As a seasoned consultant, I have zero tolerance for an ERP system that isn’t helping you or your business. That’s why it’s essential to build the perfect ERP system that meets your needs from the get-go. How does that happen? Communication BEFORE the implementation process begins.
You can find plenty of articles regarding the chaos that can happen if you don’t have clear communication. You and your ERP consultant must understand your unique business processes, vendor and customer rules, services and products, and pain points. Otherwise, they can’t recommend needed changes and achieve the results you’re looking for.
Be Crystal Clear with Your ERP Consultant
Communicating your company’s processes to your ERP consultant early on is crucial. Don’t assume we know what you do and need. And quite frankly, it’s fair to say that even YOU might not understand the rationale behind some of your company’s internal processes. No matter how small or large the business, I’ve found owners, directors, and/or managers who do not know exactly which processes are valuable to company operations, and which are cumbersome and unnecessary. Your data entry employees who are the front-runners for using the system might know how to do a task well without necessarily knowing the reason behind it.
Your ERP consultant needs you to explain each detailed step of the entire business process from start to finish. The goal is to get all the undocumented mental rules into the system. In order to do that, you need to meet with the team.
Have a Meaningful Conversation with Your Staff…and Pizza!
Perform your own internal business analysis prior to bringing your ERP consultant into the mix. Don’t forget to make it fun! Order pizza and draw out ideas on the whiteboard. I’ve always received positive feedback and witnessed a lot of light bulbs from this.
Find out if your accounting software is helping your organization like it should be.
You will discover that everyone on your team is needed for this exercise to work. Do not think that the more people you include, the more time it will take. Just be sure to have key stakeholders present to help everyone stick to the agenda.
Participation is critical for the success of your analysis. Every end user of your existing system must be allowed to contribute, even if they initially resist the change. I’ve had too many experiences where essential information was not communicated fast enough to my team. Not only do we have to re-engineer already complete processes, but it also adds to your bill.
Bring Together Your ERP Consultant and Your Team
After you create a business flowchart as a team, you are ready to start with an external resource. Your ERP consultant should not only validate what you provide, but they also need to bring food for thought to the table. They can explain what other businesses have done to build more effective and efficient processes, and make some solid recommendations for your business going further.
At the end of the day, the planning process is what sets the tone for your ERP implementation. Communicate effectively with your team and with your consultant to discover what you want and need from your new system. If you can do that, you’ll be fully-prepared to take the next steps in the implementation process.
We work with clients long after their initial ERP implementation to make sure their system is doing its job for the long haul. For help ensuring that your ERP system is working the way it should, contact us here or call 410.685.5512.