Implementing an enterprise resource planning system can be a daunting task. IQMS, a manufacturing ERP software and MES developer in Paso Robles, CA, offers tips for successful implementation of a software system that will facilitate the flow of information between all business functions of a company.
Build Your Team
Executive-level employees tend to make better members of the steering committee — in place to make tough decisions the core team cannot. The core team should be made up of:
- Productive, mid-level employees
- Big picture thinkers who understand the overall business and the company’s end goals
- Those who understand their department inside and out
The number of people that make up the team depends on the size of the organization. Make sure that every major area is represented. Teams of more than 12 can slow down the decision making process, though.
For companies with multiple facilities, there are two ways of successful implementation:
- Core implementation team — Employees are hand-picked to be part of a larger team and travel from plant to plant to bring each facility online.
- Mirror implementation team — At the first plant, define the roles that are essential to the team and mirror those exact roles at each subsequent plant.
Business Process Blueprinting
Well-defined business procedures are the basis for a successful implementation. These blueprints were likely created during the ERP vendor selection process. Double-check to make sure the blueprints are generic and not tied to the legacy system.
There are generally two styles of implementation and both have downsides. The “Bing Bang,” all-at-once, approach can be enticing, but few businesses have the resources to handle an all-at-once deployment. Phased implementation can foster resistance to change and requires dual efforts throughout the organization.
IQMS recommends a hybrid approach by bringing up core functions such as sales orders, scheduling, accounting, shipping, inventory, purchasing, etc. at once because they function at a premium when done in tandem. Based on company needs, selecting some critical peripherals to bring online during Phase 1 also is recommended.
Setting a Realistic Timeline
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Everyone needs to be realistic about the timeline. Setting reasonable expectations boil down to available resources. It may be helpful to break down the implementation process into key milestones:
- Hardware requirements — More than just servers, these are often overlooked yet need to be considered when setting the timeline.
- Data migration — Decide whether to cleanse and start from scratch with the new system or to input every bit of legacy data.
- Process analysis and training — Work instructions and standard operating procedures begin to take shape and adapt the system to solve operational needs.
- Gap analysis and conference room pilot — Identify and uncover areas of improvement before going live.
- Go live — Now it’s time for successful repetition for Phase 2 or a new facility, if applicable.
Still, the most common implementation problem is time management, regardless of the organization. Procrastination can also be a problem, often because employees are uncomfortable or afraid of the new system. If you can manage it, IQMS recommends having one employee dedicated to the implementation 100 percent of the time. Without a dedicated resource, it is hard to keep things moving forward.
Since 1989, IQMS has been designing and developing manufacturing ERP software for the repetitive, process and discrete industries. Today, IQMS provides a comprehensive real-time MES and manufacturing ERP software solution to the automotive, medical, packaging, consumer goods and other manufacturing markets. The innovative, single-database enterprise software solution, EnterpriseIQ, offers a scalable system designed to adeptly grow with the client and complete business functionality, including accounting, quality control, supply chain, CRM and eBusiness. For more information, call 1.866.FOR.ERP2 or visit www.iqms.com.