Vital Tips for ERP Implementation in your Minneapolis Business
ERP implementation for your Minneapolis Business doesn’t have to be a stressful time as long as you have a road map for success. Here are some tips for making the transition to ERP as smooth as possible.
Bernard Golden, CEO of Avica Inc., a consulting firm in San Carlos, California, emphasizes the important of knowing what your goals are before beginning ERP implementation. The product you choose should the closest to meeting those goals. Lance Williamson, engineer at Engenio Information Technologies, Inc. in Wichita, Kansas, advises to always set goals for performance, response time and downtime. Other things to remember about planning for ERP implementation for your Minneapolis Business include:
- Test everything, every step of the way. Each step of the plan should be tested and retested.
- Involve users in your business during the planning phase. ERP is a big change for many employees and making them a part of it from the beginning goes a long way toward success.
- If you have in-house personnel with the skills to implement ERP, use them but don’t hesitate to go out-of-house during the planning phase! This phase is too critical to risk your ERP being dead on arrival.
- Be realistic when making cost projections. Most companies underestimate things like training costs. Good planning on the front end will help reduce such errors along the way.
- Settle on a first phase of implementation and stick to it. It is easy for personnel to begin to see the potential of additional features and functions and want to add more than your business is ready for at this stage. Get your return on investment for an initial phase and then begin planning for the next phase of expansion
Look carefully at maintenance costs. Saving money on the front end with a cheaper ERP product is not worth it if continuing maintenances costs eat up all of your ROI. For small to medium businesses an out-of-the-box solution is by far the most cost effective. Even so, an evaluation team may realize a good deal of customization will be needed to meet their goals. If so, be sure and choose and ERP program that allows this. Some questions to ask during the evaluation process include:
- How stable is the vendor? Is the provider you are considering losing market share or in danger of failure or a takeover? Often times when an interest is buying out a vendor it is only interested in its customer base and not its software.
- Can you simulate the ERP suite in your business and make your own calculations? This is the only way to obtain accurate ROI estimates.
- What is the vendor’s upgrade cycle? Are they going to spend more time trying to get you to add features and upgrades than servicing the system you contracted with them for?
- How much customization assistance does the vendor offer? Will customization limit support from the vendor?
- Can you accept the functionality gap? No one ERP system will do 100% of what you want without customization. Even so, if the gap is more than 10%, you need to look elsewhere.
Once the planning is done and implementation complete, keep a critical eye on the quality and flow of your data. Take notes of seasonal variations such as Christmas and summer.
It is better to not contract for long training sessions just after implementation. 40 day training sessions over six weeks is not a good training model. Too much is forgotten before the training is actually used in the real world. The better model is to set up an initial condensed training session followed be regular classes spread over a longer period of time.