Can Your Workforce Thrive on a New ERP?

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New software – specifically an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system like SAP Business One – is a big deal. The potential impact on your business is tremendous:

  • Service your customer better
  • Get accurate information quickly
  • Monitor financial health and KPIs
  • Plan for growth

The capabilities and benefits are all there – assuming you’ve chosen the right system (and that's a different blog). This impact is only limited by the adaptation of your workforce (users). Do your users have the a) willingness to change and b) right skill sets?

Buy-in is when your users accept a project and actively participate in ensuring its success. This is essential for adopting and benefiting from a new ERP.

Here are some warning signs that change may be a problem.

People Hold on to Old Systems

People have routines. Perhaps they’ve done their jobs the same way for years. And despite what new software might provide to make their jobs easier, they may see no reason to change.

Changing how you do business – by streamlining and automating processes – can make employees doubt their roles, capabilities, and job security. Less computer-savvy employees may worry about their ability to learn a new system. And the necessary time, energy, and list of things to learn may feel overwhelming.

Job Responsibilities May Expand

Transferring to an ERP system includes long-term structural transformation. There could be a significant impact on virtually every business function, workflow, process, department, and employee. It’s unlikely that users’ jobs will stay the same. Some may not welcome more, or different, responsibilities.

Here are some warning signs that skill sets may be a problems.

Take a Hard Look - Do Your Users Have the Skill Sets to Recognize the Value Provided by an ERP?

New systems can handle both automation and traditional best practices. It’s a mistake not to explore new features and associated benefits. Remember, your competition has! It’s also a mistake to expect your users to readily adapt to new ways. Concepts that have traditionally been in ERP systems, like costing methods, GAAP-compliant Financials, lot traceability, landed cost, material planning, shop floor data collection, may be unfamiliar. If users understand, that’s ideal. If they don’t but can be taught, that’s manageable. If they’re lost and won’t tell you, that’s a problem. In a rapidly changing world, it’s only going to get worse. Systems are becoming more sophisticated with technologies like IOT and Block Chain.

So – Can Users Thrive?

Again, employee buy-in and participation are vital to a successful ERP implementation. Users should be encouraged throughout the process. Here’s a short list of things to observe

  • Are users trying to make the solution work? Leading, following, or getting out of the way.
  • Do users explore new features, documentation, user groups, YouTube videos, etc.?
  • Are users enrolled in accounting or APICs classes and continuing education?
  • Have users pursued certification?
  • Are users talking productively among themselves about the new system?
  • Have you (as an owner/ leader) been encouraging them and expressing the expected value from the new ERP?

The value you’ll gain from an ERP system far outweighs the cost, disruption, and effort involved in the implementation. So, create an environment for users to thrive! As you consider new ERP, the Acuity team is here to support you.

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Joseph Timmins

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