As a continuation to my Q & A session with Forrest Burnson, market researcher for Software Advice’s recently published Enterprise Resource Planning Software BuyerView | 2015, I would like to address the second question I had for Forrest, specifically for process manufacturers.
BatchMaster: What lessons have been learned (by process manufacturing companies) from prior ERP selections? Share three.
Burnson: Manufacturers have many lessons learned from their experiences, but I would have to say three that are the most common would be:
- Don’t rush an implementation for the sake of meeting a deadline.
- Know exactly what the responsibilities of the vendor and the buyer are before starting the implementation process.
- Expect organizational change – the company will have to fundamentally change its processes to adapt to a new ERP system.
My commentary on the points:
Over the years, I have received recurring ERP implementation nearly mandatory suggestions, one of which is that it is CRITICAL to appoint an internal “ERP implementation champion” within your manufacturing company to spearhead the process and be the counterpart to the ERP Vendor Implementation Manager. Let me address how your internal “ERP implementation champion” can smooth the way for each of the points above.
- Point #1 is excellent advice for companies beginning their ERP implementation process and while it’s very important to set deadlines, it is also vital to realize that rushing the implementation just for the sake of meeting an imposed deadline can be disastrous. (Going live before the system and the staff is ready can translate into data errors and user frustration.) By having your “ERP implementation champion” along with the ERP vendor Implementation Manager meet on a regular basis to review progress and adjust deadlines, the tendency to rush the implementation will be reduced dramatically. By all means, stay within the deadline when possible, but don’t allow the date to be the final determination.
- By having an “ERP implementation champion” within the manufacturing company working with the ERP vendor Implementation Manager, responsibilities can be discussed regularly as well. Progress can be halted when one or the other party is not clear about the next responsibility. Make sure each step in the implementation has a determination for responsibility and assign a name to that step whenever possible. Working with a vendor who provides a Statement of Work and roles and responsibilities for your staff ensures everyone is ready for the Go Live.
- Change is part of the process and ability to adapt and welcome this change will set the tone for the implementation. When a company is forced to change and do things differently it will be met with resistance by some or many employees. The internal “ERP implementation champion” needs to set expectations with the staff that there will be system changes and new (and improved) processes. The “ERP implementation champion” along with the ERP vendor Implementation Manager must let the employees know to expect changes as part of the process and over time these new processes will become the regular standard.
Please check in for the next installment of the ERP Software BuyerView Q&A. Get more information on BatchMaster for your organization at www.batchmaster.com
Christy Hudson is a Sr. Marketing Manager at BatchMaster Software. She is approaching the 30-year mark working with and for organizations providing ERP solutions to the for process manufacturing industry. Christy has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and a Teaching Credential from Cal State Long Beach. She has also completed numerous courses in Marketing and Accounting.
Forrest Burnson is a market research associate at Software Advice, a firm that connects software buyers with vendors where he covers the ERP, inventory management and supply chain markets. He graduated from the University of the South with degrees in political science and French studies. In 2013, he earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas. Prior to joining Software Advice, he was a writer and researcher for Global Water Intelligence and he was published in a number of other outlets, including the Texas Tribune, the Austin Business Journal, Market News International and the Austin American-Statesman.