We have all heard the stories and read the headlines – ‘Massive ERP Manufacturing Software Company Sued by ABC Manufacturing After Manufacturing Software Implementation Went From 7 Months to 27 Months’. The reality is, this is not the norm. However, that doesn’t mean that you should ignore these horrible cases when they arise, but should instead study them to ensure that you don’t suffer the same fate.
Here are 4 helpful ways to overcome your fear of ERP manufacturing software implementation:
1. Ask for References to Establish Realistic Expectations. In order to set up realistic expectations for how long a manufacturing software implementation should take, ask for as many references as you can – before you purchase. The more information you can gather about businesses that are in the same industry, revenue size, and resource capability, the more accurate a project time estimation you can receive. Don’t listen to the ERP vendor’s estimate, listen to their customers. If the clients consistently tell you that implementation times take 4-6 months, then you know what to realistically expect from them.
2. Participate in the Implementation Plan. One of the worst things to do during the purchasing cycle is to simply sit back, take a hands off approach, and let the ERP vendor dictate to you what your implementation plan should be. Yes, the vendors are experts at implementing, but, they are not yet experts at your business, your resources, and your capabilities. Before you establish a manufacturing software implementation plan with your vendor, ask them to walk the floor with you to help identify pain points and formulate your plan together. When both parties have worked on the plan, then everyone knows what the expectations are going forward, which is critical to keep the project on track.
3. Count Your Resources, Carefully. Before the project even starts, you must ask yourself, do I really have the internal resources available to devote to a 4-6 month implementation? If you do not set up a plan to continue to execute everyday work, in addition to the work of the implementation project, then one of two things will happen. Either your everyday work will slide, or the implementation work will slide. This is one of the biggest culprits of manufacturing software implementation project creep. However, if you have planned ahead of time and counted your resources, then you should have no problem finishing your implementation with the plan that you have both established.
4. Have a Backup Plan. Even if you have established a realistic implementation time estimate though references, worked together to establish a project plan, and properly counted and assigned your resources, delays can still happen. What happens when the manufacturing software implementation project manager gets the flu, gets hurt, or is otherwise unable to participate? Have you accounted for vacation, holidays, etc? Creating a backup plan for these circumstances is critical to keeping the implementation on schedule. Make sure that as part of counting your resources, you have also established a back up plan.