10 Tips to Ensure a Smooth ERP Implementation

Pat McGrath December 2, 2014

People, Process and Technology are the foundation from which all results are born. A successful ERP Implementation relies on the combination of talent, proven methodologies, project management, change management processes, plus current and planned systems and technology. Combined this powerful combination will get you to your implementation destination and position your business for greater success in the present and the future. ​

How do you ensure that People, Process and Technology are converged to deploy an ERP set of solutions on-par with the industry’s best companies? Start with the talent needed. There are many experienced, business focused consultants and the resources of your own experienced staff. That talent spurred on by your priorities, timeline and strategy, will guide the project definition and lay the foundation for project success and a smooth ERP implementation.

The success of your implementation depends on the thoroughness of the planning process. See the image with the key process components that will support your success.

There are many ERP systems and options -pick a partner, pick a vendor, pick a product based on your requirements, talk with references in your industry and decide based on your functional needs, costs to own and operate, and the ability to grow with you and support your business. There are firms and analysts that can assist in this process.

Getting Started
The success of your ERP project is directly tied to the three foundation elements above. The implementation plan should, consider:

  • the appropriate level of resources , including: people, time, budget
  • the right technology to ensure success www.infor.com

Now, let’s take a look at those 10 Keys (plus 1) to a Smooth ERP Implementation.

  1. Executive Owner - You don’t delegate your business success; you should not delegate an ERP implementation that affects every aspect of that business! You must have continued/on-going commitment of the executive and functional business owners to have a successful ERP implementation
  2. Dedicated Project Manager - You wouldn’t build a house without a general contractor, nor should you build new business systems without this key person. The PM should be: Proven, Certified, Experienced, and Knowledgeable in the ERP system being implemented.
  3. Project Planning - includes:budget/schedule/resources/communications/conflicts/escalation/change requests expectations management with methodologies for PM and ERP Implementation
  4. Change Management - Human Factors: Acknowledge the change in the way business will be done, including: the benefits of the new system, system capabilities and current issues that will be addressed. Communicate, communicate, and communicate. Project Specific: have a Project Change Management Request and Approval Process.
  5. Training - Don’t skimp on training. Training should be job specific and include a view of: how the new process works compared to the old process. Education should be provided for: Users, Management, Business Functions, IT, Suppliers/Vendors, Customers. Communicate the plans for education.
  6. Knowledge Management - Insure skills and knowledge transfer happen if using consultants or outside expertise. Create documentation as you go through the implementation process.
  7. Budget - Who holds the purse strings? Who has authority to make budget and change decisions? Who is the tie breaker when priorities change? Who communicates the budget impacts? Who reviews the costs identified, allocated and communicated by project asset category: resources, tools, testing, training, H/W & S/W, and time. Conduct checkpoints and reviews.
  8. Escalation Procedures - This area, if not defined and managed, will make or break you schedule and budget effectiveness. How will you resolve issue? How will you maintain your schedule? Clearly define the Chain of Command and authority for this process.
  9. Communications Have a communications plan. This must happen on a regular schedule with stakeholders. Acknowledge issues as they arise, do not put them off until the next meeting. Have a plan to investigate, address and resolve all issues/concerns.
  10. Recognize/Reward Team and Individual Accomplishments - Applaud successes and celebrate key events. Make the project public w/visual status boards. Don’t under estimate the benefits of verbal recognition of successes along the way. Track progress in a public place, lunch room, main entry hallway, etc. Have a contest: based on achieving goals/deadlines/achievements. Reward the team: Donuts for morning review meetings or pizza parties during go-live testing. Regularly provide positive reinforcement and constructive insights.
  11. System and Process Modifications - Don’t do it! Don’t try to make the new system like your old system. Don’t recreate your old broken processes! Considerations: Support, Maintenance and Upgrades. If you modify the system use APIs/portals provided by the vendor.
This should help you get on your way. If you would like further help or directions, please reach out to me or our team of consultants here at Barry-Wehmiller, International. Contact me at Pat.McGrath@B-WI.com. Wishing you a successful project! ;-)

patAbout the Author: Patricia McGrath is pleased to represent Barry-Wehmiller International, as Director of Strategic Initiatives. B-WI provides consulting and services for manufacturing, engineering, ERP solutions, and specialized development and support services. Pat’s career includes positions with such prestigious companies as IBM and KPMG. While there she focused on strategy, ERP business partners and business consulting, plus having her own company working with others to develop both strategic initiatives and tactical plans.


Topics Enterprise Resource Planning