This is a guest post by Jeff Carr, Founder and Principal of Ultra Consultants, the independent ERP consulting agency. The post is the fourth in our series of understanding how to choose an ERP consultant. You can see the previous three here:
There’s a quote attributed to Henry Ford that we feel clearly articulates what we know about success when it comes to ERP selection and implementation.
“When everyone is moving forward together, success takes care of itself.”
The reason this quote resonates so powerfully with our team is because one of the most challenging issues faced by a manufacturing company is how to effectively organize the ERP selection team.
An effectively organized ERP selection team improves the success of an effective ERP project, and ultimately selection ERP for an effective change management process.
It’s in this spirit that we offer the following 3 considerations for the ERP selection team.
Allocate the appropriate resources.
After working with hundreds of manufacturers, we know that an ERP selection project requires the best resources from the organization.
Putting together an effective team is one of the critical steps to a successful project. Why? The team helps with ERP requirements definition. The team is also responsible for assessing ERP vendors and their product offerings.
The ERP project needs a steering committee, an executive sponsor, a project manager, and a team of the best business users.
The steering committee should be made up of the senior leadership as well as the top executive from each functions of the business that will be affected by the new system.
Consider the project sponsor.
We suggest giving careful consideration to the ERP project sponsor. The executive sponsor should be the executive who is going to drive the project. In many successful projects, the sponsor is an executive who has been through an ERP project before. They have practical experience, especially in the area of ERP comparison.
It’s been our experience in the field that executive sponsorship is directly related to the success of the overall project.
Focus on ROI.
In most cases, the need for a new ERP system is felt within the entire organization. As an ERP project gets underway, management must clearly understand the needs, the alternate solutions, the total costs, the benefits of the solution, and other quantifiables. The anticipated return must consider process improvements including a more streamlined ordering process, reduction of physical inventory counts, improved production quality, better scheduling and more. Other savings should come from access to real-time information for more accurate materials planning, integrated databases, streamlined information reporting, dashboard reporting and other uses of real-time data.