You can implement entry level accounting software without a project plan but you will experience an epic failure if you try to implement a true ERP system without a project plan – guaranteed! So what is a project plan and how does this fit into your ERP product? A project plan outlines timeframes, task assignment, task status, resource constraints (such as holidays and vacations), and provides insight into installation, data conversion, configuration, training, testing, pilot, go-live, and other major phases of the project. Project plans are typically provided by the ERP publisher or consulting organization. No two project plans are alike because no two companies are alike. However, project plans typically start from similar canned templates which are custom tailored based on your company’s needs, modules purchased, available resources, timeframes, and other factors.
Project plans come in various flavors and formats ranging from simple plans in Excel or Microsoft Projects to more complex plans managed in project management systems like BaseCamp, Microsoft Projects, or other platforms. SMB ERP systems typically take about 300-600 hours (8 to 15 weeks) to implement for a standard manufacturing project. Double that for SME ERP to 600-1,200 hours (15 to 30 weeks), and upwards of 2,400 hours (60 weeks or more) for most Tier One projects.
Note: You will find very different numbers available online from various consulting firms and analysts. Many will be much lower than the estimated numbers provided on our website. Our estimates are based on REAL WORLD experience implementing ERP for manufacturing businesses. These are real numbers – not pie in the sky hopes or marketing estimates designed to win you away from competing firms who are more than happy to undercut service estimates because they know at the end of the day that you will come back after you’ve exhausted the hours they estimated for you up-front.
We’d love for these estimates to be lower but the truth of the matter is that implementations are complex and cannot be rushed. There is no magic “fast track” and canned implementations simply don’t work. Ranges vary so much because requirements vary greatly from business to business.