It is important to remember that, as a business, ERP implementations are an intense process that can't be handled lightly. When integration fails or falls apart, the reason isn't the software itself. The software, especially something as popular as Microsoft Dynamics NAV, has likely already displayed its benefits to other customers. It's why the company or organization chose the system in the first place. More likely than not, a failure can and will be attributed to mistakes made in the transition. As a consequence, it's essential to have leadership that will both take responsibility when mistakes are made, but more importantly prevent those mistakes from happening in the first place. Having strong leaders should be in place on the team responsible for executing the ERP strategy, which is why the project manager is the key figure in the process.

A manager among leaders and men
The ERP project manager serves a major responsibility before, during and after the ERP implementation as the go-to person for the entire project. This person can oversee several different aspects of the integration, according to vendor BIT Software. This includes preparing and conducting vendor meetings to help make a decision on which software to use, overseeing the decision-making process of when and where to incorporate new elements of the ERP process and planning out the entire process from first steps to launch. This means working with stakeholders including management and employees, discussing matters with the IT staff to determine the success of the operation and making sure the project remains on-budget and on-time.

Because of the many functions that an ERP system possesses, it's ideal for a business to hire a project manager that can be trusted to make the right decisions on behalf of the company. As Manufacturing Automation Magazine noted, that means that the leader should not be bound to any referral arrangements with ERP vendors, at least to the extent that it would impact staffing decisions. That way, he or she does not staff the implementation team with people that have less-than-exemplary experience working with the needs of business and takes a referral commission. Along with that, projects manager should have extensive experience not just in ERP implementations but also in the field that they're doing business in. With effective backgrounds in the field and a great track record, a great project manager can even turn around a previous failed implementation.

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.