A new enterprise resource planning system, properly configured and constructed to the individual specifications of a business, is undoubtedly a major asset and a savings center for many companies. ERP provides more insight into manufacturing, production, distribution and other business practices, allowing leaders to identify areas of waste and correct them. Additionally, efficiencies can be identified in various areas of operation and improved upon or implemented in some fashion in other areas of an organization. In essence, ERP allows companies to optimize their operations through increasing transparency and providing the same accurate data to different departments as needed.
However, acquiring and installing a new ERP system isn’t quite as easy as ordering consumer-based software from an online retailer and downloading a file or putting a disc inside the CD drive. The wide variety of ERP platforms means that businesses can customize and develop the software to serve their purposes at a high level. This range of availability also means that it’s easy for a company not deeply in tune with the current ERP landscape to make a poor decision and end up with a system that doesn’t truly address its needs.
To make sure your company is getting what it wants and requires when it comes to ERP software, here are a few suggestions:
Take your time
Rushing into an ERP implementation is one of the worst things a business can do. This fast approach doesn’t just create a single problem, but leads to many across the implementation phase – and those don’t go away once a system is in place and operational. Choosing the wrong platform, neglecting to properly transfer information from legacy systems, missing out on modules or customizations to add functionality and other major issues all stem from moving too quickly during the selection and implementation processes. There are plenty of other areas where performance can be dragged down by rushing as well, such as employee training and use of a system – one of the most vital components of a successful ERP installation.
Businesses need to consider the benefits of working with a strong ERP partner in such a situation. With the guidance that an experienced provider can offer, companies are able to better understand the options available and act on them efficiently. Forming a relationship with a partner allows access to a vast reserve of relevant knowledge, as well as the necessary support before, during and after an implementation.
Plan for the long term
Business leaders need to understand that ERP software provides a variety of benefits over a long period of time. While individual experiences will vary, a system that’s properly upgraded and maintained can last for years. For that reason, it’s important to understand the true timeline of a project. Depending on what new functions are added during an implementation, the potential for business growth, the main objectives of acquiring new software and other considerations, it’s possible that complete realization of return on investment could take some time.
Reaching the ROI of a new ERP system should then be a marathon and not a sprint. To compromise long-term success simply to get a platform online a few weeks or months earlier is foolish at best and financially harmful at worst. Planning out all the contingencies and eventualities ahead of time – training new staff, expanding into another facility, upgrading and updating software – will provide significant benefits. If an implementation team wants to establish an involved timeline, it should focus on the long term.