For most, changing ERP software supplier required stepping out of your comfort zone. This is always a tough thing to do, and that is no less true of a business than it is of an individual.
Often in life we can see that the way we have always done things is a bit clunky, and we suspect that there is probably a solution out there that will make it better – but making that step is not always easy. What if it doesn’t work? What if it is time-consuming? Where do I start? What do I need? is it worth changing ERP software? Far easier to stick with what we know than investigate how to do things differently.
And that is fine if it’s getting rid of your CD collection and going for an all-digital home music system we’re talking about – but when it comes to business, as we have said before, stagnation can be far more dangerous, and even fatal. Competition out there is tough, and it’s vital for businesses to make all of their operations as cost-effective and efficient as they possibly can and see what simple ERP software is out there in the marketplace to help.
Here at Statii we know that our Enterprise Resource Planning systems will revolutionise the back room operations for SMEs, but persuading managers to switch from their traditional paper-based way of doing things can be surprisingly tricky. Ever heard of the phrase ‘you cant teach old dogs new tricks’? That is true for how managers like to manage and control their production process, changing is simply of no interest. Statii however is not a trick and the functionality and data entry has been designed to cater to the industries ‘old tricks’, whilst creating a new production control ‘magic act’.
If any organisation is preparing to undergo a big change in the way they operate – whether it’s in inventory management or production planning and control – that change must come from the top. But strangely enough it is usually with the head of a company that the difficulty lies when it comes to moving to an ERP system.
ERP implementation requires the head of the company to be fully committed to the change, but what one can find is the business owner or director perhaps does not really want to make the switch, but is merely aware there is a problem with the way things are being done and ideally would like a “magic wand” to provide a solution.
So how can we ensure that the move to install ERP software is a success for a company?
What we would advise at Statii is that when a manufacturing SME is looking into moving to ERP is that it should ideally be the head of that organisation who is undertaking the investigation, from meetings with providers to implementing the move. If the managing director chooses to delegate the responsibility of ERP implementation to someone else, this could be a sign they are not fully committed to the change and therefore it will not work.
Moving to an ERP system requires a culture change in an organisation, which is not necessarily easy to achieve, and the best place for this to originate is from the very top. That way everyone in the company can see that the change is fully believed in by senior management and they will be much more likely to get behind the new system that is being integrated into their operations, and enjoy the full benefit from it.
Following on from this, once an organisation head has committed to ERP implementation and is inspiring a culture change throughout the business, it is vital for leaders to persevere and be consistent when adapting to a new system. Even with the most user-friendly small business software out there – and we pride ourselves that ours is the best you’re going to get – there will be times when you’re new to it and can’t get your head round some of the aspects of how it works. Don’t give up. Don’t revert back to the paper systems that you know. Ask for help and keep going. It will work.
Another very important point when it comes to instigating a culture change in an organisation, is to make all employees aware of the full picture as to how the company operates – from accounts to production. It’s absolutely no good at all if John from accounts doesn’t understand what Sarah in production needs to do her job well. If company leaders to ensure that everyone fully comprehends all aspects of the business, then the move to a new ERP system will be much more of a success. For example, when an estimator compiles a job costing, with that little bit more information readily to hand thanks to the new fully integrated ERP software, that can now mean that the production department has, in their turn, a bit more of a streamlined operation when the process reaches their team.
The fact is, that when it comes down to it, a 21st century company just cannot afford to operate in the same way as they did during the last century, or even – such is the current rate of technological change – at the start of this one. Often we find that second generation business owners are much more receptive to implementing a change in ERP system, because they have grown up with exciting developments in technology and communication in a way that the previous generation simply have not. But it is not just about change for change’s sake – the new kinds of software out there, whether they are for enterprise resource planning or production management software – will mean that any SME operating in the current market will be able to keep going. It’s as simple as that.
If any more proof were needed that the world has changed irrevocably and there is just no place for paper-based inventory and accounting systems, let’s take the world of production. A component for a machine is now cut by lasers, taking around 30 seconds and costing about £1.50 to produce. Thirty years ago, the same result would have taken about an hour, and cost double, or even treble, to produce.
If companies can see exciting changes such as this in the workplace, then they should also see – and this is particularly true of some of the smaller manufacturing companies – that paper-based enterprise resource planning should be put where it belongs: in the bin.