When Planning for a New ERP, Get Your People Ready

While there are some people relish change, most don't. In fact, the majority of people hate change. "Why can't we just keep doing the things the way we used to? It's been working." Sound familiar? When you inform your staff that you will be abandoning QuickBooks and spread sheets for a new Manufacturing Cloud ERP, there will be many murmurs...just like you heard when you told them that you were switching to Windows 10. Since this is so important to your company's success, what can you do?

As ERP Focus points out, " Most of us, in our business careers, have managed change similarly to the way we have been managed: simply making speedy adoption of a new initiative a condition of employment. However, ERP is so large, and touches so many people, that this approach is not numerically feasible; you couldn’t realistically fire that many people and keep the organization operating. The only logical alternative is to manage them in such a way that, even if they are not positive about ERP, they are at least accepting of the change, and understand its business reasons."

Change Begins in the C-Suites

ERP vendors must show owners and upper management how the new cloud-based ERP systems will make money and provide a solid return on investment. Dino Farina, Proveris Scientific founder and CEO knew that his company was consistently overbuying parts and materials just to assure that it had enough in inventory to meet order demand for its nasal and aerosol testing instrumentation. His question was, with cloud manufacturing ERP, would Proveris be able to determine how many of its most popular machines could be built with the inventory on hand?

“We were constantly trying to get the answers to such questions,” emphasizes Farina. “By the time we finally got the data, the answers were too late. With manufacturing Cloud ERP, we will now be able to not only find out how many units we can manufacture with the inventory on hand but whether we need more inventory, how much, how soon and at what cost. This will make our business more efficient by increasing our cash flow and improving our resource planning, while giving our customers faster deliveries on their orders.”

Farina was now looking forward to the new change. He could now lead the charge into getting everyone ready for the new ERP cloud solution, even if they weren't as enthusiastic as he was.

5 Steps to Accepting the New ERP

To make sure everyone becomes willing to use the new cloud ERP system once it becomes live, here are five things that you can do -

  1. Identify everyone who will be affected by the change (this is a bigger group than you will initially think). Be sure to include any person who will use the new Manufacturing Cloud ERP solution in any way, shape or manner. When in doubt, include them.
  2. Communicate to this group what change will be coming. The best thing to do is to actually show via demonstration or video some of the features that will make the new ERP manufacturing system easier to use.
  3. Establish the compelling business reasons that make this ERP necessary. This is where support from the C-suites becomes so important. They can share why they made their decision to switch to a new Cloud ERP and explain how it will create increased success for the company. Employees understand that means better job security for them.
  4. Explain how they must behave in order for the project to succeed. Let them know from the beginning how you plan to incorporate the new ERP solution into their jobs. Assure them that there will be training to assure their success with the new software.
  5. Give frequent project updates, always reiterating steps two through four.

If you have never undertaken a project such as this, you may first want some of your people to undergo a training course. There are also consultants that can help you migrate to the new Cloud ERP system easier and with less pain.

Most importantly, know that if you manage the change to the new ERP system, you can be confident in reaping its rewards faster by turning resistance into acceptance ahead of time.