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Getting Started With ERP Part 2: Ready, Set, Implement

Implementing ERP software requires an experienced team and vendor to guide companies through what can be a challenging process. Preparation is a fundamental component and, if done well, can alleviate a myriad of roadblocks to an effective and timely enterprise implementation. A skilled ERP vendor, with industry specific knowledge, will ease this process and provide a detailed plan to guide companies to successful completion.

An experienced provider will work with your team to analyze your business requirements, recommend industry best practices to streamline operations and personalize the system to meet a company’s precise needs. In addition, your enterprise software vendor will work with you to incorporate advanced software features to improve employee productivity and bottom-line.

Therefore, it is imperative that the implementation phase include comprehensive technical and end-user training. Without this critical component, employees may have difficulty learning the new software. If employees are not trained on the new tools and how it can streamline their work, than they are less likely to best utilize the software. Implementing enterprise software without proper staff training can lead to a loss of functionality and efficiencies and negatively impact the bottom line. Training should therefore be a priority during the implementation period.

Staff members must be trained not only on how to use the software, but the organizational benefits that this new system provides. A process must be put in place that can provide these benefits early in the training cycle, while offering a platform from which employers can address any lingering concerns that employees may have. Smart companies, with the help of knowledgeable ERP vendors, can guide employees through this change and help staff to realize the enormous benefits that the new system can provide.

Finally, ERP solution providers should offer adequate technical support to guide an enterprise through the first weeks after implementation and address any issues that arise over time. Comprehensive help services should include on-site support, a telephone hotline, as well as Web support. These services help to ensure that your company will receive maximum return on its technology investment.

An Average Implementation Timeline for the MidMarket

Implementation timelines can vary widely depending on the type of business and the complexity of the operations; however, typical medium business implementations can generally take approximately four to six months. This timeframe includes a company’s basic operations such as Financial Management, Customer Service and Inventory Management.

For the execution of advanced enterprise features, the implementation phase can be slightly
longer—6 to 12 months—and includes applications such as Manufacturing Management, Distribution Management, Retail Management, Warehouse Management, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Sales Force Automation, E-Commerce and Business Analytics.

While these timelines may seem long, it is important to remember that a new ERP system will affect your organization from top to bottom, provide real-time data for critical corporate decision-making and will be running your business for a very long time.

Reaping the Rewards

As businesses continually search for solutions to streamline operations, manage effectively, positively impact the bottom-line and prepare for the next challenge, ERP software can provide the solid foundation from which corporate success is built. With the help of a good enterprise system, companies can significantly improve efficiencies, enhance customer service, operate with unlimited growth potential, and reduce overhead costs, thereby delivering ROI for this investment.

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Tags : Customer Relationship ManagementEnterprise Resource PlanningERP SoftwaremidmarketVAIWarehouse Management