One of the biggest hurdles some executives might deal with when considering how to adopt and transition to a new ERP system – potentially leaving behind a legacy system that has served them well for years – is that they don't want to spend a lot of time tweaking how their new software works for them. Unfortunately, this is just part of the cost of doing business, but there are ways manufacturers can make sure they're implementing their new ERP programs as smoothly as possible.

Most businesses will undertake a testing phase between the point at which they get their new ERP systems and when they begin to solely rely on them to make their processes run a little more smoothly, according to a report from DZone Integration Zone. It is during this period when companies should get a feel for what they can get out of their new systems and make whatever changes to the default settings they need to ensure it's an ongoing success. The testing phase can last as long as companies need it to, but for the most part, it shouldn't be too difficult to get a new system up to speed in short order.

Know when to say "when"
Indeed, part of the planning for a new ERP system involves figuring out when and how to wind down use of the legacy system it's replacing, the report said. It used to be that many manufacturers would slowly transition from one system to the other, somewhat piecemeal. But these days, a lot of the offerings available to companies make this a one-step process, which is typically easier for everyone involved.

Likewise, it's important that companies let the workers who will be the ones most likely to use the ERP in the most hands-on roles on a regular basis test out the platforms, the report said. This can help to both familiarize them with the systems and also ensure that any kinks can be ironed out before full integration.

Moving data
Meanwhile, companies have to worry about how the information they culled from years of work with their old ERP programs on everything from time tracker information to what was culled from mobile data collection can be integrated into their new systems, according to a report from Host Review. That kind of effort should include not only making sure the systems are compatible, but also working to ensure everything transfers over properly and accurately. Further, it might not be necessary to transfer everything, so companies would be wise to evaluate what data they will and won't need to transition.

The more companies can do to research the best migration methods for new ERP systems, the better off everyone will be once they cut the cord with the older software. That, in turn, will help to boost efficiency and ease of use in the long run.

Learn how to define your ERP strategy by downloading the white paper entitled "ERP in Manufacturing: Defining the ERP Strategy" from the Insight Works website.