“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success.” Babe Ruth
One of the most dramatic lessons we’ve learned over decades of serving manufacturers is the importance of an effective team. That’s why the quote above is so appropriate – it illustrates what we know about success when it comes to ERP selection and implementation.
A previous blog post took a look at how important the team is to ERP selection. As the post notes, putting together an effective team is a critical steps to successful ERP selection. Why? The team helps with ERP requirements definition. The team is also responsible for assessing ERP vendors and their product offerings.
In much the same way, the effectiveness of a team is a critical success factor when it comes to ERP implementation. The implementation team helps create the ERP implementation plan, works with the vendor on data conversion, and is also involved in establishing the format of ERP reports and other output.
The ERP Implementation Team
An effective ERP implementation team with clear goals is the foundation of a successful implementation project. It’s important to build an internal team that includes the people who helped select the ERP, along with an executive sponsor and representation from across the enterprise, as well as other senior management and internal leaders.
We’ve found that effective ERP implementations start with a team fully engaged in the process. This means pulling together a talented Project Manager and user champions from the main area of the manufacturing organization including finance, purchasing, quality, production, logistics, engineering, etc.
5 ERP Implementation Keys to Success
Over the years, we’ve noted these key success factors when it comes to the ERP selection team.
- An Emphasis on Project Management: Due to the complex nature of an ERP implementation, the team must be led by a person experienced in project management. A dedicated, experienced project manager can make the difference between success and failure. More than a part-time task master, the project manager provides leadership for accountability, transparency, and decisiveness. We advise our clients that the entire ERP implementation team should keep a focus on excellent project management techniques.
- A Commitment to Apply the Appropriate Resources: Manufacturing companies must apply significant internal and external resources for ERP implementation. From data migration to user training, from a phased pilot to “go live” deployment, the correct vendor, consultant and internal business user resources are critical. We see many companies underestimate the required resources especially during critical phases of the project. We advise our clients to never trivialize the scope and scale of an ERP implementation. Success follows when a company allocates the proper amount of time and resources.
- Collaboration with IT: As we noted earlier in the post, an ERP implementation affects the whole enterprise, including the extended supply chain. However, the IT team needs to be at the center of it all. The project team must build in collaboration, communication and coordination with the IT department.
- A Focus on Change Management: An ERP implementation brings with it drastic change for the entire enterprise. A previous post on ERP and change management noted that it’s important for the ERP implementation team to know how the work force will react to a new ERP system, how to gain consensus from all team members, and how sponsors can lead their people to success. The team sets the pace in implementing ERP for lasting business change within an organization.
- A Focus on Education: This point can’t be stressed enough. An ERP implementation is only be as good as an end-user’s ability to operate it. The team must design workshops and instruction to teach all business users how to utilize the system to its full potential. Our implementation experts often suggest short, targeted training sessions. This allows users the time to try what they have learned and to develop ideas for process modifications and system optimization.
Experienced ERP resources can certainly implement a new ERP system much faster and more effectively than the uneducated business user. Relying on Ultra’s implementation experts helps companies save money, time and minimize costly disruptions to their business.
Learn more about Ultra Consultants ERP implementation experience – considered a main ingredient to successful ERP project management.