ERP systems have evolved through the years, with more and more companies installing programs to streamline their operations. However, many challenges still exist when it comes to getting the best out of ERP software. Particularly as every company has its own unique needs, expectations and way of doing things.
Choosing the right ERP software
One of the first challenges of an ERP project is to decide which software to choose as there are many on the market. Every business is different. Start the project by defining your key business challenges and goals of your ERP project. Use these goals to create a shortlist of software options and then compare their functionalities against your goals.
When choosing a system is it also important to look at the vendor or supplier, as ERP software investment is a partnership.
The technical challenges
A part of an ERP implementation project should be assessing the current IT infrastructure, workstations and other management systems - this is to ensure it can run the software efficiently and to avoid performance issues. Your chosen software provider should be able to help you with this vital task as all software will have minimum requirements. It will be the operating nature and ease of scalability of the software that will determine the size of the problem.
The challenge of data quality
One of the biggest challenges when implementing a new ERP software is data compatibility. The information that the old management system produces may not be in the right format or contain enough data for inputting into the new ERP program. There is also the question of do you need all the data from the existing system(s).
Careful project planning and spending time to map existing data to the new system is, therefore, necessary to avoid issues when you go live with the new system. Done incorrectly, it could significantly detract from the new system's ability to manage and foresee any problems.
Overcoming managerial challenges
The implementation of a new system will result in operational and process changes. Change management is difficult and requires buy-in from managers for them to obtain buy-in from their team members.
One of the key benefits of an integrated system for managers is that it will allow other departments and disciplines to have access to real-time data, allowing collaborative working. It means that managerial practices and principles should also be adopted to ensure that the company maximises the benefit it will receive from the new method of doing things - providing it is correctly monitored. So consistent communication of the benefits of the new software is required.
Keeping the ERP project on track
An ERP project is rarely done in silos, project members will always have their daily tasks. Whether your business is in process manufacturing, discrete manufacturing or something else; detailed planning, thinking through current processes and how the company envision the process in the new system is essential.
Defining key indicators and milestones is important to ERP project management and monitoring, as it can quickly go wrong if they are not set. It keeps the project on track, set goals and expectations of project members to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Investing in full training for management and staff
The final piece of the puzzle is to invest in user training and ensure they have a good understanding of the areas they use daily within the system, so they can do their jobs effectively, and minimise disruptions when going live.
ERP software is an enabler, it can help manufacturers achieve continuous improvements. Constantly monitoring the efficiency of processes and seeing how the system can help improve them, is the best way to get the most out of an ERP system. To find out more about how WinMan can help you with our, highly scalable manufacturing ERP software, please contact us today.