Premise-Based ERP Implementation Survival Guide

When it comes to choosing the right on-premise ERP software, many business owners are overwhelmed by the number of options available on the market. Other business owners may know which system they want, but they’re not sure how to go about implementing it into their company in an efficient way. 

It’s important to assess the company’s needs and processes, interview plenty of vendors and get input from stakeholders before moving ahead with new manufacturing software. This will ensure that implementation goes smoothly, and the new software will become a vital asset to the company and its employees.

1.) Do a complete process review

The first thing a business owner should do for their company is a full review of the different pieces of the company’s manufacturing or distribution processes. They should use the discovery method, starting with what needs to be fixed or addressed, and look for where the gaps or pain points are in the processes’ cogs. These are the pieces that a good ERP vendor can make suggestions on how to improve and make more efficient using their software. 

The business owner should then get input from all of the department heads, which will help to narrow down what features are needed. This can help to simplify the ERP selection process overall.

Finally, the business owner should look at how much time and money will be necessary for implementation and training. Premise-based manufacturing ERP systems also need physical space, and this must be factored into the budget, time and training. If a vendor can offer great deals and plenty of support for this piece, this should move their product to the top of the list.

2.) Stand by requirements

After completing the discovery review, a business owner should be ready to stand by the absolute requirements he or she needs for their company’s processes to function efficiently. These requirements should include business requirements, including budget and staffing needs for implementation. Owners and executives should also incorporate technical requirements, including user-friendliness, security and compatibility. 

Finally, functional requirements, including bill of materials and inventory, should not be flexible. Business owners should be searching for a compliant ERP that will automate processes and make the distribution and manufacturing planning more efficient.

3.) Research and vet the vendors

Executives should begin their search by comparing and contrasting the features of available on-premise ERP systems. Additional requirements may include overall costs, server operating systems and management capabilities. Proper support, upgrade guarantees and E-Learning options may also be vital to a particular company. 

Business owners can usually find honest reviews about each ERP system online from other business owners, department managers and employees. They can read about the positive features and review the challenges other business owners have had with the implementation of the software, tech support and upgrades. 

After assessing both the features of each system and the reviews, executives should compile a list of vendors to begin vetting further. Contacting the vendor and scheduling a demo is the next step.

4.) Schedule demos with other stakeholders present

A business owner should never make a unilateral decision about purchasing new manufacturing software without first bringing other stakeholders into the conversation. These can be department managers, employees and other executives. All should be present when demos from vendors are scheduled, and all should have an open forum for feedback. This feedback should be used to narrow the list down further.

As the demo is being presented, stakeholders should be encouraged to ask questions, including how the software would apply to different challenges in their departments. The way the vendor answers these questions will give business owners a chance to see how well they handle questions, and what the quality of their technical support might be like in the future. This will also help weed out systems that won’t be compatible with the way important departments function.

5.) Provide the necessary resources for implementation

Executives should be prepared for a significant amount of time and training to be spent during implementation. They should surround their stakeholders with encouragement, patience and support for all of the training time and questions that will inevitably arise from new software. This means training people within a department to support others in the department and reducing the need for only one contact person to be on-call for multiple departments–which can quickly become an overwhelming burden. 

Allowing department managers to develop their style of training program, tailor-made for their departments, may be another way to reduce the training and implementation burden.

 



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