The U.S. weight-loss industry totals $20 billion in annual revenue. To shed pounds, people purchase ab crunchers, Bowflexes, and the oh-so-ingenious shake weights. But over time, exercise machines collect dust, clutter yard sales, and consume Craigslist ads.
Many are dumbfounded when they don’t lose their desired weight, saying, “But I bought a Bowflex!?”
Unfortunately, we can’t automate everything. Simply purchasing equipment is not enough. Behavioral changes are needed to achieve desired goals.
We have seen executives fall victim to a similar conviction that purchasing an expensive ERP system will miraculously solve their company’s problems. In hindsight, they realized the company’s processes and behaviors were the root cause of the issues. Processes should have been addressed before committing to an expensive purchase. To avoid purchasing a tool without realizing improvement, executives must first confirm a system is necessary to accomplish desired goals.
When a system is needed, a successful team will not put sole emphasis on technology but will consider processes and people along with the new system. The team takes the time to identify trouble spots, improve routines, and evaluate metrics.
Identify Areas for Improvement
One of the first things a trainer asks is to identify trouble spots, or areas to improve. Not until goals are identified can the trainer begin to provide recommended steps.
A former oilfield services client blamed their lengthy month-end close on their outdated ERP system. However, we quickly found the culprit to be the numerous manual journal entries their accounting team processed to reconcile operational errors occurring in the field. When the company purchased the new system and did not teach new behaviors, all they gained was a system just as broken as the old one. Once the root cause was identified and operations personnel were trained on new processes, the manual adjustments diminished and financial close was reduced by ten days.
Before investing millions in an ERP system, evaluate whether the system is necessary. A system will not fix issues in a vacuum. Processes need to be fixed first.
Once trainers identify trouble spots and establish associated goals, a strategy can be executed to achieve desired results. Trainees start a workout regime that works best for them and change old eating habits accordingly. In business, old routines have to change to support process and technology improvements.
An oilfield services company growing more than 25% per year performed several system implementations concurrently to support their explosive growth. In the midst of system implementations, the company began experiencing relatively high turnover. The turnover was most likely a result of placing new burdens on already strained resources.
Employees who stayed latched on to the old systems, even though technical support was slowly withdrawn as the systems were decommissioned. They trusted the old systems’ data and felt comfortable with the familiar interface.
To combat the high turnover and create a transition from the old to new ways of working, executives allocated resources to spend the extra time documenting and communicating the new processes. Employees immersed themselves in training classes with assigned homework and follow-up refresher courses. Strong executive sponsorship ensured employees had the support needed to balance both their day-to-day tasks and end-user training.
With effective change management incorporated, employees adjusted their routines to mesh with the new system and adapted their behaviors to the changing business environment. Once employees embraced the process changes that came along with the new system, their jobs became less painful and turnover decreased. In addition, they had documented processes which could be easily transferred to new employees.
Robust change management and standardized process documentation are essential to unlocking the full potential of a new system and changing behavior.
One of the most essential elements to any successful workout plan is continuously benchmarking success. Personal trainers help clients evaluate metrics, such as pounds lost and body mass index, and adjust routines based on progress reflected in the metrics. Both trainers and trainees are held accountable for reaching their goals and working together to cross the finish line.
Measuring the success of a systems implementation is similarly important. Keep realistic goals in mind and continually benchmark progress against those goals.
Distinguish the critical processes that must be improved to deem the implementation a success and monitor the status of those critical processes to ensure improvements are realized.
One of our former clients, the CEO of a midstream pipeline company, defined one of his critical success factors as achieving an efficient and effective financial reporting process. The measures of success were days to close the financial books and prior period adjustments.
During a fast-paced ERP implementation, his team became overloaded implementing more than just the general ledger and accounts payable modules. He saw that the timelines were slipping. Immediately, the CEO shifted his employees’ focus back to the core financial reporting goals they had established at the beginning of the project.
Implementing general ledger and payables became the priority, while the other modules were delayed until Phase II of the implementation. Keeping a realistic perspective on personnel capacity and making adjustments along the way were crucial components of success.
Trenegy can’t shrink waist lines, but we can help organizations implement changes with newly designed processes and systems. We help companies shed days off close, eliminate the pain and frustration of validating report data, and revitalize the routines that run their business. We help companies go beyond simply buying a new system. We help them incorporate the system into an improved way of doing business.
When clients target their trouble spots, improve their processes, and evaluate their results, they don’t just buy a system. They own it.