If you’re in the late stages of choosing a manufacturing ERP system, you know that planning is important to ensure that day-to-day operations run smoothly as the project gets underway. You also know that patience and diligence are critical. So before you pull the trigger on purchasing a system, ask yourself, “did I remember to…?”
Plan for the future
It’s extremely important to find a solution that allows you to manage your business as it is today, but don’t forget to plan for the future. While you may have a growth plan for your organization, there is no way to know what it will look like 5-10 years from now. Make sure you select a manufacturing ERP system that leaves room for the unknown and can grow and adapt as you do. Some things to lconsider include system flexibility, upgrade paths and plans, scalability, and availalble add-on modules.
Select a Proven System
A proven system adds value for manufacturers while supporting growth, new operating methods, market expansion, and future unknowns. Don’t settle for a system that has the same functionality as any other and remember, while no system will address each and every one of your needs, the best ERP system for you will come with the functionality essential to your success.
Choose your ERP Partner Carefully
Whether you’re replacing an old system or implementing your first ever ERP solution, your implementation partner will play a vital role in your success. Find one who excels in the manufacturing space and has experience in your particular segment of the market, not an organization who has a “we do it all” attitude. You also want to learn about your ERP partner’s business culture and get to know the people you’ll be working with to ensure a long-term and successful relationship for both sides.
Be sure your ERP partner can provide you with references, has a solid track record, employs a skilled workforce that is knowledgeable about manufacturing, and can provide you with the support, tools, and training you need for a successful project and future with the system.
Plan the Implementation
How will you attain a successful implementation? ERP projects have a bad reputation for having a high failure rate; usually because companies judge project success on how long it takes to implement the system and budget and if the process takes longer than they think or costs more than they think it should, then it’s considered a failure. The issue is that most companies enter into the project with unrealistic expectations of timeline and costs. Be sure to do your homework and get a realistic idea of how much you will have to budget in terms of time, money, and resources. With the right budget and schedule, your entire team will feel more satisfied on the other side of implementation. Another important item to consider is how you plan to rollout the system. Be sure to consider the pros and cons of the various ERP implementation strategies.
Remember, no two manufacturing companies are alike, so your implementation strategy should be unique to your processes and needs. Make sure to sit down with your vendor and plan out an execution plan designed specifically for your company.
Choose a System that will change to fit you, not the other way around
While the technology you choose and how it plays into your overall IT strategy will be extremely important to the future of your company, the processes and strategies that have gotten you where you are today are what drives your business. The things happening on the manufacturing floor, in customer service, and in sales are what truly matters and your ERP system should be designed to make enhance them, not change them. The most successful implementation projects involve technology chosen to support critical business needs so before you make your final system selection, be sure you’re making it based on more than just IT requirements.
Think about ROI
Once you’ve spent the money on the implementation, the timer starts on recouping your investment. Make sure to ask yourself the important questions before you pull the trigger on buying the system: how will you measure ROI? The best way to get started is to identify your objectives before the project begins; why are you purchasing this system? What key performance indicators will you monitor? If you do not know your goals, you will not be able to measure your progress in reaching them.
If you are able to check off all of the items above, you’re likely ready to dive right into the next step, implementation. According to recent research, nearly 60% of ERP implementations fail, learn how to find success in the white paper below.