Author: Paul Henriques in: Business Solutions
Implementing a full-featured manufacturing ERP like OnRamp ERP can be complicated. There are many great and small things that can be done to ensure the implementation is successful, but an often looked for metric is time, namely:
There are many variables that will affect these questions, some of which a good implementation team will have experience with that will help them implement your new ERP.
The time required for an ERP implementation depend on various factors, with some impacting the implementation more than others, such as:
As you may be aware, ERPs have traditionally been massive systems that work on a push-based productions system that mainly affected the planning and purchasing departments. Implementing these departments alone would take multiple months to ensure that all the data is correct and any MRP calculations are valid. However, newer ERPs designed for a specific industry, such as a Manufacturing ERP (or MERP), are usually able to impact all your business units.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to implement all units, all at once. You can, instead choose to begin by implementing a certain set of units, tools, parts, vendors, etc. and slowly branching out to cover your whole operation as your teams become more familiar with the system. This may make it seem like there is a longer implementation time, however there are benefits to early adoption, such as removing issues and adding customizations that will make future adoptions quicker and easier, thus lowering the overall implementation and adoption time.
This factor speaks for itself. A team that is more experienced in implementing will be faster. But there are sub-factors at work here as well, such as:
In other words, a veteran logistics ERP implementation team that is implementing a new (to them) ERP system in a manufacturing environment might be worse than a team with direct ERP vendor support that is implementing their own Manufacturing ERP with experience that is exclusive to the manufacturing sector.
Very few software packages are 100% ready-to-go out of the box. Picking an ERP that is made for your industry will definitely ensure you have as close to 100% of your desired functions, but there are always small items that may be unimportant to most shops but are a must-have for yours, like if your firm has specific reporting preferences or you have to adhere to a very uncommon regulation requirement.
Another obvious factor. If you keep all your data in various paper binders and slips of paper instead of a centralized database, Excel file, or even QuickBooks, your implementation time will increase. Alternately, if you have a single database that cannot be exported, this can also add to the implementation time.
This factor is only really concerning if you have more than one location that will have the ERP implemented. Coordinating an implementation across multiple locations simultaneously will add to the budget, whereas implementing a location before moving on to the next will add time to the schedule but it can help encourage adoption from your other branches as they see the success at the original location.
The number of users poses a factor because there are more staff to train and encourage to adopt the new system.
An ERP Implementation can be a time-consuming affair with a lot of unexpected issues. However, an experienced implementation team will know to be prepared with tools that can improve the timeline, such as:
An experienced implementation team knows the system it was hired to implement and it will understand what your leadership team wants out of the ERP system. It will liaise with business unit leaders on the best way to get the desired outcome. This will ensure that there are no uninformed senior stakeholders with late-stage demands that negatively affect the go-live date.
Before starting the process, you should have an idea on if the installation will be onsite, offsite, or in the cloud. The main issue here is that you want to ensure you have the required hardware available when it is needed, thus avoiding any supply issues at what could be a critical time. Smaller shops that don’t want to add an expensive IT team to their books are recommended to search for systems that are run on the cloud.
Once the business goals are understood, you need to map your processes. Completing a BPM is a crucial part of the planning process that will help you and the implementation team understand how everything in your manufactory is connected and how it can be changed for the better.
As the business process is being mapped, teams should start organizing the internal data while looking for incorrect, damaged, old, or duplicate data. The goal is to clean up your data so it can be migrated to the new system in smaller, precise chunks.
As you go through the process, ensure you have your top staff assigned and scheduled to learn your new ERP system and train other staff as they need to be brought up-to-speed on the new way of doing things.
As you can see from the items listed above, all the options related to an ERP implementation can make determining when the project will be ready for a full release difficult. As such, that power should hall to one of the most important people on the transition team: the ERP Project Manager.
This can be one of the more challenging positions in the company which requires great leadership and communication skills. Some of their duties include:
Also, your ERP PM must be able to build a strong relationship with your software vendor to better determine all the key milestones, targets, and dates for the implementation. By cutting the implementation project down into smaller chunks, you will have a better idea on the timeline and be able to reverse course with less loss if there are unfixable errors on the way.
Knowing ahead of schedule when you will be ready to go-live is important, but when it comes to an ERP, it is can be almost impossible to deliver on a date without knowing all of the facts on the ground. ERP implementations are usually events that touch upon and move every facet of your organization. When something is as all-encompassing as the OnRamp ERP, there are many variables to consider when looking for a quote on the amount of time it can take to implement. Instead, a good ERP implementation team, like the OnRamp team, will start by reviewing your operations and then setting milestones with KPIs. Then, by dividing up your schedule in to smaller chunks with milestones, metrics, and check-ins, it becomes easier to ascertain the time required to implement each one. And with that, you will have a better notion of how long the complete implementation will take.
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