A typical ERP implementation timeline impacts every area of the manufacturing company, cutting across functional boundaries and departments as well as impacting the extended enterprise.
When we team with mid-market manufacturers, one of the main concerns is the exact timing of the implementation.
Many times, the short answer is ‘”it depends.” We find that an ERP implementation timeline depends on the complexity of the system being implemented, production environment, number of facilities and processes, level of automation within the organization, existing IT infrastructure and many other considerations.
A Look at the ERP Implementation Timeline
Given this level of complexity, we suggest our clients take the time to consider the distinct stages of a typical timeline of an ERP implementation.
A previous blog post looked at the “pre-implementation” phase as a solid foundation for the ERP project. Manufacturing companies should carefully work through this phase, because success at this early stage increases the likelihood of success at go-live.
Another recent post looked at the project planning stage.
With the elements in place from the previous phases, the next step in ERP implementation is all about education.
The ERP Timeline and Education
It’s been our experience that ERP implementations go more smoothly when there is an emphasis on educating the team about the capabilities of the new ERP system features and functions. All parties must have a solid foundation of how the system works and what the new system will mean for their departments and the entire organization.
Practical, hands-on training must address the new capabilities, new processes and the expected value after implementation.
Main activities in the education phase fall in these three main areas:
- Vendor-Based Education: The ERP vendor should have a robust and proven training program available to the manufacturer. The first round of training is typically delivered to the ERP project team made up of the core team members related to the implementation. This includes in-person and online training exercises targeted to key process owners.
- Certification, Training Assessment: Assessment vehicles must test and certify the capabilities of the user so that key process owners have the information they need to configure and use the system. This is a lengthy process that could last months, depending on the depth of the new product, technology infrastructure and data integration. Formal certification programs should be considered as needed.
- Enterprise-Wide Education Roll-Out Plan: Once the ERP project team has completed system training, a roll out plan brings training to the enterprise. We’ve found that the best approach to training involves short, targeted training sessions. This allows the team members time to try out what they have learned and to develop ideas for process modifications and system optimization.
In this stage of the ERP implementation, we advise our clients to make sure the ERP vendor provides training that “sticks” so process owners are better able to absorb and retain the key information about new features and functions.
The outputs of the product education stage include a formalized education curriculum and roll-out plan, along with vehicles to test the knowledge of the team members as related to ERP features, functions, reporting and user interface familiarity.
Ongoing training and support programs will also come out of this phase.
An ERP Implementation Timeline Resource
You can take advantage of compelling “lessons learned” in a complimentary white paper Best Practices for an Effective ERP Implementation.
Special attention is placed on the phases of a typical ERP implementation timeline with the best practices proven to speed the rate of adoption and ROI.
We invite you to download the paper today, or contact our team for further insight.