Implementing an ERP system is a complex process that needs thorough strategic planning.

Integrating front and back-end processes and systems into a single platform might take six months to two years. Various factors influence the length and cost of the process:

1. Size of your company.

2. The complexity of your present setup.

3. The number of users.

4. Data transfer from legacy systems.

Putting together an ERP project plan before its deployment is a vital element of planning for a successful implementation, even though adjustments and adaptations will be necessary along the way. In this 5-step guideline, you’ll discover how to break down the process into steps and get advice on making it go more smoothly.

Step one: Preparation and planning

To build and implement your ERP project plan, assemble a team of front-line and management staff from each department. The different skill sets of this group will give crucial insight into how process and system changes may impact day-to-day operations.

The new project team’s first objective will be to evaluate current corporate processes to decide which activities the new ERP system can improve or automate. Prioritize these processes, and use this evaluation to help you develop and establish the goals and scope of the implementation.

Step two: Procedure review

Request your project team to thoroughly review the features and functionality of the new ERP software. The goal of this evaluation is important for two reasons:

1. Before the wider deployment, the project team must acquaint themselves with every component of the latest ERP system and evaluate proficiencies and competence shortages. This knowledge will be used to initiate training.

2. To determine which manual processes the new technology will be able to automate. Also, to make any required adjustments before installation to ensure that automation works well.

Step three: Data preparation

Determine which of your old data will need to be transferred to the new system. Then go through it to see if the data is irrelevant or outdated. If possible, locate source documents to guarantee data accuracy and completeness. Since an ERP system is only as effective as its data, a little housekeeping goes a long way at this point. The value delivered by a new ERP will be harmed if your database is choked with erroneous information.

Once the data has been checked and processed, create spreadsheets to gather and segregate critical data into logical tables to facilitate translation to the new system.

Step four: Testing and training

Check system output, make sure it’s accurate, and ensure integrations and interfaces are working properly. Allow the project team to practice with a test database that contains a week’s worth of real data transactions. This hands-on expertise with the new software might be used to assist the project team in developing cheat sheets and process manuals for company-wide training and testing.

The type of workforce determines the most effective training technique. Depending on how much time your team can devote to training and where they are located, in-person training sessions, online tutorials, or a combination of the two will work best.

Regardless of the training approach you use, follow these guidelines to make the process more fruitful for everyone involved:

1. Train tech-savvy employees to be ERP system superusers to assist with low-level user difficulties while freeing up your IT personnel to deal with more significant problems.

2. Add game-like elements to portions of the training process to increase interest and create healthy competition among coworkers.

3. Provide rewards for completing training on schedule. Small incentives, such as free meals or an additional hour for lunch, combined with more considerable perks, such as bonus payments or more days off, may be a practical approach to incentivize staff and make the process enjoyable.

Step five: Rollout and evaluation

Prepare a go-live checklist for the days or weeks after installation to ensure that the following requirements are met:

1. Post-go-live system testing.

2. Plan and budget for overtime or temporary employees.

3. Protocols for system downtime communication.

4. Checks for network speed and security.

5. Processes for data backup.

On the day of the launch, expect a lot of questions and some glitches. Ascertain that your project team is prepared to lead their respective departments through the process. And your IT staff is ready to make any modifications or revisions that are required. Although ERP implementation takes time, the benefits in efficiency and financial performance are well worth the time and effort.

Compare the ERP solution’s output to the goals and objectives set by your management team during the planning stage. Is the new software succeeding in reaching those goals? Is it doing a good job of automating manual processes? If this is not the case, additional tweaks and adjustments may be required.

Hiring a solution provider will save you time, money, and hassle.

Having a solution provider on board early in your ERP deployment will help you avoid frequent problems and blunders. Many solution providers specialize in certain products and oversee procurement, implementation, and initial setup of ERP solutions. 

This implies they convey a high level of expertise and experience regarding implementations.

If you have the funds, a faster, smoother deployment is frequently worth the extra cost of employing a professional to oversee the process.

Some tips before and after employing an ERP solution

Tip 1: Look at ERP system samples from similar companies to understand what works best in your field.

Tip 2: Interview key individuals from each department to gain personal knowledge of how to present operations interact and how they might be automated most efficiently.

Tip 3: Set clear objectives for the operation, involving everyone from senior management to front-line employees, and keeping the conversation flowing about how things are going. This will help reduce worries regarding the new software’s tools and procedures and enhance post-launch acceptability.

Tip 4: Transform cheat sheets and process mapping into SOPs ( Standard Operating Procedures) that can be accessed by everyone in the company and are updated regularly

Tip 5: Conduct periodic audits to evaluate whether the ERP software adds value by comparing the output to benchmarks.