Key steps when implementing an ERP system

NCR gives shoppers more choiceOpenda Ltd, providers of a specialist ERP software solution (QX) designed for the wholesale distribution and manufacturing industries, has this to say…

Investing in a new ERP system can seem like a daunting prospect. However, if your existing technology is not meeting your business needs or worse still, is standing in the way of growth, then it could be time to take the plunge. After all your ERP system should be a tool to help you keep ahead of your competitors. It should provide you with a fast, efficient and flexible offering to take to market, making life better not only for your clients but also for your employees.

Whether your business is split across multiple locations globally or around the UK, your system should provide integration of all of your data to ensure standardisation of your business processes. It should improve reporting facilities and allow you to access real time data with which to make business decisions.

In addition, it should highlight which products and departments are working well and which are falling behind. Allowing you to pin point precisely which areas of your business need attention so that actions can be taken swiftly to improve profitability.

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But how do you start the process and more importantly how do you keep it on track?

Firstly it is vital that your management team understand the impact that a new system will have on the business and that they are committed to managing the inevitable changes it will bring. Once they understand the scope and objectives of the project, they will be better placed to define and outline the benefits and convey this to staff. This will ensure that the rest of the company are not only invested, but also enthusiastic about the implementation.

Secondly it is important to take time to plan the implementation, it will be a complex process requiring precise planning and co-ordination. Take time early on to ensure that timescales are clearly defined and that everyone knows what is expected of them. Thorough planning will also ensure that you have the right staff resources in place to support the project, rather than adding to the existing workload of your team.

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Next ensure that you have your most experienced people as part of the implementation team, they know your company well and can create an open dialogue with your ERP partner to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.

Don’t forget to build in adequate time to your schedule for testing and reviewing the new software. Ensure that there are plenty of opportunities for everyone to familiarise themselves with the new system. Once they fully understand its capabilities they can ensure that your business reaps the maximum benefits.

So whilst purchasing a new ERP system can initially seem like a large investment, when it is balanced against the true cost of maintaining an outdated legacy system, not only in terms of time and resources but also in terms of missed opportunities, it is clear that the benefits far outweigh the initial outlay.

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