I recently shared a “Stories from the Field” blog post summarizing a project in the construction industry.
Today, my focus is on the talent gap many industries are facing as skilled Baby Boomers retire and take their expertise with them.
This very trend was noted in an Advanced Manufacturing article warning of an impending “Silver Tsunami” as companies cope with a growing shortage of skilled workers as employees retire in record numbers.
Yet what I’ve seen first-hand is that a properly selected and implemented ERP project that includes business process transformation can counter this loss of “tribal knowledge.”
Retirement: Make Changes Before Expertise Walks out the Door
As an example, I recently was a part of a team working with an industrial equipment manufacturer celebrating its 50th year anniversary.
The company had depended on the same ERP solution for the past 30 years and had rightly identified the need for an upgraded system. Many key employees involved in the ERP platform selection and implementation team had been working within the legacy solution for their entire careers and were nearing (and in some cases, postponing) retirement. They possessed critical “tribal knowledge” of work-arounds, manual methods, standalone silo and homegrown solutions that had evolved over the decades, with little or no formal documentation of the methods. The risks were enormous as these key employees would play a pivotal role in the success of the ERP implementation.
Ultra Consultants suggested ways early in the process to mitigate the risks inherent in the loss of talented and skilled workers. The costs associated with rework during an ERP implementation are exponentially greater than the costs associated with rework/capturing accurate information during business process improvement phases, which occur long before the actual implementation begins. Manufacturers that find themselves in a similar situation need to recognize these risks and take proactive actions before undertaking a new ERP solution deployment.
Inside IT Expertise
Another recent consultation on ERP selection involved a leading machining manufacturer approaching its 100th anniversary. The company had been using an outdated solution that was no longer being supported – necessitating the over-reliance on internal IT managers. If these managers retire, the process is significantly hampered and precious resources are focused on hiring hard-to-find expertise.
Like many of our engagements, these pain points indicated a need for business process transformation coordinated with a new ERP solution.
ERP Platform: Proven Process and Methods
Ultra’s proven methodology identifies ways to make business process improvements through a step-by-step action plan. This strategic process establishes alignment of expectations with management, improves the efficiency of your team, eliminates process waste, and reduces the time to benefit for your project.
As our ERP consultant team has seen first-hand, companies seeking business process improvement when embarking upon ERP platform selection and implementation need to:
- Document the current state. We find that an ERP implementation is the perfect opportunity to dig deep into how the organization currently performs business processes. The “current state” documentation helps teams determine ways to use best practices built into the ERP system to streamline and improve these processes.
- Make the case for education in current business process best practices to transform the enterprise’s operations.
- Identify the future state to develop improved business processes flows. In visioning workshops, the business process owner reviews waste in current processes, discusses best practices, identifies future system requirements, and develops a “to be” map that represents the desired improved state.
- Answer the question “how does this new business process improve our company?” The answer to this question becomes the basis for the business case. This is the time to discuss, analyze and document the benefits to the business that will be attained with the implementation of the new business process.
Enterprises will reap benefits from a well-designed ERP platform selection and implementation project that addresses the talent gap of retiring skilled workers.
Need to preserve expertise?
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ERP Platform Benefits: Read More
- Ultra’s case study library provides additional examples of success stories from the field.
- A timely white paper entitled “Maximizing ROI in Your ERP Project” helps you maximize the benefits of ERP throughout the enterprise.
- Ready to realize the benefits of ERP? Contact usto create your own ERP success story.