Thursday, 28 March 2013

5 Things to Consider When Implementing a New ERP System


      Selecting the Right ERP Solution
With so many options available when it comes to selecting an ERP Software solution, finding the right one for your company can sometimes be a long and stressful process. Companies must first identify their own specific requirements and business objectives then determine which ERP solution offers the best features to suit those needs. Top10ERP.org offers an excellent free service, which allows companies to identify and compare best fit ERP Software solutions based on specific manufacturing processes, industries and technology requirements. The service significantly reduces research time and assists companies in finding solutions that best fit their needs and their budget.

Establishing a Project Budget and Timeline
The project budget and timeline are obviously two of the biggest factors when implementing a new ERP system or upgrading your existing version. The project budget should not only include the cost of the ERP software, but also any additional resources, consulting fees or services that may be required. It is very important to consider all the variables and identify any additional expenses that may be required during the initial project proposal phase. The last thing you want is to run into unexpected expenses half way through the project, resulting in an uncomfortable meeting with your CFO to request additional money.

The project timeline is equally as important as the budget. The timeline usually depends on the overall scope of the project, size of the organization and available resources. Some companies may prefer to go-live simultaneously, whereas larger companies usually work in phases, implementing the new system one region at a time.

Building the Project Team
An ERP implementation project is not a one-man show, it requires the expertise of a dedicated project leader, IT experts and the maintenance or procurement team that will be using the software on a daily basis. The project leader will be responsible for establishing a project plan to ensure that tasks are completed on time and within budget. The IT experts will be involved to assist with any technical requirements and the upload of legacy data to the new system. Finally, the maintenance and procurement team will be involved to address any company specific issues or requirements such as the data entry process, standards and format.

Evaluating Existing Data Quality
Data quality is often an overlooked area that can greatly affect the results of an ERP implementation project. As we’ve mentioned before, if you put garbage in, you get garbage out. The same idea applies to data. If the existing legacy data is uploaded to the new ERP system with inaccurate, inconsistent and missing information, users will experience significant inefficiency and will not reap maximum return from the ERP investment. For this reason, it is important to evaluate the data during the early stages of an ERP implementation to determine whether or not the data requires cleansing. I.M.A. Ltd. offers a free data evaluation, which will analyze the condition of your existing data, provide actual samples, and suggest solutions to resolve data quality issues. In the big scheme of things, data cleansing is a small price to pay to capture immediate cost savings and long-term ERP benefits.

Managing Post Implementation Change
As Charles F. Kettering said, “The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.” Change is inevitable and can sometimes be a scary thing for those who have done things a certain way for a long period of time. Change in the work environment can also bring job insecurity, frustration and anxiety for employees if not managed properly. The key to effectively managing change is to thoroughly educate employees, while reassuring them of their role in the company and the benefits that the change will deliver. During the transition, make yourself available to employees for questions and encourage them to make suggestions and/or voice any concerns that they may have. Provide each employee with informative materials, such as user manuals and data sheets, to refer back to until they are comfortable with the new system. The most important thing is to maintain a positive attitude and not let employees get discouraged.

An ERP implementation is a very big project for any company to take on, whether it be a small business or a large global corporation. Every project presents different challenges and requires a very strategic approach. If managed properly, your project will be well worth the time, money and resources you have invested.

For more information on Data Cleansing and related services for ERP implementations, visit www.imaltd.com or contact info@imaltd.com

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