Implementing Your ERP: A Roadmap

ERP implementation can be an arduous process, even for big companies. While it is not insurmountable, there are many pitfalls that you must avoid in order to have a successful implementation. The most important step in implementing your ERP system is understanding the steps to take and how they all fit together. 

This article will give you an overview of the process, as well as a few pointers for avoiding common mistakes. For those who are unfamiliar with ERP systems, this post should help explain what it is and why it’s so important to have one.

Implementing ERP Software

What is an ERP Implementation Process?

An ERP system can bring your business many benefits, so before you say, “Where do I sign up?” let’s discuss what implementing a process for enterprise resource planning means to your business. In the simplest terms, an ERP implementation process is a step-by-step approach to transitioning your business from its current state into one that has more automation and efficiency.

What is ERP Implementation Methodology & Strategy?

ERP implementation methodology is when a business declares its strategic decisions regarding how to conduct ERP implementation while selecting a focused path for its deployment. The business implementation strategy is when a company drives the direction and leadership for how the ERP system will be implemented.

Who Needs an ERP System?

Before you even begin considering whether or not your business needs an enterprise resource planning system, it’s important to understand what they are and why so many businesses use them. An enterprise resource planning system is a computer-based software that allows your business to manage all of its important functions and data in one place, instead of having multiple systems for finance, customer relationship management (CRM), human resources and more.

Why is it Important to Have One?

Now that you understand what an ERP system can do for your business, you might be wondering why it’s so important to have one. The answer is simple: They increase efficiency and transparency in a way that no other system can match. In addition to being able to view all of your data in real-time from one place, an ERP system allows employees from different departments or locations to access the same information, which is a valuable asset for any business.

An ERP Implementation Roadmap

Now that you understand the point of an enterprise resource planning system and why so many businesses use them, it’s time to discuss how exactly they are implemented. To put it simply, implementing your ERP can be defined as breaking down all of your desired objectives into manageable steps that you can take to get from your current state to the one in which it is fully implemented.

ERP Implementation Phases

One of the most important things to understand about implementing an ERP system is the fact that there are distinct phases. The first phase consists mainly of planning, budgeting and forecasting/scheduling. The second phase is selecting your ERP provider, performing data migration and integration, which includes integrating your existing systems with the new one. 

The third phase is training employees on how they should use the system, testing the system and going live. The fourth and final stage of implementation involves refining processes that were improved by using an ERP system before it goes live across all departments and evaluating your success.

ERP Implementation Failures to Avoid

Usually, poor planning is behind ERP implementation failures. The devil is in the details, and getting everything you need to make your ERP work for your company needs to be evaluated. Then, make sure that the ERP system under consideration meets those needs and that everything you want is covered in your contract.

Some common misconceptions and missteps to avoid when implementing ERP systems include:

  • Not having the budget to pay for an ERP system that you can afford or not understanding how much it will cost in total. 
  • Choosing a solution that doesn’t meet all of your company’s needs and then forcing it into place with limited success.
  • Going live before everything is ready: Testing, training etc. This can bring businesses to a standstill and be very costly.
  • Choosing the wrong vendor. Choosing just any old consultant or vendor that offers you their services without thinking about their experience with the type of software you want to use. 
  • Not knowing what is required to make the system work, such as integration with other software and hardware is important in order for your project to be successful. 
  • Not factoring in the total personnel and hidden costs during implementation phases.
  • Using off-the-shelf ERP systems. You’ll save money upfront, but it is likely going to be either limited in what it can do, inflexible or will need plenty of expensive customizations and upgrades to make it work. Even worse, it may not work at all for your needs.

Misconceptions or Missteps to Avoid when Implementing an ERP System

The biggest misconception is the idea that implementing an ERP system will be a quick and easy process. In order to be successful, it takes time, patience, critical thinking skills and some project management know-how.

The second big mistake companies make is not being realistic with expectations during implementation, which can lead to costly errors and frustrations later on when personnel are trying to use it day-to-day.

Another big misstep companies do when going through with implementation of their own is not using professional representatives from an ERP provider that has the experience necessary in their field to find a solution that works for them. 

What You Can Do to Avoid Pitfalls

Picking the wrong provider can cost you more in the long run than it would have to do things right from the start. ERP providers can help you develop your roadmap to avoid pitfalls. 

However, the company chosen as your provider should meet all your needs at an affordable price. This is also the time to determine if your business will need onsite support and how much it’s going to cost. 

A provider can give you a ballpark estimate of their implementation fees during this phase as well. If they won’t be able to do that until after signing an agreement with them, run away! This company is not focused on your needs.

ERP Implementation Case studies can be Helpful Too

ERP implementation case studies could be very helpful for businesses that are thinking about implementing their own ERP system or outsourcing it all together, which is something many companies choose to do when they realize that it can be too much for them to handle in-house.

The implementation of any ERP system, whether it is outsourced or implemented by your own company’s staff, will require planning and patience. Doing things right the first time around ensures you’ll save money later on down the line when there are no more costly errors involved with the day-to-day work that needs to be done with the system.

The Key Takeaways

Implementation of your ERP system can be a complex and arduous process, but with the right guidance and expertise, it is much easier than you would think. 

When choosing an implementation partner, look for one that will work alongside your company to understand their needs and implement them in such a way that everything works seamlessly. This ensures your business gets exactly what it needs and you can start reaping the benefits of your new system as soon as possible.

In addition, ERP implementation case studies would be useful to businesses that are considering implementing their own ERP or outsourcing it altogether. An overview of the process, what to expect and how one company succeeded in this process could help many other companies achieve success with their own ERP implementation.

Let N41 Help You with Your ERP Roadmap

N41 is a leading apparel & fashion ERP software solution provider with innovative features and services. Our company’s foundation is built upon extensive apparel industry expertise which allows us to service fashion brands, manufacturers, and wholesalers worldwide with superior business management solutions. Our solution is a one-stop shop for all your apparel and fashion business needs, from order to cash. 

To find out more about the superior software and services we have to offer and how we can help bring your system to fruition, contact us at (213) 738‐1010 or request a demo. For information about ERP implementation case studies that earned us our 99% client retention rate, you can talk to one of our representatives today.

Sources:

https://www.erpfocus.com/erp-implementation-plan.html

https://www.erpfocus.com/template-erp-implementation-schedule

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