Selecting and Implementing an Effective ERP System: 6 Best Practices

Barbie Espinol

If you’re looking for an effective ERP system, there’s a good chance you have a broad swathe of options. Enterprise resource planning software offers various features, from ones that lay the organizational groundwork to long-term planning modules.

As ERPs are major projects that can heavily impact your organization, there are best practices that you want to use to make the most out of your system. Here are six best practices when selecting and rolling out an effective ERP system.

1. Review Your Business Needs For The ERP Project

Before you can roll out a new solution, you must determine precisely what you need from it. Be thorough about needing information from new software so there aren’t any holes in functionality. You will want to carefully review your business needs to see if an unpopular or disastrous project will occur.

To avoid serious problems, it’s crucial to evaluate your organization honestly and determine how the implementation will fare. This starts with assessing your technical needs, reviewing your current business processes, and reviewing the latest industry trends. 

You would also want to consider weak points within your organizational structure and the features that will solve them. For example, AP automation is desirable if you want to streamline your accounting process.

You may want a materials requirement module if it deals extensively with manufacturing a good or product. In this case, the business will need to drill down into its needs to ensure that it selects a solution with that function. 

2. Overhaul Your Processes And Company Policies

A standard for a successful implementation is to ensure that your processes and systems are tightly integrated. You’ll also want to change your internal policies so the new system works smoothly. The key is to make the process as easy as possible. 

You can ensure this by redesigning how you handle your processes and getting ready for eventual changes within the company. Your employees will need time to acclimate themselves to the new system, so create a plan for handling problems.  

Implementing a new system will come with a host of challenges from both a technical and human perspective. This is why so many companies are hesitant to undergo such a potentially costly and disruptive procedure. However, changes can bolster measurables within your organization, from employee engagement to business agility.

3. Create A Clear System Of Collaboration And Communication

There’s no denying that implementing an ERP is a team effort. Most stakeholders will interact with the e-system, so team leaders must maintain clear lines of communication. A collaboration system will help departments and individuals integrate successfully with the technology. 

This begins with creating a comprehensive schedule for the rollout that all departments can follow. Also, communicate and collaborate with all your team members, from the C-suite to end users. The outcome will mean more efficient coordination between all teams. It will also create a shared knowledge level that enables your system.  

A plan will be essential for identifying the stakeholders that play a critical role in the process, from IT to financial managers. As you prepare to roll out the system, you may want to designate a group of trainers. A training schedule should be created to ensure everyone receives the necessary instruction. 

4. Conduct An ERP Demo At The Start

Another common best practice for an effectively implemented system is to perform a demo at the start stage. This will ensure that all stakeholders are aligned and that everyone knows what to expect. 

Some businesses make the mistake of not conducting a demo at the start of an ERP implementation. There is simply no better way to see how an end user interacts with the software or how it’s different from competitors. A day-long discovery session can answer many of your questions and help determine if it suits your needs.

The demonstration will give all staff members an idea of the scope of the work required throughout the implementation. It also ensures that all your staff is on the same page. 

The best time to proceed with this critical aspect of the process is before an ERP is prepared. A demo that mimics the configuration of your selected vendor will better prepare you for the process. 

5. Start Data Migration

In addition to conducting the demo, another starting point is data migration. Although this may sound tedious, it’s essential to ensure your solution is fully functional on Day 1. This will ensure the data is ready by the time your deployment starts. 

Too often, companies leave this process until the very end, only to realize they have additional steps. This can result in lost productivity because your staff has to focus on addressing a bottleneck in the system. Starting data mapping and cleansing is vital during the planning stage.  

A comprehensive database with all critical information will be essential. This entails all the data you’ll need for your organization, including customers, products, and vendors. 

A clear and complete picture of your data can help you make smarter decisions. You need a comprehensive view of your supply chain, inventory, and customer records. An accurate depiction of these data points can influence your decisions about your inventory.  

6. Get End-User Feedback

The last tip is to create a strategy around getting feedback from end-users. This is a complex step that can involve many subsidiaries of the organization. Your IT team should generate a list of employees using the system and keep their feedback in mind.  

Engaging with your employees is critical as you progress with a large-scale initiative such as an ERP. Failing to gather feedback and involve all levels will negatively affect your results.  

An end-to-end, enterprise-wide program will involve all levels and offer valuable insights. This level of understanding helps identify roadblocks and issues that can disrupt your implementation and success. 

An ERP template can give you a good starting point for gathering end-user requirements. This can get you to a point where you’re ready for an implementation of an end-to-end E-procurement environment. 

Final Thoughts

Managing your business in a competitive marketplace can be challenging. An ERP platform can make a big difference, but your goal is to implement an all-encompassing, functional new system that consolidates all your resources. 

By collaborating with others and starting the data processing early, you should develop an actionable strategy for a successful change. Follow these best practices and make the best out of your rollout. 

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