Chapter 8: Steps for a Successful ERP Implementation
You now have a better idea of the benefits of ERP systems, what implementation looks like and how to overcome common hurdles that may arise. Now it’s time to put it all into action.
Steps to a Successful Implementation for Apparel ERP Software
To ensure your apparel ERP software implementation is successful, follow these steps:
1. Plan Strategically
Remember — effective planning will lead to a smoother process. During this phase, take the time to assign an internal team as directed by your vendor. Work with the vendor to set objectives and to develop a timeline/project plan.
2. Review the Software and Procedures
Get to know the capabilities of the software by taking part in all possible demos and gathering as much information as you can. During this time, become familiar with the processes that will change within your business and what they will look like at the end.
3. Work With the Data
What data will you need to provide for the implementation? You’ll need to find that out, as well as in what format the data should be in. If clean-up is needed before handing it off, take the time to complete this up-front.
Once you pass the data to the vendor, make yourself available to handle needs as they arise. This is a major aspect of your implementation.
4. Enter the Testing Phase
Your software vendor, along with your internal team, will test the new system to be sure it’s ready to go. In the beginning, this will mean working with test data and then, eventually, with live data during a final test.
5. Train Your Staff
Your employees will need to be trained on the new system in-house. Be prepared by setting up workstations the trainer can use to ensure all end-users are ready for the go-live.
During this time, be patient and be prepared for questions, pushback and frustrations — they all come with the process.
6. Get Ready to Go Live
Going live can be smooth, but it might not be seamless. Pick a date that’s not during the busiest time of the year and have your best employees scheduled for the beginning phases.
If possible, make customers aware of the change to alleviate any frustrations.
7. Evaluate How It Went
As the go-live takes place, take notes about any issues that arise. Ask questions when you have them and practice patience. Remember — the final outcome will be well worth it.
Going Live With Your New ERP System
Are you ready to go live with your new ERP system? Use the checklist below as a guide:
- All data has been entered/sorted appropriately.
- Physical inventory is complete and matches the system inventory.
- All known transition questions and issues have been addressed with thorough training.
- All processes have been tested to the extent that it’s possible without going live.
- Training is finished — employees who have caught on quickly and are most knowledgeable have been identified and are prepared to provide help when possible.
If your checklist is complete, it’s time to schedule a go-live date. Work with your vendor to select a go-live date during a slower period. Be sure the vendor will be on-site and that assistance is available for all staff members.
If you’ve completed the necessary steps, you may have jitters — but remember, you’re prepared. It’s time to jump in and move forward. As the go-live unfolds, be sure to keep a clear line of communication open between the team the vendor has put in place and project leaders within your company. Evaluate at the end of day one and at regular intervals after that.
As changes and modifications come up that weren’t part of the original plan, understand that they are a part of the process and will help make your system the best it can be.