An ERP Training Horror Story (and How to Make Sure it Doesn’t Happen to You)

ERP TrainingWhile the ERP system you select, the deployment method you employ, and the other technical factors of an ERP implementation project are critical to your overall success, the way the software is used throughout the organization has the greatest impact on overall ERP ROI. If the employees are not using the system or using it in correctly, you stand to lose out on the benefits that made you choose the system in the first place. Unfortunately end-user training often gets pushed aside until well after the implementation kicks off and is left as an afterthought which becomes a last minute scramble to teach employee how to use the system.

How important is ERP training? Consider this horror story:

Lumber Liquidators, the number 1 retailer of hardwood flooring in the United States mishandled their ERP implemenation and took a significant hit. In fact, their net income dropped 45% from the previous year’s posting. Why? The company admitted that the ERP system was not to blame, it was the fact that they did not take enough time to train their employees and prep them for the changes associated with the ERP project.

Related reading: ERP training vs. ERP education- what’s the difference?

Here a few ERP training best practices this company should have followed to avoid this situation:

Create a training plan & budget: Your plan and budget will help you systematically train employees to help them become efficient and effective ERP users. A solid plan will include information that answers the five W’s; “Who?”, “What?”, “When?”, “Where?” and “Why?”  suggested content for your plan includes:

  • assigned responsibility and training program ownership.
  • budget estimates for both internal and external training resources and any related tools or systems.
  • which users will be trained and what they need to learn about the system to become more effective in their specific role.
  • how daily activities will still be completed when users are in training.
  • education timeline and schedule.
  • required documentation and who is in charge of preparing it.

Keeping up with documentation: Documentation is essential for successful and repeatable ERP training now and into the future as employees come and go. Make sure there is one person (who knows the company and processes extremely well) in each functional area tasked with the job of regularly documenting the processes discussed in training and building a guide based on that information. This will be critical to disseminating information throughout the company and to new employees.

Tailor training to end-users: when it comes to ERP training one-size does not fit all. Each job is unique and the users in that position will need to use the ERP system differently, many companies follow the standardized training guides and processes that are not personalized for individual roles- that’s a major problem.  While everyone in your company should have a basic understanding of all areas of the system to help them understand how their piece fits in, it’s critical to make sure they know their specific area inside and out.

Another critical factor in training is to consider the different learning styles of each person. Be sure to investigate multiple options such as live training classes, recorded classes, reading materials, etc.

Ongoing training and support: your business processes and your system will change over time, so it’s important to invest in training beyond the initial push during implementation. As time goes on be sure to make your employees aware of new features and functions, keep up with docuementation of processe changes, and let employees know when and how they can learn more about the ERP system they are using.

ERP training is extremely important and as we saw from the Lumber Liquidator story, it can truly impact your success; not only in terms of software ROI but overall profitability too. So many companies struggle with training because it’s not easy to develop and design a training plan to meet your specific needs, follow it through, and measure it’s success. The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone- our ERP consultants and ERP training professionals are here to help, click here to contact us today.

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