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How Can SMEs Overcome the Challenges Faced by Implementing ERP Software?

ERP software helps businesses of all sizes, including SMEs, to streamline routine operational tasks, cut costs and save valuable time.
SME Directors and Managers need to be savvy about how they plan their day – time used to complete administrative tasks, such as payroll and inventory planning, could be better spent identifying new opportunities for business growth.

This is where ERP software comes in. ERP solutions automate key business functions, such as order processing and production, freeing up staff to focus on more important tasks rather than data entry.

ERP Software Implementation Challenges
Most SME leaders are aware that adopting new technologies to stay relevant is crucial to their business success. They understand and recognise the value that ERP can bring to their business, however many still have reservations when it comes to implementation.

Here we look at the most common ERP implementation concerns and suggest how these challenges can be overcome to enhance business growth.

Common ERP Implementation Concerns
When discussing ERP implementation with our SME customers, these were the top 8 concerns they had:
  1. How do I choose the best ERP solution for my business?
  2. How long will ERP implementation take?
  3. Will I receive software training?
  4. Will the implementation cause business upheaval?
  5. Will the system be fully tested before going live?
  6. Will I be fully supported once the system has gone live?
  7. Will ERP implementation be expensive?
  8. How do I know if the ERP software I choose is working well for my business?
Here’s how we’d suggest overcoming these challenges…

Concern 1: How do I choose the best ERP solution for my business?

Answer: Make enquiries with multiple ERP vendors and select the one that best suits your needs
  • Firstly, define your business needs, challenges you’re currently facing and your future goals. Make enquiries with multiple ERP software providers who have carried out successful system implementations within your specific industry - they will have more insight into the unique requirements of your business. Ensure you have detailed discussions about their strategy, processes, and how they will help you meet your objectives. Most importantly - choose a vendor whose goals and objectives are the most similar to yours, don’t simply choose the cheapest!
Concern 2: How long will successful ERP implementation take?

Answer: Timelines can vary from vendor to vendor – just make sure you have a clear timeline in place before any work is carried out
  • Implementation timelines can vary drastically between vendors. Generally speaking, implementing an ERP solution for a small to mid-sized business should take between 2-6 months, but don’t be put off if you receive quotes outside this timeline. The size of your company, system complexity and customisations can all impact the time it takes for implementation to be completed. Ensure you set a realistic timeline for the implementation and have key dates in your diary for when specific tasks need to be completed. This way, your implementation timeline is likely to stay on track.
Concern 3: Will I receive training on the new software?

Answer: Ensure the ERP vendor you choose offers full training and make sure all employees are willing to actively participate in coaching sessions
  • Most ERP vendors offer full training as part of the implementation process, but it’s always best to double check. It’s also important to note that it shouldn’t just be management who participate in the training sessions. All employees should be open to actively participating in coaching sessions to ensure they get a thorough understanding of the software, and how it works, before it goes live.
Concern 4: Will the implementation cause business upheaval?

Answer: Plan accordingly and the implementation process will run smoothly
  • ERP project leaders must carry out extensive planning and create a project roadmap to limit business upheaval during the implementation process. Potential disruptions that can occur include employee training and project members having less time to complete their normal work. To limit these disruptions, project leaders should plan ahead, allocate sufficient resources and create checklists to ensure the implementation runs smoothly.
Concern 5: Will the ERP system be fully tested before going live?

Answer: Ensure thorough testing sessions are scheduled in and carried out before the system goes live
  • If you do not carry out extensive testing of the software’s functionality before it goes live, you may experience costly problems when it’s up and running. Ensure exhaustive testing of the ERP software is carried out and the system can complete all the tasks you need it to. Go live only when all important business parameters have been met and you’re happy that all employees know how the system and business will operate going forward.
Concern 6: Will I be fully supported once the system has gone live?

Answer: Ensure your ERP vendor of choice offers support packages following implementation
  • Implementation support for ERP software is not enough for most SME businesses – many require on-going support, so ensure your vendor of choice offers an ongoing support package. ERP systems require frequent reviews and updates to ensure they grow alongside a business. This won’t be possible without post-implementation support. Further support will also allow you to maximise the value and return on investment of your ERP system.
Concern 7: Will ERP implementation be expensive?

Answer: Prices can vary drastically - ensure you have the cost for the entire ERP project, including implementation and support, right from the start
  • It’s difficult to put a price on the cost of ERP implementation as prices differ between all vendors. Other factors such as the size of your business, how many users you require and integrations with other software will also alter the price you pay. It’s also important to note that as well as user licenses and implementation fees, vendors can also charge for software maintenance, extra support fees, training sessions, infrastructure costs and consultations. Due to this, it’s important you plan the full project and receive a list of all fees that will be included before you sign any contracts or legal documents to avoid unexpected costs.
Concern 8: How do I know if the ERP software I choose is working well for my business?

Answer: Clearly define your success parameters, and how they will be measured, before implementation begins
  • Success parameters will be different for each business. It’s important to set your parameters before ERP implementation to ensure you know it’s working well when it goes live. An ERP system should reduce the number of manual data-entry tasks you have to carry out. It should also assist in the scheduling and automation of tasks such as production, accounting and inventory management.
  • Good examples of short-term success:
    • Invoicing conducted automatically via ERP system
    • Inventory reports generated weekly via ERP solution
  • Good examples of long-term success ERP include:
    • Reduction in inventory levels by X%
    • Distribution times reduced by X days
Contact Us

If you would like to speak to us about the ERP solutions we offer, or how the implementation process works, please call us on 01423 330335, or email us at sales@onesys.co.uk.
 

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