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If you’re a manufacturer or distributor, turning to enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is an excellent way to optimize workflows and strengthen your bottom line. However, once you have decided to implement ERP software, what’s next?
Establishing a realistic timeline is one of the most difficult parts of an ERP implementation project. Because no two businesses are the same, there is no perfect template or magical formula that will create the perfect result; each project has a different team, availability, and scope.
While there is no set formula to create the perfect ERP timeline, we have compiled six steps that will give you a helpful place to start in creating your project plan.
Once you have selected a vendor, the first step of your implementation project begins. You will want to establish a dedicated project team and responsible project manager (team leader). Your team should consist of functional experts who can help the implementation align with your business process, and your project manager should ensure daily activities are carried out and the project is staying within the parameters of the timeline and budget. Additionally, your vendor should define their role based on how much support you need.
In this step, your team will determine the objectives and deliverables of your implementation project. By identifying the initial business process, timeline, and scope, you should be able to develop a plan that achieves your goals.
This stage is really the project launch. In this step, we recommend identifying your resources, criterion for success, and risks involved in implementation. This is also when you identify your key tasks for the project and define each team member’s roles and responsibilities- this should all tie back to the objectives you set out to achieve during the preparation step.
Additionally, we recommend business process modeling during the planning phase. Business process modeling is a strategy that identifies pain points and gaps and maps out your vision for your company’s future, so you can maximize your implemented software and minimize any problems.
The goal at this point in the project is to begin gathering important data from your existing system–even if your system is filing documents in a cabinet–and formatting it for your ERP system. Cleaning and moving the data will be a time-consuming part of your implementation project. Further, this step should include a detailed hardware and software installation plan.
The goal of the execution stage is to perform proof-of-concept and mini pilots. This allows you to evaluate the system by using your cases and day-to-day functions. Plus, in this phase of implementation, we recommend confirming the final scope of the project.
During the validation phase, you are developing a fully functional system. This is when you start deployment planning and end-user training. Before this, your implementation team was developing the process and working to achieve your project goals; now it’s time to involve the rest of the end-users in the implementation process. If your employees don’t know how to operate your system, then your implementation won’t be successful, so robust end-user training is critical to the project.
You will also have a full pilot at this stage. The pilot should help you determine whether you will be ready to go live on schedule. If you found significant issues that you won’t be able to adequately fix before your go-live date, you should push back the deployment.
If you need to schedule more pilots, then you should do so during this step.
Everything you have been planning and working towards during this project comes to fruition during this stage. Your system is fully configured. Take time to celebrate your hard work!
Your software journey is only beginning at your go-live date; it should improve business well after implementation. As taxing as it may be, upgrade your software when it’s appropriate because refusing to do so will slow down processes and create errors.
Your business isn’t static, so your ERP software shouldn’t be either. We recommend tracking KPIs so you can keep track of your successes and stay on top of performance lapses. That way, you can pursue additional software solutions when it’s appropriate.
ERP implementation is a taxing process, and costly errors can mean money lost. One way to ensure you are getting the most out of your implementation is by investing in a consulting service. This will help you be sure that you are on the right timeline and will avoid implementation mistakes.
At Datix, we take the time to get to know your business, so we can provide you with the best software solutions for your company. Plus, our consultants will ensure that the software is going to support your goals and facilitate growth once it goes live! We are committed to your strategic growth even after your go-live date, and we will be your one-stop-shop for all your software needs.
Ready to take the next steps with your ERP implementation? Contact Datix today!