Think how much money you would save if you were able to reduce your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementation or upgrade timeline by as much as 30 days.
Is it possible! Of course – the key to a short implementation is preparation. Focus your efforts on these three areas and your preparation will pay off in a fast return on investment (ROI).
1 – Process
Determine in advance exactly which of your business processes will be improved by implementing your ERP, and what the expected outcome is for your people, your costs or data quality.
A good example of this is when your accounting and operations teams are entering the same data into two different systems. Your accounting team may be entering inventory items into QuickBooks, while your operations team enters items into a warehouse system. You are spending precious time on duplicate data entry, your report data may not match and both lead to an increased cost of doing business.
Document the new proposed process and focus your implementation efforts on the basic steps and best business practices as configured in the ERP. Additional wants and needs will always come up during the implementation, but have the courage to say “No”, and document those requests for a Phase 2.
Select a limited number of processes to implement during your first phase, and make those process priorities clear to your entire organization.
2 – Team
Designate and enlist assignment of the right team members – at all levels of your organization – to your project team.
In this special report by ERP Focus (11 Steps to a Successful ERP Implementation) they devote a section to selecting ERP Team Talent – “The talent an organization assigns to its ERP team demonstrates to a large degree its commitment to, and comprehension of, long term organization health.” And, ultimately project and business success!
Brief your team and train them in advance on what to expect during the project. Establish a regular communication plan (even before the project starts) to keep them up to date with the expectations, goals, timeline and their responsibilities.
3 – Executive Sponsorship
Top level management attitudes toward the change your ERP implementation will bring to the business is a huge contributor to how quickly and successfully your implementation is completed.
Another critical observation from the ERP Focus report is “If everybody in the organization can see that the C-level, the steering team, and the executive sponsors are aligned around a successful ERP launch, they will behave likewise …”
It is important to address middle management concerns and doubts about business change before the project starts. Questions and dissent from within your company on the best path to take during the implementation will only slow your project down.
Keep your focus on the specific selected business processes and your team during the implementation. Don’t let your provider or team be sidetracked by additional processes, nice to have modules or add-ons. These types of distractions will always cause your project timeline to be extended. Put these items on a Phase 2 list, and start planning a timeline and budget for those requests separately.
The Socius team is expert in assisting with your project implementation planning. They can help you make certain your ERP project timeline is as short as possible with the best practices from a long history of successful implementations in your industry.