperly, it can take quite a long time to fix.
Before converting all of your data into the new ERP system, it is essential to clear out anything that you deem unnecessary or incorrect. This way, the new system being implemented will be clean and accurate from the start. The goal in doing this is to achieve the highest level of efficiency and data integrity.
There is a wide variety of ERP systems available, many designed for use in niche markets. It is worth the time and effort to seek out the best match for your business.
#3. Carefully Customize
Some aspect of how your business does business becomes your market differentiator. Be sure your ERP system of choice already has flexibility in this area or can be adapted to fit.
In many cases, an ERP system is 90% or more of what you need but in a few key areas is, or very cumbersome to use or missing needed features altogether. Dive in deep enough to know what those are before making a purchase decision.
More often than not, and perhaps a little counterintuitive, if the ERP has the functionality but it doesn’t fit your process, it takes more effort to customize than adding a bolt-on solution if the functionality is altogether not there.
#4. Depend on Vendors and Consultants
Implementing ERP is not the place to cut corners; it’s very complex. Because of this, experience and proper practices from an authenticated partner can have a significant impact on the rollout time. Getting help from experts and consultants can ensure that the system will meet all of the needs of the business. Never second guess; ask for advice, guidance, and professional opinions whenever they’re needed. Besides, this helps build professional relationships with the experts as well.
Communication between your business and its vendors or consultants is vital to delivering the right messages and information at the right time. This can also help to limit and manage any resistance to the changes taking place. It is essential to create a network of influencers who can help support communication and conversation, facilitate deployment activities, and determine if people are adopting the changes. This can help processes to move swiftly and avoid delays due to a lack of cooperation or communication.
#5. Train Employees Accordingly
For the ERP solution to be accepted by your team members, they must be fully prepared for the transition. This can be accomplished by generating a unique and helpful training program that addresses the skills and training needed for operation. To build an effective program, you must comprehensively assess the knowledge requirements and conditions of the organization as a whole.
A successful implementation is partially dependent on how quickly employees can get up to speed on the change and get to work in their new environment. You could implement the best ERP solution possible, but if your team members are unwilling or unable to use it accordingly, then success is not plausible.
#6. Automate Testing
Testing is a crucial part of the implementation process. It is necessary to do so before the system ever goes live. This way, you can be sure that your system is performing as expected. This often tedious process doesn’t have to be completed manually, however.
Testing can be automated and occur as frequently as the company desires. This saves time and money overall and has the potential to improve your ERP system overall dramatically. Your organization can choose to test things individually or as a whole, just like you could choose to deploy your ERP system concurrently or separately based on your priorities.
Taking the time to plan and train your employees ahead of implementation can make the entire process faster and run more efficiently. Planning an implementation timeline can seem daunting because of the many moving parts and people involved, but developing these phases and acquiring the proper resources, techniques, and tools is well worth it in the long run. It is better to spend the time preparing than to halt operations to fix something that could have been avoided previously.
Need help choosing an ERP or understanding how an ERP can work with production scheduling? We’re happy to help!