Asking the right questions in an ERP implementation

////Asking the right questions in an ERP implementation

The matter of an ERP implementation is not something as simple as buying a product off a store shelf and using it right out of the box. While many companies such as manufacturers seek to develop better performance through ERP solutions, it comes with knowing that the transition will take weeks of proper planning followed by months of actually installing the software. It also means writing documentation and training employees on how to use it. In addition, it may require taking the time to work with providers to customize the solution so it fits specifically with the needs of the business. This is especially the case with major ERP solutions like Microsoft Dynamics NAV, among others. It can also be a major investment that costs a significant amount of money. When choosing the right service, it’s imperative for manufacturers to ask the important questions that will enable them to make solid, informed decisions that ultimately benefit the company in the long term.

The resources on hand
Because of the resources that are needed to complete an ERP implementation exceed thousands if not millions of dollars, a company should know well enough in advance whether it has the amount of money and time necessary to complete the implementation to a level that delivers optimal results. Consulting firm Aberdeen Group, when surveying businesses that had already integrated new ERP solutions in recent years, noted that the most common problem was that either there weren’t enough internal resources or the existing resources just didn’t have time to perform the duties assigned to them. Another common issue was that the cost of the process had grown to be higher than originally anticipated, thus necessitating a need for reducing costs in whatever ways or means possible. Sometimes that means cutting corners, which can greatly impact the long-term results of the project. The first big question to ask in that case before a company begins implementation is how much money and manpower it will take to complete the project, and more importantly it should save in the event of a cost overrun.

Another problem that can arise out of an implementation is benchmarking. With such a significant amount of investment going into the process, there needs to be a certain level of performance to determine success, especially if contractual obligations apply. As a consequence, it can be very important to ask what kinds of metrics are in place to ensure that the investment attains a specific goal and can then hold the ERP provider accountable.

There are other questions to take into consideration as a consequence as well. For example, any ERP implementation needs to have a successful training program to ensure that both employees on the factory floor and management understand how the system works so that optimal results are maintained even with employee turnover, according to ERP News. It’s essential for companies to then ask whether the training solutions will tailored for the system put in place as well as the jobs assigned to specific workers. Questions about training resources can also be a critical component.

Learn how to define your ERP strategy by downloading the white paper entitled “ERP in Manufacturing: Defining the ERP Strategy” from the DMS website today.