This post is the second and final post in the two-part series on implementing an ERP. To read the first post, click here.
The implementation of an ERP is a big decision for you. In the first post, we discussed some of the prerequisites for implementing an ERP system. In this post, we will discuss some common challenges faced by organizations while implementing an ERP. We will also discuss the possible solutions or workarounds for resolving those challenges.
Resistance to Change
One of the biggest and the most unpredictable of all resources is the Human Resource. If your employees are ready to embrace an ERP and consider it as a part of their everyday work life, chances are, your ERP implementation will not turn into a challenge. But, of course, there may be issues like resistance to the change from the conventional methods to the ultra-modern ERPs. But, remember that only those businesses that keep up with such challenges over time are the ones that continue to survive.
A workaround may be to involve the end-user of an ERP at an early stage of the implementation. An active participation in terms of feedback, use cases, and user experience (UX) will help bring acceptance. It will also facilitate in implementing the decided transformation into the physical and technological system.
Provide frequent training and assistance to the users from time to time. Make it easy for the users to toss up their questions and issues directly to the trainers and the implementation consultants, who can resolve the issues on time. Ensure that the ERP contains adequate technical documentation that supplies information on the new features, fixes, and modifications.
Business Process Reengineering
There are numerous processes that constitute a business. Every task corresponds to a business process, and ERPs handle these tasks. Consequently, the processes need to be aligned to the businesses’ expectations, corporate plans, and line-level tasks. An ERP is designed to map to these line-level tasks and business processes.
It is a usual practice to realign the business processes before an ERP is implemented. But, it is not as easy as it sounds. Though there may be more than one correct way of doing things in your business, it is possible that your chosen ERP is designed to map to only one particular business process. Consequently, you may need to change the default way in which your employees have been handling things in the past. This is a lot of rework and hence is a challenge while implementing an ERP.
It is suggested that before a consultant pays a visit to implement an ERP, all the business processes should be well-thought and redesigned, if required. Also, because it is not an easy task to redesign the business processes, constant feedback from the employees should be taken. This will help them stay updated with the changes, and make way for their relatively easy transition into the new system.
Detailed Requests for Information
Business process rework and re-engineering will depend on what information is passed on from the line-level employees to the implementation consultants. It is also important that you allocate and adhere to budgets for hardware and software-related changes. Information in this regard is of critical importance and may help you get water-tight guidelines to correctly track the implementation.
Understand that before and during the implementation, the consultant will have to put in extra efforts to communicate the change to your employees. And, that repeated efforts will have to be made to train the employees in implementing the new ERP into the system. This is critical and will require some time. Ensure that you or your employees have a list of points that you can pass on to the implementation consultant. This information will help them implement the ERP correctly.
Master Data Clean-up
When an ERP is implemented, only the master data is migrated into the new systems and databases. The transactional data, however, continues to be available in the legacy systems. This master data, which is the base for your past, current, and future transactions has to be cleaned for the unwanted, no longer relevant records. Ensure that you clean up your records before you hand over the implementation job to the consultant.
We build businesses gradually. And, over the time, we evolve into newer, better ways of recording data. It is possible that you might discover newer ways of code-naming the vendor, customer, and inventory records on your database. But for the legacy system, it is difficult for you to adapt to the new naming conventions.
Such code-names should be recorded and handed over to the implementation consultant before the ERP is implemented. That way, when the new system and databases are ready, you will be able to follow the new code-names, as intended. It is true that once the ERP is implemented, such changes will either be not possible or be extremely costly and time-consuming for the company.
This list of challenges is not exhaustive and may vary for each business. But, the list does supply useful information as you get ready to implement ERP in your company. Happy Implementing!
Have more to add to our list? We will be happy to read them. Please share it in the comment box below.