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What happens when your organization’s ERP implementation results in little to no value? The new ERP was supposed to streamline processes and make operations more efficient, but it seems people take longer to perform their day-to-day activities. Complaints abound. Perhaps change management was neglected and employees are reverting to old habits. Maybe there was a lack of clarity around the purpose of the system in the first place.

Living with a poorly implemented ERP system can seem like a recurring nightmare. But this kind of setback isn’t the end of the road. Below are some practical, actionable steps to recover from a poor ERP implementation.

1. Re-involve the Right People

A well-rounded ERP recovery team is vital for organizational support and project success. Recovering from a poorly implemented system requires team members who are committed, have the right skills, have a strong future state vision, and will work through process and systems configuration issues to ensure the company can save its investment.

Subject matter experts (SMEs), such as the assistant controller or land manager, are also critical decision makers. They know where the business is going and can provide insight to ensure the system will meet future needs. Their knowledge of projected growth, potential acquisitions, and more is invaluable. It’s important for them to be aware as critical decisions are made throughout the project.

2. Know Your Objectives

A flawed ERP implementation can often be traced back to misalignment with business objectives. The first task is to answer: What’s the specific purpose of the ERP? An effective ERP system should address organizational objectives. If the system isn’t providing the expected benefits, there’s a chance that it’s not correctly aligned with the vision.

Return to the drawing board and confirm what you want to achieve with the ERP system. Is the aim to increase operational efficiency? To improve real-time data access and reporting? Once this vision is clear, it can serve as the compass for recovery.

This is where the process improvement vision comes into play to understand specific business requirements more easily. Seek to understand current processes and determine how the ERP will make them more efficient.

Remember, specifics are important. General ideas are subject to uncertainty.

3. Conduct a Gap Analysis

What’s standing in between your organization and ERP success? Identify where current processes fall short, what difficulties your employees face, and any other gaps. For example, if employees aren’t utilizing the ERP, perhaps change management was overlooked. Or if Finance needs real-time access to certain data but the ERP doesn’t provide it, that’s a critical gap to fill.

The gap analysis will help highlight where the ERP is failing to meet the organization’s needs. Gaps may vary in complexity and significance, ranging from minor things that would improve convenience to major issues hindering operations.

4. Develop an Improvement Roadmap

Convert the insight from the gap analysis into an actionable roadmap. This involves:

  • Prioritizing gaps: What’s most important? What should be addressed before anything else?
  • Defining clear actions: For each gap, a corresponding action should address the issue. These actions could involve reconfiguring the system, providing training to users, reengineering business processes, etc.
  • Assigning responsibility: Which person or team will complete each action? Use a RACI to ensure everyone understands who is responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed regarding each task.
  • Setting a timeline: Your roadmap should not only state what needs to be done but also by when. A timeline creates a sense of urgency and helps track progress.

5. Improve Training

Your team needs to understand why the changes are being made and how they will benefit from them. Always make sure they understand the “what’s in it for me” component. Also, make sure they understand the challenges they will face by changing how they perform their day-to-day activities. Above all, be truthful. Change is hard. Acknowledge that.

Provide hands-on training to employees to drive adoption. Instead of generalized training, make it role-specific. For example, if Sales needs to use the ERP system for inventory checks, focus their training on this aspect.

Throughout the training process, encourage employees to share their feedback. Their insights can help identify areas that need additional focus or improvement.

6. Review and Iterate

Post-implementation, gather feedback and look for additional improvement opportunities. This might involve conducting regular review meetings and encouraging open communication about ongoing issues. Use analytics provided by the ERP to monitor improvements in business processes and efficiency. Remember, this is an ongoing process.

At Trenegy, we help organizations recover from poorly implemented ERP solutions to make them more efficient and effective in the long-term. To learn more, email info@trenegy.com.

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