I could write a book on this topic but let’s keep it to a single theme, continuous improvement. Much of the focus on ERP is about the implementation or 'getting up and running', but what happens after that initial project?
Software companies and large implementation partners want to get your company up and running (bums on seats so to speak) and don’t always market/publicize much on this topic , as the main focus can be about getting extra user licenses.
‘Continuous improvement can bring big gains’
Remember, with cloud solutions , the goal is NO MORE UPGRADES so not to move ERP again. So this is a 10 year plus journey. In other words, your company will spend a lot more years LIVE using this ERP system than getting to LIVE ! That’s means a lot more TIME TO IMPROVE post go live.
This does not mean you don’t need a sound base to start. You really do. It just means that Continuous improvement can bring big gains.
Here are some points to get you thinking about your companies ERP Journey.
- Business lead: have a business lead (either by department or module).
- You want this person to be close to the related operations and to drive and request improvements
- Settling period. It's often best to leave a period of time between the initial implementation/GO Live and follow on improvements. That could be 2 months or 6 months, depending on various factors. This helps the new business process flow's to bed in, and reduces potential changes based on the 'how the old system work', thus avoiding regression in business process flows.
- Energy: This is related to the settling period. If it’s the same group of people, you need people to re-energize after the initial implementation. - give them some time away. Close down the project for the original implementation and start anew. Otherwise, people can feel like it’s a never ending project, which can reduce the appetite for improvements.
- Measure. Follow a structure that allows you to measure the ongoing improvements. It is very easy to lose sight of iterative improvements that occur over the coming months and years.
- For larger companies,Have a change board
- For smaller companies, have group check-ins for change management (sorry for the overused buzz word)
- 'Mini Projects': sometimes it helps to break work into 'mini projects'. Again this helps to have a start and end to the body of work
- Software Partner. If you had a implementation partner/vendor, ensure your software partner keeps a reasonable knowledge of the ongoing improvements. Your company will be running through a support desk and their consultants that worked on the project will move to other projects, and even leave that software company so you may have to work with them and push them to stay up to date with your business processes.