The word around the witches’ cauldron…

Posted on 18 Aug 2010 by The Manufacturer

Process re-engineering, organisational change and planning are the topics in the first in a series of ERP insights.

What are the biggest concerns, questions and tips circulating in the ERP community?

TM has surveyed the latest reports from leading technologists and vendors and tallied it with the user experience of our unique manufacturing contact base to discover the foremost topics animating IT and business leaders in industry.

As the first in a series, this week we cover process re-engineering, organisational change and planning.

Process re-engineering: At the top of the stack of ERP challenges are problems around appropriate process re-engineering in businesses prior to the technology overhaul that characterises an ERP implementation. The choice between accepting out of the box processes, many of which are admittedly robust in this age of technology advance, and customising to integrate processes unique to your company can be complex.

Some important points to consider around process re-engineering for ERP are:

• Your processes make you unique and can bring competitive advantage
• Consider how processes not recorded within the ERP system can be fed into recorded workflows so that employees understand the movement of information within the business
• Define process precisely, even when using out of-the-box options. There are often many variations of a business process available out-of-the box. I f your business is to function smoothly there needs to be consistency in which are being used and an understanding of why.
• Vendors can oversell and oversimplify. Make sure you know you fully assess how good a process is before you change it. Re-engineering should aim to cut inefficiency and add value

Organisational Change: Whether upgrading or implementing for the first time, an ERP project usually brings significant change into a business and impacts employees at all levels. Adopting an appropriate change management methodology to mitigate against anxiety and resistance to change is not always straight forward.
Some important points to consider around organisational change for ERP are:

• Make sure internal communication channels are strong and thorough both internally and with your supplier
• Adopt a change management methodology that is consistent with broader business improvement initiatives and organisational culture
• Ensure that the implementation programme has good, motivated leadership within the business

Planning: Despite ERP technology now being an established feature of the business world with thousands of companies having now implemented, there are still many who embark on ERP projects with unrealistic expectations.

Creating and monitoring the progress of a rationally devised implementation plan will help to ensure your ERP project sticks to budget and timescales as well as avoiding risk and disappointment.

Some important points to consider around planning for ERP are:

• Don’t rush. Consider that many stages in your plan will involve elements of training and employee engagement if go-live is to be a success
• Be methodical. Break the plan down into key stages
• Include planning for the resource and support needed to complete each key stage
• Engage key players in reviewing the plan before and during implementation

Covered next week will be Return on investment, Leadership and training and Virtualisation and the Cloud.

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