User training critical for ERP success

////User training critical for ERP success
Users are one of the most critical aspects of ERP implementation at any manufacturing organization. This means that as soon as decisions are made to purchase new software, an enterprise must make sure the staff is trained to get the most out of the new program. In addition to letting staff members get their feet wet with the software, this process will also be essential for making sure there is minimal resistance to change. According to a white paper by the Aberdeen Group, 47 percent of manufacturers said they lacked either the internal resources for ERP implementation or didn’t have the time to take away from other responsibilities. However, if a company has time to implement a new ERP program, they must make the time to ensure users are properly trained. Without proper knowledge of how to use a system, the organization will likely not get the desired return on investment, and employee sentiment may soon turn sour. Statistics from Aberdeen found that the top 35 percent of performers, known as leaders, saw a 14 percent reduction of operational costs after ERP implementation. There was also a 13 percent profitability increase over the previous two years with 36 percent of employees going above and beyond what was expected of them. ERP implementation projects were approximately 7 percent under budget for these enterprises. One big difference between these two groups was in training efforts across the company. Ongoing training and best practices With 27 percent of companies concerned about employee engagement, there should also be ongoing training in addition to early in the adoption process. After a system has gone live, current employees should be getting refresher courses on processes of the software. The organization cannot leave behind new hires, either. They must get the full training regime when they come on -board. Achieving the full benefits of ERP software means the staff must have full confidence in the actions they need to take. Gartner’s Pat Phelan wrote that training is part of the lifeblood of an ERP implementation. Some best practices for training employees on the ins and outs of this software include: – Making the training role-based for what each worker does at a business – Ensuring mandatory attendance at sessions to make sure no one misses the proverbial boat – Building teamwork during the training sessions to let employees know areas where it may be helpful for them to come together – Engaging employees and making sessions exciting instead of rigorous and boring – Thinking of what can be done to further the employee’s understanding of the ERP system moving forward Organizations must understand that the software change is never just in the technology, as there needs to be a cultural shift as well. Brenda Cole said on TechTarget that understanding how important training is before, during and after ERP will be an important differentiator for how well a program works. 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.