Eight ERP implementation best practices

Most manufacturers judge an enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementation by the initial expense, ongoing operating or maintenance costs, return on investment, and time-to-value.

03/16/2018


Photo by Alexa Mazzarello on UnsplashMost manufacturers judge an ERP implementation by the initial expense, ongoing operating or maintenance costs, return on investment, and time-to-value.

In today’s competitive business climate, we suggest an even more rigorous focus on enterprise software implementation that tracks additional metrics like disruptions in operations, impact on productivity, and level of ERP adoption across the enterprise.

Noted here are eight top considerations to keep in mind before embarking on your ERP implementation to avoid cost over-runs, time delays, disruptions in operations and more.

ERP implementation best practices

1. Assessing the team and the load on company resources

Picture this scene – the business transformation journey is nearing completion. You’ve worked hard to document your current processes, and you’ve done due diligence evaluating software from the top vendors and have identified the winner.

You are tempted to sit back and relax, but the implementation part of the journey looms. Don’t be despondent.

If handled well, with the right level of commitment from the project team, the implementation will succeed.

Some questions to consider:

  • Have you identified the subject matter experts related to configuration and process definition during the set-up of each process?
  • Are the internal and external teams aligned on project responsibilities, i.e., master data, system configuration, training and education, business process decisions?
  • Is a good communications strategy in place to deal with change management challenges?
  • Is there a good project plan with identified stages and a regular schedule of cadence calls with all the team members involved?

2. Assessing complexity, risk, and data integration challenges

Consider these questions: 

  • Does your team have a strategy for dealing with data migration? What will you do with historic data? How will you prioritize which data is important to migrate?
  • Are these some complexities in processes that the new system would enable you to reduce or eliminate?
  • Is the team open-minded about changes to business processes? Have you identified a champion for change?

3. Reviewing project management

Some questions to consider:

  • Should you use an internal project manager – or would you be better served by ERP services from an outside consultant?
  • Do you have the expertise in-house to handle the ERP project management responsibilities?

4. Configuring the future state

It’s very tempting when considering new technology to merely identify features and functions that users would like. A better approach is to think in terms of process improvement. This includes considering downstream and upstream communication and how the process could be improved overall.

5. Testing the system with end-users

A key step in implementation is end-user testing. Do not minimize this. The most successful companies take the “measure twice, cut once” approach to technology implementation. Best practice implementation methodologies emphasize multiple conference room pilots to test the system. If the system is going to work, it’s vital that the users are exposed to rigorous testing using process scripts that match the future state definition. Don’t be afraid to let users try the full capabilities of the system – it’s a test. They won’t break it.

6. Converting data

Decision time: how much data do you really need to bring over? How “clean” is the data? Be very selective and ensure that the quality of the data is high; clean up any errors or duplications.

7. Driving performance improvements

We spoke about “configuring the future state” – we can’t underestimate the value of setting goals for performance improvement that can be measured after the go-live. Capture key performance indicators for your enterprise as part of your current state analysis – then compare them to a new set of key performance indicators (KPIs) after using the new technology for some time. Celebrate the business process transformation – this will serve as motivation as you use the technology and increase its value.

8. Experiencing change management

We all have them – the team members that drive positive change, and those that want things to stay the same. It’s natural. The key to a successful transformation is to identify which members of the team are in which camp, and develop a strategy where the motivation for change comes from the positive side. Celebrate the small efforts for change. Invite the naysayers to share their concerns openly and help them to find neutral or positive ground in their situations. A third party or independent consultant can have tremendous effect here because they offer a broader perspective on the benefits of change.

Following these eight ERP implementation best practices will make the business transformation journey be a successful one.

Martin Davis is a consultant at Ultra Consultants. This article originally appeared on Ultra Consultants' Blog. Ultra Consultants is a CFE Media content partner.



Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
October 2018
Tools vs. sensors, functional safety, compressor rental, an operational network of maintenance and safety
September 2018
2018 Engineering Leaders under 40, Women in Engineering, Six ways to reduce waste in manufacturing, and Four robot implementation challenges.
July/Aug
GAMS preview, 2018 Mid-Year Report, EAM and Safety
October 2018
2018 Product of the Year; Subsurface data methodologies; Digital twins; Well lifecycle data
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, programming cavity pumps
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
October 2018
Complex upgrades for system integrators; Process control safety and compliance
September 2018
Effective process analytics; Four reasons why LTE networks are not IIoT ready

Annual Salary Survey

After two years of economic concerns, manufacturing leaders once again have homed in on the single biggest issue facing their operations:

It's the workers—or more specifically, the lack of workers.

The 2017 Plant Engineering Salary Survey looks at not just what plant managers make, but what they think. As they look across their plants today, plant managers say they don’t have the operational depth to take on the new technologies and new challenges of global manufacturing.

Read more: 2017 Salary Survey

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Material Handling
This digital report explains how everything from conveyors and robots to automatic picking systems and digital orders have evolved to keep pace with the speed of change in the supply chain.
Electrical Safety Update
This digital report explains how plant engineers need to take greater care when it comes to electrical safety incidents on the plant floor.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Design of Safe and Reliable Hydraulic Systems for Subsea Applications
This eGuide explains how the operation of hydraulic systems for subsea applications requires the user to consider additional aspects because of the unique conditions that apply to the setting
click me