As the rapid emergence of digital technologies has lowered the barriers to entry accessibility and created more choices and ever when choosing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. So you have finally chosen the ERP solution which works best with your business. From what you can find on the web it sounds pretty easy—defines your project objectives, selects the right ERP solution, implements the ERP system, runs some tests, gets your staff trained and that’s it. Everything will be on track.
Or is it?
Choosing the right ERP solution, it’s just a half of the task, while the other half is to get the most out of your system by starting on implementing the ERP system in the right manner. Many small businesses underestimate the amount of resources with the ERP implementation. They fail to allocate enough time and resources into the whole project. Business owners need to understand this is a huge undertaking and it involves a big step in your business operation.
During the ERP implementation, the important factor that often overlooked is training of the end-users that means the training of the people that ultimately responsible for using the tool to get work done. So it’s always better to overestimate and ‘over-ready’ for an ERP project. To prepare you for this, I’ll talk about the key aspect prior to the ERP implementation: human factor.
It’s a big leap for both employees and company when adopting new software in the business operations. An effective implementation of ERP involves many different moving parts working together to ensure success. This is a period that is often fraught with challenges such as some employees may just want to remain the traditional way while others may need some time to learn something new. This transition can simply be addressed and changed through conditioning by focusing on these two parts.
- Build a dedicated project team
- Adapt the training to the team
Develop a project team
A successful ERP implementation starts with assembling the right project team. It is essential to put one person-in-charge of communications in the team who takes responsibility for devising a timeline and communicating important information to all the team members. When you can make your A-team, you can ask the following questions.
- Who has deep insights into all departments and has a better understanding of the core business processes?
- Who has the organizational and management skills such as prompt, agility, good communicator? Who is tenacious enough to asses the progress till the end?
- Who is the person that could benefit most from the system?
Another key of a successful team is clear responsibilities of each team members as employees in a small business tends to wear multiple hats sometimes it might be some unclear what role everyone has to play. Building a great team not only takes a framework of clear expectations and timelines, leadership also plays a fundamental role. Leaders must make sure team members are [kept] fully up-to-date on project progress at all times. It should work just more than a quick briefing. For instance, set up a regular meeting every week to ensure the continuous flow of information and maximum project transparency. Remember that the earlier you start preparing your team to turn on the switch, the more transparent and seamless the change will be.
Adapt the training to the team
Companies should understand the fact of not all employees is enthusiastic about the ERP implementation. After all, the business operation and responsibilities are changing—this change is often met with fears and resistance. Therefore, it is extremely important to communicate with each individual on how they could benefit from the implementation of ERP through workshop and training, right before the system is close to being for use. When they could understand the need for change, they are equipped with the right mindset for moving from fear to embrace changes in the business environment.
Not all employees are self-learners
ERP training can take up a lot of time between technical training and convincing employee to adapt the change. Most of the companies adopt an attitude that employees will ‘learn with time’. In fact, this is a completely wrong notion. Without proper guidance, the learning curve is prolonged or even flattened.
Some small business see training as a cost not investment, hoping their staff gain knowledge by browsing Youtube tutorial videos or learning through free online learning sites.
Some even take advantage of their ERP’s partner helpdesk support as a replacement of training.
There’s a huge problem with these approaches.
Self-learning doesn’t fit all individuals. The implementation team must understand everyone has different learning methods—some people may learn best through visuals, others through hearing and still more from taking notes. Self-learning may sound a cost-effective idea however, sometimes end up causing them to spend more time on minor tasks instead focusing on their expertise.
Just think of the hours your employees wasted on figuring out the system, it is better to arrange some proper trainings in order to let your business experiences a seamless transition into the ERP system.
If you have any inquiries or concerns about your employee’s capabilities, seeking expertise is the best way as they are able to advise you on providing the effective training approach for your employees. Here
Reward the early adopters
Multiple studies shown that when it comes onboarding new processes a positive reinforcement is proved to be more effective over penalties and disciplinary action. I couldn’t agree more on this, here’s a real-life example.
When the ERP system was first introduced in my previous company, almost all of the employees resisted using the system as they had to spend more time to get used to the functions in order to complete their work. After that, the reward came in, everyone became so eager looking for ways to improve the system.
With this recognition program, it turns out not only the employees willing to adopt new tool with rewards in place, but they’ll be more satisfied overall. Keep in mind rewards don’t always have to be financial. Sometimes, a use combo of recognition and rewards will bring powerful impact to the employee.
Success is contagious, when you share the success of one department on how they get the most returns from using ERP, you increase the potential of ROI from ERP as you inspire others to use it in new ways. While going through the implementation stage of the new system, be open to assisting the end users and quick to celebrate those early victories so the new system can propel to the new wave of efficiency.
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