We noted in our prior post some of the documented benefits gained by manufacturers who chose to implement ERP, based on the survey responses of over 1,300 firms from a 2011 report by Aberdeen Research. Given that panoply of benefits, in our concluding post today we’ll look briefly at what actions companies must take in order to gain those same benefits.
The “Required Actions” cited by Aberdeen varied according to what level you’re on in terms of implementing ERP. Those who don’t have a formal ERP plan, and aren’t very far down the road should focus on 3 key steps:
- Develop a formal ERP strategy. Without it, you’re always reacting, instead of formally addressing the business and users’ needs.
- Measure and measure again. It’s the only way to optimize long-term performance. Companies who reported successful ERP implementations were twice as likely to measure ERP’s impact on their firms.
- Standardize on standards. Make your key processes and business practices standard procedures across the firm. Then, they can be automated.
For the “average” company, steps to success should include:
- Get new employees up and running as soon as possible. Educate new hires and staff on your ERP strategy and how to use the system as part of the on-boarding process.
- Standardize more than just cash management processes. As noted above, standardize practices and procedures across the organization wherever possible. Doing so permits you to get the most out of your automation and ERP system.
- Get information to the right people, right now. The ability to quickly deliver key event information to decision makers (sales spikes, out of stocks, credit issues, etc.) through alerts and dashboards is one of the key benefits of a system. Include your mobile devices here as well.
And finally, even the companies with the best ERP implementations need some clear action points; theirs include:
- Get sales in the ERP information cycle. Work to cut down on the separate, external, non-integrated databases, spreadsheets and re-typed data that are endemic to so many firms. Use ERP as the transactional component for a 360 degree view of the customer. It will drive yet greater utilization overall.
- Use role-based home pages and dashboards. Today’s newest systems feature “Role Tailored Clients” where the information presented to users is relevant to them. They avoid presenting extraneous information that is not, and which often adds to confusion, complexity and system avoidance.
- Develop a mobile ERP strategy. Generating alerts and triggers off ERP information to all users everywhere is a worthy goal. Start by making it a part of your formal ERP strategy plan.
By following these actions, you’ll end up with greater visibility across the organization, and a useful system that is vital to all users. The more they use it, the more they’ll need it, and the better organized your information, your users and your company will be.