We all start the year with good intentions of what we will and won’t do, but by mid-January most of us have already broken our resolutions. As a long distance runner I spend many hours running long distances, and many more training. I train when it’s cold, dark, wet and windy. I train when I am on holiday. I train when I probably should be asleep. I also need to think about what I need to do to support my training: strength work in the gym, my diet, getting enough sleep, not drinking too much. The reward comes though when I enter an event and reach my goal. Not only do I measure success in terms of achieving a specific goal – e.g. running from Edinburgh to Glasgow (which is the challenge for March 2017), it’s also about the positive benefits running has on all aspects of my life.
Much of this logic can be applied to your ERP system.
Carefully select your goal
Most people have an objective for their system, the reason that they bought ERP in the first place. The most common reason is to simplify business processes and increase visibility. Break this down into SMART objectives and crucially make sure that it relates back to your company strategy. Be clear on how it adds value to your business.
Craft a plan of how you will achieve your goal
Understand what needs to happen in order to achieve your goal, where you need to focus your resources, and importantly what NOT to do as well as what to do.
It might be data that’s holding you back from achieving business visibility – so work out who can fix it, how they can fix it – and what takes priority when the operations part of the business calls for this resource.
Maybe achieving stock accuracy is reliant on your supplier improving their labelling or barcoding – agree who is responsible for working with the supplier to remedy that, understand the financial benefit to you so you can support the supplier if needs be.
Perhaps you need to invest time and effort in realigning your business process with your systems, maybe you need to get your people better trained, upgrade to the latest version of the software and take advantage of the new technologies that have come through.
Whatever it is that’s holding you back from achieving your goals, identify, prioritize and plan.
Implement the plan
This is the hard bit. It’s so easy to put off this type of activity to another day, especially when you have a customer desperate for a rush order, or a supplier quality issue, or a business need to go out and drive more new customer adds.
Make sure you have considered in the planning stage how you will overcome these operational challenges that prevent you from implementing the plan.
Engage with your vendor, understand the role they can play, but make sure you retain ownership.
Celebrate success and find the next challenge
No sooner have I completed a run and the medal is hung around my neck, am I looking for the next challenge. Your ERP solution is the same. As soon as you have completed one challenge, look for the next improvement to be made.
Perhaps there is a point solution that you can apply to add a greater depth of functionality to warehousing or planning.
Maybe you could integrate more closely with your supplier or customers systems in order to drive efficiency right across the supply chain.
Perhaps Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things has gotten you all excited and you’re dreaming of a way to make this new technology create value for you and your customers.
Whatever your dreams, state your objective, craft a plan, implement that plan and look for the next challenge.