An ERP implementation life cycle refers to the distinct stages involved in carrying out an an ERP implementation project.
Typically, we advise mid-market manufactures to move through the following seven stages:
- Project Planning
- Product Education
- Design Configuration
- Development and Test
The concept of an ERP implementation life cycle should be on the minds of many mid-market manufacturers throughout the year, but especially at year-end. This is because many process and discrete manufacturers head into active ERP projects in the New Year, and are actively considering what it means to enter into the various phases of an ERP implementation.
Where to Begin the ERP Implementation Life Cycle: Pre-Implementation
While it’s tempting to gloss over the preparatory activities that should take place in the “pre-implementation” phase, our team advises manufacturers to take special care throughout this first phase of ERP implementation life cycle.
Tasks that are part of pre-implementation are important because they form a solid foundation for the ERP project. We advise that manufacturing companies carefully manage this phase, because success at this early stage increases the likelihood of success at “go-live” down the line.
- Vendor Due Diligence – These are tasks found at the end of the technology evaluation cycle, which involve vendor due diligence, site visits, ERP vendor customer references and other evaluation activities with the preferred vendor. This phase is also marked by contract review, negotiation and finalization.
- The Project Team and Implementation Charter – Other tasks include development of the ERP Project Team – the key stakeholders who will lead the charge – and the ERP Project Charter – the ERP team’s concise statement of core goals, objectives and scope. In essence, a charter serves as the “map” for everything that comes next. We have found that an effective project charter becomes a daily reference point for avoiding “scope creep” and keeping the ERP team focused on the end-result.
Additional Pre-Implementation Tasks
- Pre-implementation tasks also include stipulating IT project governance process such as ERP project team roles and responsibilities during implementation.
- Preferred vendors under consideration should provide a detailed Statement of Work (SOW) for the implementation, including services, a proposed timeline, a set budget, and other project details from the vendor point of view. The SOW should be developed in tandem with the ERP Project Charter process at the manufacturer.
- The vendors should also provide a list of who is on the vendor team complete with profiles of the team members to be sure they fit the manufacturing culture, and offer the appropriate qualifications and certifications for the implementation.
- Vendors should provide implementation references of projects that have taken place within the last year, in a similar industry. This is the time for the manufacturer to reach out to the implementation reference as use them as a critical resource for “lessons learned.
- Once the ERP selection takes place, the ERP vendors usually deliver a detailed Master Service Agreement which lays out the terms of the contract. This agreement must be fully reviewed by the manufacturer’s legal team, IT leadership, company management and other groups as needed.
Your ERP Implementation Life Cycle Resource
As an independent ERP consultant, we’re in a unique position to have worked through numerous ERP implementation life cycles at various companies.
To learn more about the phases of a typical ERP implementation life cycle and best practices for speeding up the rate of adoption and ROI, refer to our complimentary white paper Best Practices for an Effective ERP Implementation.