When your business is changing ERP systems, the project isn’t just about finding and implementing the right system. It’s about ensuring your employees understand why the change is happening and empowering them with the tools and knowledge required to get the job done. That’s as important as finding the right ERP system.
Here are the steps you should follow when changing ERP to ensure successful change management and system implementation.
Step one: Create a culture of innovation
To ensure your ERP project will truly succeed, you need to create a culture where all ideas, from the greatest to the most far-fetched, are welcomed and valued. If your employees aren’t scared their ideas will be shot down, they’re more likely to develop the can-do, positive attitude required for innovation.
Do this by opening up the lines of communication between management and employees. Company-wide collaboration sessions are a great strategy and ensures every employee feels involved and as though their opinion is valued.
Step two: Share your vision across the company
It’s not enough to have a good vision in place. You need one everybody in your business understands. Just because you understand the benefits of upgrading your ERP system doesn’t mean the rest of your team does.
In larger businesses, when it comes to strategical business projects, what tends to happen is that it starts with the most senior stakeholders. They set the vision, the messaging, the goals and the path. By the time that vision trickles through the rest of the company and reaches the teams who will do the implementing, a lot of that original messaging and passion is lost.
Because of this, it can be difficult for your teams to buy into the changes. They may not understand or agree with what’s happening. And that can obviously make the project more challenging.
Avoid this by keeping the teams who need to know in the loop right from the start. You could have a member or two from each key team attending the initial planning meetings. This makes sharing the vision across the business much easier and means the news is less likely to be diluted or misunderstood.
Step three: Build the ideal team to lead and be accountable for your innovative efforts
As well as keeping your key teams in the loop from the start, you should also designate leaders to drive the project. Innovation as a whole shouldn’t be the responsibility of just your corporate business development team/units; it’s the responsibility of every leader at every level.
Your leaders should be:
- Skilled in using innovation tools
- Capable of thinking with an open mind and able to create opportunities for such scenarios
- Able to evaluate new options without making premature judgments
- Creative and able to embrace unconventional ideas
- Adept in mentoring and recognising fellow innovators
This list isn’t exhaustive but the point we’re trying to get across is your leaders need to be trained in encouraging innovation within their own teams. So, before you start your ERP project, assign your leaders and coach to develop an innovative mindset and instil that same attitude throughout their team.
You need leaders who are as skilled at encouraging innovation and change as they are at running their department.
Step four: Futureproof your supply chain
Enhance your supply chain efficiency with the right technology. Digitisation can bring you the following benefits:
- Your once-siloed data can be integrated into a single platform/interface. No more reliance on spreadsheets either. This enhances visibility and saves time as it eliminates the need to search for the information on separate systems
- Because your data is integrated, you can easily receive valuable data insights into your processes which can help you make more informed business decisions
- Minimise the impact of disruptions thanks to predictive analytics. For example, you can anticipate potential shifts in customer demand, the availability of raw materials and naturally occurring catastrophic events and prepare for them
- Automation and AI can help boost productivity and reduce the chances of human error
Interested in reading more on how you can enhance the stability and efficiency of your supply chain? Check out some handy tips in this short resource…
Step five: Recruit innovative employees
To stay innovative, try and look for potential employees who could bring an element of creativity to your team when you’re hiring. Ask yourself whether these candidates can see things in a new light and bring in fresh ideas to your business.
This ensures your company will always be thinking of ways to drive improvement and process efficiency, whether it’s before, during or after an ERP project.
Recent research has also found that a more diverse workforce can boost innovation and financial results. So, that’s another aspect to keep in mind.
Step six: Bring in innovators from the outside
Your company doesn’t need to bear the brunt and pressure of innovation on its own. Often, working with third-party businesses can help bring new ideas into the mix, speed up the process and reduce the chances of errors.
There are companies that specialise in digital innovation projects, from brainstorming ideas and putting a plan in place to implementing everything. Consider working with these companies - their expertise in implementations across a variety of industries can be very valuable especially if your business hasn’t undertaken many innovation projects before.
You don’t need to hire these companies to take over every aspect of the project (though that’s definitely an option if you’d like it to be). You can even just outsource a part of the process - either way, you’ll likely find your project is completed and your objectives achieved much quicker and more successfully than if you didn’t outsource at all.
Changing your ERP system is one way to improve cost efficiency…
A common goal for most manufacturers is to operate more cost effectively without compromising on product quality or quantity. Migrating to a more modern ERP system is one way to achieve that, however there’s more.
From adopting lean production concepts to investing in technology like automation and predictive analytics, take a look at our ultimate guide to improving cost efficiency below. It’s filled with tips for manufacturers like yourself.