How to Effectively Plan for ERP Implementation
A good ERP system needs a good implementation strategy. Getting the software in place and ready to go is a crucial step in its effectiveness. There are many aspects to consider to make sure the process is smooth and snag-free. This planning has a lot of steps, so it can be tricky to lay out the timeline for ERP implementation success.
To help, we’ve created a step-by-step guide to walk you through the process of ERP software implementation so that it works its best for your business as soon as possible.
1. Define What Your Company Needs to Get out of the Software
Even though your business has already decided to implement an ERP program, it is worth reviewing the reasons why. List the goals you want your business to achieve through ERP software. Refer to this list after the ERP system is in place and use these standards as benchmarks.
You will also want to review the features your business needs from ERP software. Make sure the ERP software you choose will do what you need it to do.
2. Rally Together a Project Team
A well-rounded and dedicated team will make the ERP implementation process much smoother. Bring on people who represent a myriad of departments and positions to bring their point of view to the project. Some members you will need on your team include:
- Project Manager: Oversees the team members to ensure everyone is completing their tasks and facilitates communication between the team members as required.
- Application Developer: Customizes the system for your business needs as necessary.
- Application Analyst: Organizes and cleans the data sets.
- QA Test Engineer: Conducts testing on the system and evaluates its performance.
Consider bringing on an ERP implementation consultant as well. This person will help address issues that arise at any point in the process. However, if your budget doesn’t allow for this and your team has the experience, this position isn’t necessary.
3. Create an Implementation Management Plan
With the team, map out the installation process from start to finish. Decide what needs to get done and how that will happen. Here are some of the things you need to make a plan for:
- Budget implementation costs
- Moving the data into the system
- Employee training
- Installing the software
- Evaluating its success afterward
4. Migrate Your Data
This is the moment your business has been waiting for. But before your business starts transferring the data into the new system, you need to organize it in a way that makes sense for your operations.
Comb through your data sets to decide what you need to transfer. If you find any data that is irrelevant, don’t bring it onto the new system. Address any issues of inconsistent or duplicate information. All of your data needs to be in the same format to make the transfer easier.
Map out your connection points to make sure they will work efficiently and keep your data secure. Before bringing all of your data into the new system, run some tests on a few data points and make sure it works well. Adjust the process as necessary.
Once this process is fine-tuned, move the data over en-mass, watching out for any snags.
5. Train the Users
Now that the system is nearly in place, you need to train your employees on how to use the new system. Training can happen in person or online. Each technique has its pros and cons, but what matters is that your employees can grasp these new processes.
The processes the employees learn should vary by role. Optimize the training so that each employee is only learning what they will use in their day-to-day job. Though these training periods will be more intense at the beginning of the implementation stages, plan to stretch training out a few months afterward with continuous refresher courses.
6. Go Live
Installing ERP software is the most crucial step in the entire process, so your team needs to plan for it.
Before the day comes, make sure you have scheduled the necessary staff to get this process started, especially IT technicians. This complicated process may involve required overtime. You will also need to back up your company’s data somewhere. This copy will be appreciated later if something goes wrong in the transferring process.
When it comes time to get the ERP software in place, roll it out in phases, so the system doesn’t get overloaded. Communication is essential here, so review each participant’s role and update all employees with deadlines and downtime.
7. Evaluate the Process
At this point in the process, your ERP system is in full-force, so you need to analyze how it is performing. The evaluation will help you know if your business is getting a return on its investment in this software. This is the time to review the goals your team set at the beginning of this process. Is the ERP system meeting your needs?
Here are some other metrics your business can use to determine your ERP system performance:
- Return on Investment: Though this may take time to notice, your ERP system should save your company money if it is working properly.
- Employee Productivity: Since the ERP system will automate many processes, your employees should be working more efficiently.
- Customer Satisfaction: Review the sales metrics in the ERP system to understand your business’ relationship with its customers.
These evaluations should take place after the first week and again at the three-month and sixth-month marks.
Use ERP Software From FDM4 to Streamline Your Business
If your business is ready to upgrade its ERP software solutions, trust FDM4 to take your apparel company to the next level. We are a leading provider of ERP software in the apparel and fashion industry. Our solutions can be custom-designed for your business, and our customer service team is available 24/7 to support you.
Contact us on our website today to see how our software solutions can help your business grow.