Every company that embarks on an implementation of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) project hopes that the implementation will be a success; on time and on budget. There are a number of critical success factors that could help ensure that success of a typical ERP implementation. In the article below, the most significant factors for success have highlighted.
Match The Objectives Of The Implementation With The Objectives Of The Business
It can happen that the objectives of the implementation are different to the business objectives of the company. For example, if the company has a decentralized manufacturing model, it would be unwise to implement a system that only allows a centralized model.
Define Key Objectives, Benefits, And Expectations Before You Start The Implementation
It is difficult to make an ERP implementation a success if there are no objective set at the commencement of the project. The business has to define what benefits they expect or the implementation will never be deemed a success. Defining expectations after implementation has started could be a waste of resources if parts of the implementation have to be restarted.
Ensure You Have Senior Management Involvement
ERP implementations have failed because important decisions cannot be made by middle management and require top level management. Without senior management understanding and approving of the direction of the project, key decisions may be incorrectly made. This could lead to the final implementation processes being contrary to the vision of the senior management.
Ensure That The Management Of The Project Reflects The Business
The organization of the project management team should be inclusive so that all aspects of the business have a say. ERP implementations often fail when the management team has excluded certain business functions, and the project is just seen as finance project or a technology project. Once a business function has been excluded it is difficult to then get them to participate in the project at critical times, such as integration testing or user acceptance.
Even the simplest ERP implementation will cause changes. It could be as simple as the way in which parts are delivered to the production line or major changes to processes across the company. No matter what the changes, any ERP implementation should have a change management team comprised of business and change specialists who can develop a plan of how the changes will be communicated with the business.
Ensure You Have The Right Resources
The implementation of an ERP system can be costly and it is important to have the right people on the project from day one. This can be very difficult as it is difficult to ask employees to work their own job and be on a six or twelve month project at the same time. Sometimes this is possible, but can end up with the employee not being successful in either position. In large ERP implementations, the company will find the best and the brightest to be involved with the ERP implementation as these will be the people with the knowledge when the project is finished.
Develop a Plan And Stick To It
The plan for your ERP implementation is the roadmap which determines the milestone deliverables, resource requirements, costs, and ultimately the success of the project. Too often the plan is thought of as guide, but it should be the yardstick that everyone is held to. Changing the plan means more resource, more costs, and less faith in the project’s success.
Documentation And Training
During the implementation decisions are made and without adequate documentation it may be impossible in the future to understand why they were made. In addition it is important to keep documentation current, so when changes are made to the system after the initial implementation, the existing documents can be amended. Training is equally important for a company. Training documents can be developed from the implementation documentation and delivered to the relevant personnel prior to the implementation of the system. Like the system documentation, the training documents should be amended when processes are updated.