4 Basic Steps to Prepare for an ERP Implementation

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Kandy Beatty

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4 Basic Steps to Prepare for an ERP Implementation

16/07/2020 Categories: ARTICLES

  For many online businesses, there comes a time when a technological upgrade becomes necessary. All kinds of scenarios could prompt this need. Perhaps you are scaling up and have new demands, or the current system can't handle all your new orders, and you're running into operational troubles with shipping, refunds, etc. You've probably started to research different software packages that promise to be that magic bullet. If you're in this boat, a new or upgraded ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system is what you're looking to add to your organizational toolkit.  There's no doubt changing platforms, integrating a new tool, or upgrading can be a huge decision. However, if you prepare correctly and take the necessary steps before deciding, it will be much easier. This guide will provide steps for evaluating and selecting an ERP and how to prepare for full implementation.  Step 1: Plan, Plan, Plan... When you're sifting through ERP options, there are critical questions you and your team need to ask yourselves. Then plan everything meticulously based on the answers you come up with. Solving for X: Why do you need a new ERP system? That's the most fundamental question to answer. Then ask yourselves the following: Does our current ERP cost our company too much?  Does our current system adequately support our daily business demands? And will it scale going forward?  Is our current system unreliable and insecure?  What are our needs for the new system? What do we need to do to improve our business visibility and workflow?  Nominate the "dream team": Who are the power users of your current software? These are the folks who should be on the selection committee. If you engage these parties from the beginning, they will help create a smoother transition when you all introduce the new software to the rest of the company. Your power users can help answer questions and demonstrate the value a new ERP brings.  Define the project plan: Outline the scope of what you want the new ERP to do, specifically, the functions that are essential to your future needs. Then compare that to the scope of your current system and identify where you want to see improvement. Plan for the future: Consider the trajectory you want your business to follow.  If your business relies on manufacturing or distribution, consider how you manage and project inventory levels and production lead times. If it is more of a service-based business, consider your ability to handle web traffic and identify any potential service interruptions that could arise.  Step 2: Activate the Dream Team You can't expect to accomplish any successful ERP selection or implementation without having your whole team on board and engaged from start to finish. Early in the project, add in some ERP training time to familiarize the team with the concepts. This can be a quick half-day training session designed to inform employees about what ERPs are, what they are used for, and why the business is considering implementing one.   Keep your whole company informed, even when you expect some folks to be resistant to change. Please make sure everyone knows what's coming and give them time and resources to adapt to the new platform. Getting everyone proficient in the same system will ultimately help the company grow and thrive. During training, identify the team members who are picking it up quickly and

implementation checklist

new demands, or the current system can't handle all your new orders, and you're running into operational troubles with shipping, refunds, etc. You've probably started to research different software packages that promise to be that magic bullet. If you're in this boat, a new or upgraded ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system is what you're looking to add to your organizational toolkit. 

There's no doubt changing platforms, integrating a new tool, or upgrading can be a huge decision. However, if you prepare correctly and take the necessary steps before deciding, it will be much easier. This guide will provide steps for evaluating and selecting an ERP and how to prepare for full implementation. 

calendar planner

Step 1: Plan, Plan, Plan...

When you're sifting through ERP options, there are critical questions you and your team need to ask yourselves. Then plan everything meticulously based on the answers you come up with.

  • Solving for X: Why do you need a new ERP system? That's the most fundamental question to answer. Then ask yourselves the following:
    • Does our current ERP cost our company too much? 
    • Does our current system adequately support our daily business demands? And will it scale going forward? 
    • Is our current system unreliable and insecure? 
    • What are our needs for the new system? What do we need to do to improve our business visibility and workflow? 
  • Nominate the "dream team": Who are the power users of your current software? These are the folks who should be on the selection committee. If you engage these parties from the beginning, they will help create a smoother transition when you all introduce the new software to the rest of the company. Your power users can help answer questions and demonstrate the value a new ERP brings. 
  • Define the project plan: Outline the scope of what you want the new ERP to do, specifically, the functions that are essential to your future needs. Then compare that to the scope of your current system and identify where you want to see improvement.
  • Plan for the future: Consider the trajectory you want your business to follow.  If your business relies on manufacturing or distribution, consider how you manage and project inventory levels and production lead times. If it is more of a service-based business, consider your ability to handle web traffic and identify any potential service interruptions that could arise. 

doorway

Step 2: Activate the Dream Team

You can't expect to accomplish any successful ERP selection or implementation without having your whole team on board and engaged from start to finish. Early in the project, add in some ERP training time to familiarize the team with the concepts. This can be a quick half-day training session designed to inform employees about what ERPs are, what they are used for, and why the business is considering implementing one.  

Keep your whole company informed, even when you expect some folks to be resistant to change. Please make sure everyone knows what's coming and give them time and resources to adapt to the new platform. Getting everyone proficient in the same system will ultimately help the company grow and thrive.

During training, identify the team members who are picking it up quickly and train them to be the "power users." Power users will be the ideal testers in your company and can help teach their fellow team members during the beginning stages of implementation.  

implementation partner

Step 3: Choose an ERP and Implementation Partner

It can be overwhelming and challenging to choose the right ERP. The pressure mounts when you account for the cost, labor, and time it will take to install a new core to your business functionality. However, the payoff can be enormous: you'll have the technology in place to support business as your organization expands, eliminating the pesky "growing pains" that often occur during company growth.

One of the most significant selling points of the modern ERP is its web-based technology. Cloud-based, full-function ERP solutions put a wide range of integrated business functions at your fingertips. You and your team can access Financials, CRM, Manufacturing, Distribution, Project Management, and Field Services functionality anywhere, anytime, and via any device. Whatever business you may be in, this type of access and mobility is useful for your employees or co-workers.

Put as much care into selecting the implementation partner as the ERP software. Chances are if you are a small-to-mid-sized business, you don't have the "internal muscle" to perform a full ERP implementation in-house. If you are not able to allocate a full-time resource to the ERP project, choose an implementation partner. They have the proper internal processes, people, and expertise to give your business the ERP it deserves. 

These professionals can expertly help you navigate the process of selection, implementation, and customization as well as support and maintenance going forward. Ask potential prospective partners for referrals from their clients. 
There are three points you will want to keep in mind as you select both the ERP and your implementation partner:

  1. Functionality:  Will the system scale with your company's growth and support the mission and vision? 
  2. Ease of use: Is the user interface easy to learn and user-friendly? This will go a long way towards quick adoption by the team.
  3. Support:  How supportive is your implementation partner? How reliable are they?

fast website

Step 4: Prepare for Implementation

Preparation for implementation can be difficult, but you can be ready with a few simple steps. Here are some essential bits of prep work that all successful deployments have in common:

  • Assign a project manager from your company and have them track the project from their side. There is an abundance of simple, useful, and (usually) free project management tools out there for this exact purpose. Check out Wrike, Asana, or Teamwork if you’re interested.  
  • Have your basic records ready for when the implementation starts. This would include your customer, vendor, and item master lists, along with your general ledger accounting. Also, decide how much historical data you will need to be brought into the new system. 
  • Train your team! Ensure things run smoothly to alleviate frustrations from users. 

Taking all these actions before deciding what ERP to use will ease frustration in the long run. We at Kensium know this because we have done countless implementations of Acumatica ERP. If you are considering Acumatica ERP and will need a partner, you can contact us here.

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implementation checklist

For many online businesses, there comes a time when a technological upgrade becomes necessary. All kinds of scenarios could prompt this need. Perhaps you are scaling up and have new demands, or the current system can't handle all your new orders, and you're running into operational troubles with shipping, refunds, etc. You've probably started to research different software packages that promise to be that magic bullet. If you're in this boat, a new or upgraded ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system is what you're looking to add to your organizational toolkit. 

There's no doubt changing platforms, integrating a new tool, or upgrading can be a huge decision. However, if you prepare correctly and take the necessary steps before deciding, it will be much easier. This guide will provide steps for evaluating and selecting an ERP and how to prepare for full implementation. 

calendar planner

Step 1: Plan, Plan, Plan...

When you're sifting through ERP options, there are critical questions you and your team need to ask yourselves. Then plan everything meticulously based on the answers you come up with.

  • Solving for X: Why do you need a new ERP system? That's the most fundamental question to answer. Then ask yourselves the following:
    • Does our current ERP cost our company too much? 
    • Does our current system adequately support our daily business demands? And will it scale going forward? 
    • Is our current system unreliable and insecure? 
    • What are our needs for the new system? What do we need to do to improve our business visibility and workflow? 
  • Nominate the "dream team": Who are the power users of your current software? These are the folks who should be on the selection committee. If you engage these parties from the beginning, they will help create a smoother transition when you all introduce the new software to the rest of the company. Your power users can help answer questions and demonstrate the value a new ERP brings. 
  • Define the project plan: Outline the scope of what you want the new ERP to do, specifically, the functions that are essential to your future needs. Then compare that to the scope of your current system and identify where you want to see improvement.
  • Plan for the future: Consider the trajectory you want your business to follow.  If your business relies on manufacturing or distribution, consider how you manage and project inventory levels and production lead times. If it is more of a service-based business, consider your ability to handle web traffic and identify any potential service interruptions that could arise. 

doorway

Step 2: Activate the Dream Team

You can't expect to accomplish any successful ERP selection or implementation without having your whole team on board and engaged from start to finish. Early in the project, add in some ERP training time to familiarize the team with the concepts. This can be a quick half-day training session designed to inform employees about what ERPs are, what they are used for, and why the business is considering implementing one.  

Keep your whole company informed, even when you expect some folks to be resistant to change. Please make sure everyone knows what's coming and give them time and resources to adapt to the new platform. Getting everyone proficient in the same system will ultimately help the company grow and thrive.

During training, identify the team members who are picking it up quickly and train them to be the "power users." Power users will be the ideal testers in your company and can help teach their fellow team members during the beginning stages of implementation.  

implementation partner

Step 3: Choose an ERP and Implementation Partner

It can be overwhelming and challenging to choose the right ERP. The pressure mounts when you account for the cost, labor, and time it will take to install a new core to your business functionality. However, the payoff can be enormous: you'll have the technology in place to support business as your organization expands, eliminating the pesky "growing pains" that often occur during company growth.

One of the most significant selling points of the modern ERP is its web-based technology. Cloud-based, full-function ERP solutions put a wide range of integrated business functions at your fingertips. You and your team can access Financials, CRM, Manufacturing, Distribution, Project Management, and Field Services functionality anywhere, anytime, and via any device. Whatever business you may be in, this type of access and mobility is useful for your employees or co-workers.

Put as much care into selecting the implementation partner as the ERP software. Chances are if you are a small-to-mid-sized business, you don't have the "internal muscle" to perform a full ERP implementation in-house. If you are not able to allocate a full-time resource to the ERP project, choose an implementation partner. They have the proper internal processes, people, and expertise to give your business the ERP it deserves. 

These professionals can expertly help you navigate the process of selection, implementation, and customization as well as support and maintenance going forward. Ask potential prospective partners for referrals from their clients. 
There are three points you will want to keep in mind as you select both the ERP and your implementation partner:

  1. Functionality:  Will the system scale with your company's growth and support the mission and vision? 
  2. Ease of use: Is the user interface easy to learn and user-friendly? This will go a long way towards quick adoption by the team.
  3. Support:  How supportive is your implementation partner? How reliable are they?

fast website

Step 4: Prepare for Implementation

Preparation for implementation can be difficult, but you can be ready with a few simple steps. Here are some essential bits of prep work that all successful deployments have in common:

  • Assign a project manager from your company and have them track the project from their side. There is an abundance of simple, useful, and (usually) free project management tools out there for this exact purpose. Check out Wrike, Asana, or Teamwork if you’re interested.  
  • Have your basic records ready for when the implementation starts. This would include your customer, vendor, and item master lists, along with your general ledger accounting. Also, decide how much historical data you will need to be brought into the new system. 
  • Train your team! Ensure things run smoothly to alleviate frustrations from users. 

Taking all these actions before deciding what ERP to use will ease frustration in the long run. We at Kensium know this because we have done countless implementations of Acumatica ERP. If you are considering Acumatica ERP and will need a partner, you can contact us here.