Your complete leadership team must support the need and purpose for a new ERP system.
Your leaders need to be passionate and vocal supporters of the new system because any wavering from them tells their team they don’t believe in the project. If the project is not fully supported throughout the organization leadership you are vulnerable to employee push back and disengagement from the change process. If you don’t believe in it why should they?
Cultural and Demographic
Culture, language and demographic factors such as age and education will affect how you communicate the benefits, goals, objectives and risks of implementing a new ERP system. These factors will also influence how people perceive the changes that are inherent when implementing new software. Have a plan to ensure everyone understands and accepts the changes.
If the project is not fully supported throughout the organization leadership you are vulnerable to employee push back and disengagement from the change process.
Have you involved your employees in determining what your new ERP system should do for you and for them? Have you confirmed with them that the processes you believe your organization utilizes match with the processes or steps they actually perform? There are quantifiable benefits for engaging your staff in the definition of what your new ERP system should be doing for you. A formal way to achieve this is by doing an organizational readiness assessment. The organizational readiness assessment will identify all the issues and opportunities that can be addressed during an ERP selection and implementation. Involved employees will more willingly accept change changes.
Testing and Training
You have created a grand plan for your ERP implementation and are implementing it. The testing phase is the perfect opportunity to check assumptions, review the design, confirm that the new business process work as intended and begin training your employees.
Your training strategy should ensure all employees who will use the new system have appropriate levels of training along with direct access to a functional expert who can answer their questions. One of the best ways to achieve this is to use a ‘Train the Trainer’ approach.
Training is often an area that is cut to meet the budget set for the project but this is the one area that has the greatest impact on the success of your new ERP software. Cut training at your own risk.
Regular Communication with Employees
A phased implementation can help people adjust to the new system. Involving your staff in the testing process will help them adjust to and understand the new system because it gives them an opportunity to provide their feedback and opinions before it’s too late to prevent acceptance issues. Throughout the implementation process, open the lines of communication with your staff and actively seek and listen to their challenges and opinions as they arise during the implementation. When employees are deeply involved the results are much better.
Finally, when senior management recognizes there is going to be changes to processes and procedures and fully embraces them they will be ready to work through any challenges. An appropriate budget must be allocated to change management to avoid a failed project. Investing in change management is buying insurance against project failure.
Following these principles will ensure you mitigate the challenges your business faces when implementing a new ERP software system.