4 Steps to Operators Loving Your New ERP

Author: Paul Henriques in: Quick Tips

4 Steps to Operators Loving Your New ERP

January 16, 2023

Machine shop operators can be a crusty old bunch. Working with your hands every day and seeing your work come to life in front of you builds a certain mindset. One that doesn’t pair well with the months long implementation process that comes with a new ERP. The idea that the change you do today will not net visible benefits for months is often not in an operator’s daily experience.

This kind of “long-term with no visible return” process can lead anyone to lose interest. To the average operator, having to learn all these extra steps just so some bean counter that is safe and warm behind mirrored glass can keep better tabs on them is not exactly the type of environment that would make you want to learn the best way forward.

To combat the operator foot dragging, there are a few things you can do that doesn’t have to be ‘punish the ring leaders until the rest fall in line’. After all, in today’s economy, with staff shortages and working-to-rule, this is the type of action that will backfire and can lead to you losing your best workers and cancelling entire sales orders.

Improving New Process Adoption for Operators

The interesting thing about improving adoption in your operators is how different they seem from those suggested to improve adoption with your office staff. Whoever, in a way, these are just a simplified version of those office steps. The steps to improve adoption with your operators are:

  1. Replace a manual process (with an automated one)
  2. Make it make sense
  3. Show the results
  4. Score quickly, score often

Replace Manual Processes

The only thing worse than a new tool is one that adds steps to your process while management is expecting the same result in the same amount of time. To combat this, the first thing you can do is look at your process map. From here, you should be able to find at least one process or step in the operator process that can be easily automated with the new software. Something like:

  • Inputting label data? Try adding barcode scanners that can automatically add the information to a form in the software
  • Retrieving parts with a picklist? Try adding a scanner app that tracks the requirements and location for the parts in real-time
  • Need assembly instructions? Try adding a shop monitor and screen that automatically bring up the directions
  • Change of measurements or settings? Have the information quickly displayed on screen

These are just an example of simple steps that can be automated for little to no added cost while greatly improving the operator’s workday and productivity.

Make it Make sense

Don’t add overly complex details that the staff won’t know or can’t help to change. Try and limit the metrics and measurements to the ones your staff are accustomed to. For example, if you are using a weekly yield to show how many parts were shipped on time for the week, don’t immediately switch to dailies of just parts assembled.

By keeping familiarity and slowly introducing new metrics and how they relate to the old standard, you can help the operators understand what the new targets are easier by understanding what it would mean before.

Show the Results

When the operators punch information into the system, they need to see what it is, where it’s going, who is talking about it, where it is being seen, and what management is using it for. This will help them understand that the steps they are taking are parts of a greater whole that is in their and the company’s interest.

Have your ERP display relevant dashboards in visible places so that the staff can have the same real-time data access that you enjoy with metrics that would impact them most directly. You can then review the data at your daily stand-ups event faster than before, since your staff will already have a good idea of what’s going right, what’s wrong, and what they can do to fix it.

Score Quickly

While you are implementing your ERP, be sure you have a way to measure the positive changes that are coming from it. Explain and celebrate when you get a goal. And the sooner a goal is reached, the better. This can often be the driving force during an implementation rough patch, where nothing seems to be working.

The small victories, like cutting setup time due to easier access to the setup requirements, or any of the quick manual processes that are easily replaced, are the best way to show your operators that the changes will continue to have a positive effect on daily operations.


By quickly improving the operator day-to-day while showing them the benefits of the changes, you can ensure that the dreaded “what’s in it for me?” question never comes up, but rather clearly apparent.

There is also an added benefit: Transparent operations. This, in turn, creates more efficient workflows. Making your operators, their supervisors, lead hands, managers, and everyone’s life easier becomes the goal, since that will lead to higher productivity and efficiency for your company.

In the end, improving the operator adoption of the new ERP is in the hands of management. Just as with the production line, you have to provide them with the tools they need to provide you with the best work possible. In this symbiotic arrangement, true success is a mutually beneficial relationship.

In this, you might be thankful that you chose to go with OnRamp ERP. As a software and hardware company with our roots in manufacturing, we know how to show operators how much easier their days can be with better tools. And those tools include shop monitors, key strips, and scanner apps. All of which have been developed in cooperation with our partners and clients to cut waste, improve productivity, and improve your bottom line.

Contact us today for more information on how we can improve your shop floor and office operations.

Agree/ Disagree? Tell us what you think below!


  • Paul Henriques

    Paul Henriques is the current Manager for the Documentation and Training team at OnRamp Solutions Inc. Paul has over 15 years of experience in writing training material and documentation for various software companies. Having had to learn OnRamp ERP to better document it’s features and write training material; Paul is constantly stunned by the amount of thought that goes into each feature and the capabilities that are within the program, with features for all the various business units of a manufactory. Paul spends most of his free time keeping up to date on all the latest news and best practices for the manufacturing sector. Paul’s favorite manufacturing quote: “There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible.” – Henry Ford

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