We begin April with a series of 4 informative posts derived in part from a white paper from our friends at Dynamics Manufacturing Solutions. We think the points they make, and that we enhance from our own experience in the series that follows, will be useful to manufacturers.
Recently, a company we partner with called Dynamics Manufacturing Solutions released a very good e-book entitled “10 Steps to Successfully Deploying ERP in Manufacturing Shops.” DMS is an Alberta, Canada based provider of manufacturing software solutions designed to be integrated with Microsoft Dynamics NAV. (Disclosure: PSSI partners with and sells DMS solutions to our manufacturing customers. That said, their e-book strikes us as balanced, unbiased and very representative of our own advice to customers. We think their advice is worth parsing and passing on in this blog.)
In our next few posts, we’d like to highlight some of DMS’s conclusions as put forth in their “10 Steps…” document, as we’ve found each step to be valid and worth the attention of anyone involved in an ERP project.
We’ll begin today with their first two steps, which cover project management and selecting and empowering your team.
1. Professional Project Management. DMS begins by quoting accounting and advisory services firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers who note that “the leader of any project team is pivotal in forming the goals of an ERP solution.” All companies have project goals for their ERP. It’s the Project Manager’s job to figure out (along with their ERP provider) the timeline over the course of the project at which the various components will be functional. Implementing, converting data, training employees and going live should all be benchmarks to a project’s success. Project managers need to get to know their new software at a pretty granular level, and lead the team in testing, before releasing it company-wide.
PwC suggests appointing team members who are trusted and have experience in similar projects. They recommend role-based training to employees in each area of the company. It’s also the PM’s job to ensure the project stays on budget. And while cost overruns can’t be eliminated in these sorts of projects, “they can be managed with the right tools and tactics,” DMS points out, quoting a Management Professor at Cal State Univ.
2. Select Your Team and Empower Your Leaders. DMS points out that more than just good intentions are required when deploying ERP in the manufacturing environment. “There must be a proactive, intelligent leader who works to make the project successful from start to finish. Good leadership helps plan the adoption process, implement the software, train workers, and ensure everything runs smoothly.”
Your projects need a sponsor, and the sponsor must have a plan. The sponsor must show interest, be trustworthy, smart, experienced and work well with their team. It’s a manageable task, provided you think it through from the start.
In our next post highlighting DMS’s findings, we’ll look at the roles of change, user buy-in and preparing your staff. Stay tuned…