It is unlikely that you will install an ERP system yourself. However, by knowing the following steps you will be aware of what the process is, in order to achieve a fully functioning system.
As a simple guide for a small business of, for example 25 users in one office, the following would be necessary:
- Depending on the system, you may either have to install the software on the main server and potentially a copy on remote users’ laptops. For example, if you have mobile sales people they may need to access the stock control module in order to see what products are available to sell and at what price.
- Each department will need to work with your suppliers’ consultants so that that the system meets exactly the requirements of each department e.g. warehouse, HR Department, Payroll etc.
- Make sure that you have a capable administrator trained, who can add new users and give access to the relevant personnel for the relevant module. Likewise, you may want some people to be able to access information but not to make any changes to it. For example, while it may be necessary for sales people to access the stock system, you might not want them to be able to make any changes!
- If the organisation has someone who is responsible for personnel matters, they should be kept involved with all of the processes and procedures.
- Only certain senior level personnel should have access to view all modules as you won’t want everyone to be able to see confidential information e.g. payroll records.
- It is a good idea to run the new ERP and current system (whether manual or computerised) concurrently for some time in order to ensure that all processes are captured and that no mistakes are made. It will also capture any potential errors.
ERP implementation tips for larger companies
- Don’t start projects with a deadline in mind. Work out the project requirements and determine how long it will take you to accomplish them.
- Update your budget projection at regular intervals. So much happen during a lengthy project that you will be lucky to stay on budget. Constantly looking at your numbers will help minimise troublesome surprises.
- ERP isn’t about the software. It’s easy to put a new system in place. The hard part is changing the business processes of the people who will use the system.
- Nobody likes process change, particularly when they don’t know it’s coming. Include in the planning the people whose processes you are changing. Keep the communication lines open while the project is ongoing, and measure the level of acceptance before, during and after the rollout.
- Remember the integration points. It isn’t enough to simply install new systems; you need to make sure that they can talk to each other.