You may be looking at upgrading your existing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software and you no doubt have an ongoing Continuous Improvement (CI) Program. How can you maintain your CI program while addressing your ERP needs at the same time? This issue and effectively realizing the benefits of business process improvement are challenges faced by many of our clients.
Fundamental Challenges in Realizing the Benefits of Business Process Improvement
Upgrading a corporate-wide ERP system is a significant project that will require the commitment of a core group of individuals and several external partners. Managing the ongoing needs of improving your business while providing the focus required to pick an ERP system and vendor partner is a fundamental challenge most companies face as they move their business processes to new level of performance.
How to Get Started
At Ultra Consultants, we assist clients with our proven methodology that provides structure through this process. The steps below are proven ways to lead to your realization of the benefits of business process improvement:
- Identify an ERP process improvement leader
- Define the Current State, or where you are now
- Understand what is possible by learning the tools modern ERP systems have to offer
- Define the Future State, or where you wish to be
- Build the Business Case for Change
The Importance of a Process Improvement Leader
The place to begin is with identifying the individual in your organization who will take on the role of Process Improvement Leader. This person should be a risk-taking individual who brings a broad-based knowledge of the various organizational functions in your firm. They should have a solid rapport with other members of the management team and be well-respected.
The Main Responsibilities of a Process Improvement Leader
Does your firm have an existing CI program? If so, it will be important for the ERP Process Improvement Leader to work closely with the person responsible for your ongoing CI program. They could be the same person, but be careful not to overload this position. Additionally, the ERP Process Improvement Leader will need a solid background in both current Information Technology systems that exist in the company as well as the intricacies of Accounting processes. The typical ERP Process Improvement Leader may not be quite as strong in the operational needs of the company as a CI Leader. By bringing both of these individuals onto the team, you will have created the potential for building an effective cross-functional team.
Identifying Your Team Members
With your ERP Process Improvement Leader in place you’re ready to identify the remaining team members. Ideally this project core team should consist of 4-6 individuals who are ready to embrace change and the disruption organizational change brings. They should also have a reasonable knowledge of how functional areas other than their own support the company’s goals. Pull the team together, provide some team training if needed, and you’re ready to begin the journey.
Initiating the Project Plan
Your Ultra consultant will meet with this team and work with the team leader to create the initial ERP project plan which will include definition of the current state process and education leading up to defining the future state. During this period the team will become acquainted with the overall processes. Both aspects of this early period will be critical to the overall success of the project.
In future blogs we’ll cover these stages in detail by showing how to effectively manage both ERP system selection and the benefits of business process improvement. In the meantime, refer to our whitepaper “A Roadmap for Business Performance Improvement” for more tips.