Businesses that are upgrading or adding an entirely new enterprise resource planning system should consider the scoping process when they're planning out overall implementation. While a strong plan for installation and training is needed to get the most out of an ERP system, scoping the platform itself is vital as well – but sometimes overlooked. Scoping, a step-by-step approach to creating the most responsive and useful ERP system possible, was recently highlighted in an article from Business 2 Community. This methodical approach is especially useful for manufacturing and warehousing businesses, which have a wide variety of needs to address.

The first area that companies need to focus on when it comes to scoping is understanding which employees will be using ERP. Having a clear picture of not only everyday users but the people supervising these employees, as well as the staff members that will interact with and rely on the new system the most once its up and running is needed. With this operational knowledge in place, training sessions can be optimized, and broader efforts to acclimatize the company to the new ERP can leverage these super users and managers to help get the message across. For companies using a modular ERP system such as Microsoft Dynamics NAV, having a high level of interest before and during implementation can be especially effective in educational efforts.

Wants and needs
Two of the most important needs when it comes to scoping are understanding what needs to be changed in terms of current processes and structures, as well as what new features are desired. Separating wants and needs and making plans to satisfy both of them will help create a more effective ERP system. As research from Aberdeen Group shows, there isn't a single overriding need at most manufacturing businesses when it comes to wants or needs from their ERP, but a combination of factors related to management and productivity.

Instead of having just a single list of all wants and needs, organizations need to segment these rankings. Separating them into the two categories mentioned is a good start, as is prioritizing based on whether an ERP component will be used for a primary business practice or for a less important need.

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