Implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system is complex. But if done successfully, a new ERP can be a game-changer. It really will help organizations streamline operations and gain control. This complexity is most manageable in phases. Project execution, the fifth phase in an ERP project, is the most critical. If done properly, you will move to a better system and realize benefits. If done improperly, well, we won’t go there. In this blog post, we provide a short list of key project execution components.
To view other parts of the 5 Points of Consideration for ERP Implementation click the links below:
- Why Replace your ERP?
- Who Will Implement your ERP?
- Prepare for a Demonstration
- Project Execution
- Key Project Execution Components for your ERP Implementation (This Blog)
Set aside an ERP Day
It’s a good idea to set aside time and block off calendars. Consider “a weekly ERP Day” or some other appropriate schedule commitment. Maintaining momentum is essential to the success of the project. Don’t lose sight of the fact that key people are needed, and those key people are ALWAYS busy. An ERP Day should be uninterrupted, free from any other meeting distractions and a help (not a hinderance) for managing people’s time. The ERP Day is for the team to focus solely on aspects of the implementation.
Plan, Plan, Plan
Planning is the backbone of any successful ERP implementation project. The project execution phase is no exception. The team should review a project plan regularly and adjust as needed. Keep the implementation on track. This is a good place for classic project management tools, techniques and communication.
Gather and get ready all Critical Forms, and Reports
At the outset of the project, all critical forms and reports from the old system should be inventoried. The project team should understand information that keeps the business going day in day out. Even common things like invoice forms, order acknowledgements, purchase orders and checks should be vetted and re-designed as needed. Any necessary changes should be made and proven well in advance of the system Go Live. As for reporting, chances are the new system will be different. What is critical is that key information is understood, along with where to get it in the new system. The team should have total familiarity with forms and reports, old and new.
Two conversions – a Test and a Live
Plan on two conversions – test and live. The test conversion involves bringing data from the old system into the new system, but well in advance of going live. This will allow for user training, data clean-up and mitigation of problems at cutover in a safe environment. Data is a huge consideration and mostly falls on the company – as they will know customers, vendors, items, and open balances. The live conversion is when people begin to use the new system to do their daily jobs. Game on! Lessons learned from the test conversion will help with the success of the live conversion.
Users must be Enabled in Advance of Go Live….Practice, Practice, Practice
Training is critical in any ERP implementation project. Users must be enabled so they can execute their jobs daily. Without adequate practice and preparation in a test environment, you should not go live. Otherwise, disruption, possibly chaos to your operation is likely. The project team should develop a training plan. Resources include VAR facilitated hands-on training and access to training materials like manuals and videos. Users should also practice using the new system to process work. Hands on will make them familiar with features and functionality and make them ready for Go Live.