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Perhaps you already have an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system or perhaps you don’t. However, one thing is for sure. You’re looking for ways to support and strengthen your growing business.
A growing business is a wonderful thing. It brings with it more opportunities to serve more people. It also brings with it the opportunity to expand your workforce and secure their future.
On the other hand, scaling up can also bring to light flaws in your processes and systems. Businesses experiencing a growth phase also encounter a lot of challenges. Expenses can increase, existing processes are no longer fit for purpose, a silo mentality can set in, and excellent customer service can be more difficult to maintain.
A fit-for-purpose ERP solution, designed specifically with your business and its growing needs in mind, can help you overcome all of these obstacles.
So how do you take the next steps with ERP implementation?
Investing in a new ERP system takes time and money. It’s worth it though as an effective ERP system will help you future-proof your business for years to come. Therefore, you want to take your ERP implementation process seriously and get it right the first time.
Our post will share best practice tips on how to take the next steps on your ERP journey.
Let’s dispel any misconceptions about ERP implementation from the outset.
Setting up a new ERP system in your company, whether it’s the first time you’re using an ERP solution or you’re replacing an existing system, is a big undertaking. Implementing a new system, no matter how big you want to scale, requires changes to data and operational processes across your organisation.
Therefore, you want to work with an ERP vendor you feel you can trust. The best ERP implementations happen when a company and a vendor develop a partnership. You’ll be working with this partner for probably the next 10-15 years so whilst the suitability of the software is incredibly important don’t forget to review and compare the services, ethos, and location of the various vendors you are considering.
It’s almost a sure bet that it’s the inefficiencies and failures of your current processes that have caused you to investigate what ERP software can do for your business.
Get all of these down in writing.
An ERP system is not a software solution that you buy off the shelf. Modern ERP solutions can be tweaked to accommodate your business processes, unique ways of working etc.
Your ERP partner needs to understand exactly what flaws exist in your current system, and what workflow processes you’d like in your new system. What are the objectives you’d like to achieve? What processes work easily in your business as it currently stands and what work-arounds are required? What are those unique ways of working that help you differentiate your business?
Having a record of all the challenges your business is trying to overcome will also help you compare ERP products objectively.
An ERP system has the power to completely transform your business. And the key to transformation is to focus on the “big wins” first.
Part of the documentation process mentioned above should be identifying a “wishlist” of new processes and data management in your business. Begin this process by speaking to your staff and finding out exactly what each team would like the new system to do.
Your initial “wishlist” is almost guaranteed to be a lengthy document. That’s fine; but then you need to start whittling it down into a list of priorities.
Some of the items will be mission critical, and will have a huge impact on revenue, costs or productivity (or all three). These are the priorities to focus on as you build your ERP implementation plan.
At this stage, you should have a document that records the challenges and obstacles you’re facing in your business and a list of priorities you want to achieve.
Now is the time to start looking for your ideal ERP software solution. There is a large range of ERP systems out there and you need to evaluate which one would best suit your needs.
Make sure you investigate the deployment methods of the various ERP systems you consider, along with how the systems can scale as your business grows.
Three very important questions to ask as you consider ERP systems are:
Your ERP vendor is going to be tasked with delivering on the vision you have for your business. You need to be assured that the partner you choose has the technical and industry expertise required to ensure a successful ERP implementation in your business.
Best practice ERP implementation methodology exists; does your ERP partner follow it? Are the two companies (yours and the ERP vendor’s) aligned in your approach and culture? Are you reassured that the ERP vendor you want to work with understands what your priorities are?
ERP software is powerful, but the ultimate success of your ERP implementation will be down to your project team and vendor.
If you’d like more information on how to ensure a successful ERP implementation in your company, check out this ERP Implementation Guide