When dealing with an ERP implementation, there is the important matter of assigning roles throughout the process. Each person should have as much a stake in the transition as they do in the business. It may be best that they assume more of a responsibility than the transition team itself. As a consequence, each person in the company that is directly affected by ERP, whether using Dynamics NAV or some other solution, should take the time to figure out where they stand in the context of integration. Of great importance are the employees on the shop floor who may be using the software most often. However, of equal concern is the senior management who must make clear what is the potential of a new implementation, and ensure that they follow through and take responsibility for its success or failure.
Taking on the reins
To put it succinctly, senior managers are the people that are most responsible for the ERP implementation. This is because, as Manufacturing Practices notes, they are the ones that determine the metrics of its integration. Without an appreciation for and commitment to that particular role, companies should not be installing a new ERP system. The time, money and resources required to complete the transition are too much for the senior management to handle irresponsibly. A study from the University of Bradford concluded that the ultimate result of ERP implementations hinged most on the commitment level of company executives.
With this in mind, there are several roles for the management to take on before, during and after the transition process. At the most basic level, they set the expectations of the implementation process. For example, they can set the deadline for each phase of the integration, from establishing training guidelines to installing or retrofitting equipment to a launch date. From that point, they are also responsible for hiring the right people to do complete the tasks at hand. That can include a third-party implementation team to simplify the process, trainers to help employees adjust to the new system and managers to oversee organizational aspects of the transition.
Stopping a disaster
Senior managers also should be the people responsible for keeping the project moving. For example, if there are problems that occur between the transition team and the workers, it is often because expectations aren’t working well with reality. So executives should be able to work out a compromise based on what resources they have, as well as feedback between the two conflicting sides. In addition to this, they should serve as the barrier between the integration and normal business operations. Interference from the ERP implementation can bring down productivity quickly, which in a manufacturing situation can slow down orders and lead to cancelations.
Along with this situation, the management’s commitment to a new ERP system should come with enthusiasm. They should not only help out teams when they need it, but they should be supportive of every step of the project. In this way, the team can deliver effective results over the long term by feeling appreciated by leadership.
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