A common theme consistent across most small and medium sized enterprises is a lack of resources; financial, time and human resources all seem to be in short supply in their day-to-day business operations. This pressure is then only exacerbated when they think about implementing an ERP solution to help them grow.
It’s at this point that many SMEs decide against undertaking such a large-scale project, simply because they don’t think they will have enough time, money or people to see it through to a successful conclusion.
At Blue Ocean Systems, we offer a different view on this and suggest that resources (or lack of) isn’t really the main hurdle to overcome; it’s all in the planning.
Perceived lack of financial resources?
Let’s take the money question out of the picture immediately because there are so many ways for SMEs to finance their ERP investment, now really is a great time to take advantage of the support available.
We posted recently about the numerous grants and incentives available for eligible Singapore companies looking to become more innovative and productive with an ERP implementation. If you’re considering SAP Business One for your ERP, remember that it is designed (and priced) specifically for the SME market, and you might just be surprised to read our recent post about the true cost of an SAP implementation.
Not enough time to implement an ERP solution?
We’re not going to pretend that implementing your ERP solution will be a one-day job. The benefits are too numerous to have it all ready so quickly. But, thinking that you don’t have the time for an ERP implementation is quite shortsighted.
Yes, you will have to look at all areas of your business and work to streamline processes.
Yes, you will be required to address inefficient systems and procedures. Yes, you will need to spend time planning how new ways of doing things will affect your employees.
But – shouldn’t businesses be undertaking regular reviews of their end-to-end processes and finding new ways to improve manufacturing, delivery, sales etc.? Use your ERP implementation as an opportunity to overhaul and innovate your business operations to save much more time (and money) in the future.
Successful implementations need the right people
Just like the first two factors, an effective implementation needs the right people on board with the right skills, and probably most importantly – a true passion and belief in the improvements an ERP can bring to your business.
The right people need to be involved from the start of your ERP journey – before you have even selected a vendor or a solution. They need to represent their specific department, highlight pain points and potential risk factors and ‘own’ the solutions for their teams. Having the right people at this point is more about culture than anything else.
Then, you need to think about the specialists you need on board…
A Project Manager is not simply the most organised person in your workforce. Ideally, they need to have project management qualifications, and definitely need to have experience in implementing new systems. If you don’t have the right people, hiring them is imperative. The initial outlay for an external specialist consultant will far outweigh the cost of not getting the implementation right.
Support the Project Manager; the implementation team needs to represent your entire business so each step of the process looks at how it impacts all departments. If they can’t be spared full time for the duration of the implementation, work out ways to reduce their usual tasks so they can fully commit to the success of the project. Again, most importantly, the project team members are change agents and need to set the example for a successful improvement happening within your organisation. If they don’t lead by example, then the adoption of a new system will be much harder for the rest of the workforce. Read more here about organisational change.
Communications is another area you might seek outside help for. Never underestimate the need for a strong, iterative communications plan that delivers key messages, updates and instructions to everyone affected at each stage of the project. This includes a comprehensive training plan in the context of everyone’s specific role within the organisation.
Your executive team members are the biggest change agents within the organisation and need to be fully on board to support the project manager and implementation team. They need to prioritise, under your leadership, the ERP implementation as one of the biggest projects they will undertake for your business.
Your requirement for resources (time, money, people) is secondary to your requirement to plan for a successful ERP implementation. Having the long-term goal in mind will be key in your shift in perception from ‘not having enough resources to make it happen’ to ‘achieving our long-term objectives through thoughtful planning.’
Contact the Blue Ocean Systems team for more help on putting your ERP implementation plan together.
Do you know a company going through the same struggle in trying to work out their resources for their ERP implementation? Or they have been put off due to a perceived lack of time, money and people? If so, contact us with their name and let us know their challenges so we can lend a helping hand.
Note: This story has also been adapted for publication in Steemit.