ERP implementations require strong user adoption in order to reach the system’s full potential.
After all, what's the point of investing in a new system if people aren’t going to use it? Manufacturers shouldn't simply bring a vendor in, watch the vendor set the system up and then expect employees to start using it.
To encourage employees to embrace the manufacturing ERP system, here are seven keys for boosting user adoption.
1. Top management support: Implementations usually fail when they’re pushed from the bottom up. Employees at lower levels aren’t able to make strong decisions about resources and planning without input from upper management, so it’s critical to get leaders on board and involved in the implementation.
A common problem with implementation projects is that some people try to avoid doing the necessary work. Support from management is critical to making sure everyone involved in the ERP implementation is held accountable. Without accountability, adoption rates slide.
2. Time: Make sure employees have time to do their regular work responsibilities as well as devote time to the implementation. Project managers should devote half of their working time to the implementation. Sometimes, you need to get creative and shift responsibilities around, but it is well worth the effort to ensure you get the most from your ERP system.
3. Process changes: It’s important to make process changes when you implement ERP. If you keep all of your existing processes in place, your new ERP system is going to look like your old ERP system. Adoption rates suffer when you implement a new system but fail to improve your processes.
4. Skillset evaluation: Employees sometimes don’t have the skills required to use a new system. Never assume that your workers are able to start using a new system if you haven’t checked to see if their skill sets align with the platform.
5. Personalization: Most new ERP systems provide users with some freedom to personalize the system, such as allowing them to organize the order of fields on a form in a certain sequence. User adoption improves when employees are allowed to tweak the system to better fit their roles.
6. Internal user group: Create an internal user group as you get closer to rolling out the system. Some organizations have internal groups that stay active for a couple of years after an implementation.
Such groups help to provide ongoing training and user support for the ERP system. While it’s possible to receive assistance from your vendor, it’s a good idea to create a strong internal team. The more you’re able to solve your own problems, the less money you’re going to spend. Plus, internal user groups help to create a sense of ownership with an ERP system.
7. Create a culture of continuous improvement: Send a couple of employees or your internal user group to conferences hosted by your software vendor. You’re not finished learning after a system is installed. Continuous improvement is required take advantage of all the functions in your system and to add additional features in the future.
An ERP implementation is often costly and time-consuming. To get the full return on investment and ensure that user adoption is high, businesses to be committed to dedicating the appropriate time and resources to the project.