ERP implementations are a challenging task… or a challenging set of tasks, that is. Ask the many who’ve successfully undergone the digital transformation to modern technology like enterprise resource planning (ERP), and they’ll tell you the same.
Despite ERP’s widespread adoption, each implementation presents new challenges since each distinct organization brings its own requirements, expectations, and pre-existing processes to the project. Unfortunately, and despite everyone involved having the best intentions, more than a few ERP projects fail. In fact, according to Gartner, up to 75 percent of all ERP systems don’t make it.
How does this happen? How do you ensure in today’s evolving landscape that you find, select and implement the right manufacturing ERP solution?
Understand Why ERP
The first question to answer for a successful ERP project includes understanding why you are seeking an ERP solution in the first place. Will it give you a competitive edge? Adopting a unified ERP system to connect and organize business processes more efficiently is surely advantageous. Perhaps you’ve decided the outdated system you’re currently operating from costs too much in valuable time and money resources. An ERP system streamlines sales, inventory, procurement, accounting, and distribution, too.
Whatever the reason(s), an ERP aligns your company workflows, delivers real-time insights, and brings order by standardizing and integrating nearly every department.
But a goal without a strategy is just a wish.
Develop Your Strategy
Developing a strategy for your ERP project is one of the most important things to tackle early on, yet implementations fail so often for the same reasons. More often than not, organizations lack an effective implementation strategy or fail to execute on that strategy adequately. You’re not going to make that mistake because you’ll already know the principal reasons an implementation strategy is essential.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Take the time to fully understand the current state of operations. Developing your ERP strategy helps you answer these questions:
- How is your business performing?
- What are its key capabilities?
- Are those capabilities relevant?
- Will those capabilities carry you into the future?
On the other hand:
- What are your weaknesses?
- Which processes need drilling down?
- What needs to be fixed or eliminated?
- What new capabilities do you need to add to stay relevant?
Once you get a sense of how you’re performing internally, look within your industry at your competitors. What do you perceive as their strengths and weaknesses? How will your new ERP solution help you compete at their level or otherwise avoid their problems?
By this time, you’ll have gotten a better idea of the risks affecting future growth as well as how you’ll address those risks.
Opportunities for Growth
Your ERP implementation strategy allows you to identify growth opportunities for the future and what’s happening in the broader business community. What market trends do you see where you can have an impact? How will you navigate those changes, mitigate the risks, and find ways to thrive?
Opportunities are chances for something positive to happen and often surface from situations outside your organization. Political, social, and technological changes often create (or diminish) opportunities, so identifying and taking advantage in these areas can make a huge difference. That doesn’t mean seeking out only the game-changers: even the small advantages can mean getting and keeping new business.
Finally, your ERP strategy creates the image and direction for your whole operation. ERP enhances the ability to make informed decisions; to be successful, you need a clear executive vision.
When staff and stakeholders understand the direction the business is going, the role they play, and how they’ll be affected, they’re more likely to buy-in. On the other hand, if staff are kept out of the loop and aren’t aware of the company’s direction, it creates chaos. Having a vision ensures that everyone is clear about a goal and onboard with the company’s approach.
That covers Part 1 of Ensuring a Successful ERP Implementation for your organization. Create your implementation strategy by identifying your strengths and weaknesses, uncovering the opportunities that lie ahead, and establish a vision for your personnel to inspire the buy-in. Don’t miss Part 2.
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