Change management’s role in an ERP implementation

///, Manufacturing Productivity, Warehouse Management/Change management’s role in an ERP implementation

Installing a new ERP system of any kind, including the newest version of Microsoft Dynamics NAV, could be considered a major change. It can require adjusting equipment, workflows and business processes. Even the installation of mobile warehouse management systems as a module can greatly impact the overall routine of business operations. Completing an implementation takes a lot of adjustments to seamlessly integrate with a company. With manufacturers, that can include retooling equipment so it functions more efficiently over time. This is the reason why implementations take a period of many months, and why change management is a necessary component in an ERP solution.

A complete remodel
For some people, change management is seen as just another form of training. Consulting firm Morgan Franklin argues otherwise in that it’s quite the opposite. Change management is a process in which the organization’s structure is completely remade so that it is ready to adopt to the new ERP system. The process covers the entire staff of the company, from the management to the floor staff. Training is only one component of change management.

What makes change management so difficult for some companies is that it is a people problem, according to Panorama Consulting. People, even executives, are incredibly resistant to change in their lives. So when a new system is put in place that makes significant alterations to the way people work, management can’t expect the employees or even junior managers to comply with the adjustments just because they’re being paid to do their job.

What is typically outlined in a change management process is the following. The first step is planning through identifying change agents and isolating challenges that could hamper ERP adoption. The next phase is increasing awareness between employees and lower management on the changes that will happen in the new implementation, along with educating them in ways that will help them process this transition and accept it. Following this, executives and upper management should help the staff understand what this integration means and how it will affect them, while continuing to communicate what is happening inside the company during the process. Finally, the staff should be able to ready themselves for the new system, while management follows up with additional training if necessary.

Simplifying while profiting
There are many advantages associated with utilizing change management in an ERP implementation. The most obvious effect is that of reducing the cost of the implementation, as well as the timeframe to complete the process. This is because companies with change management teams have to train and retrain employees less than without this component. The overall efficiency of an ERP solution will increase as well, as employees will utilize the features that benefit the business much more quickly.

There are also gains related to employees. By creating a change management solution, workers will feel like they are being listened to. In addition, feedback that is addressed will make them happier, improving overall morale. That can help retain employees while increasing their productivity.