Wishing For a New ERP Software System? The Top 7 Things You Can Do Now.
Updated: Nov 28, 2022
If your business software is ten years old or older, you should consider upgrading or replacing it. It may not be the right time to consider upgrading or replacing your business software due to budget, internal resources, or workload. However, there are many things that you can start working on today with what you already have in place, or can quickly obtain, to create the journey with immediate results.
An ERP project can take 6-12 months from the initial vendor search to the actual go-live. Therefore, it is never too early to start cleaning up what you already have and planning for a new ERP business software deployment. In addition, implementing a new ERP system requires tremendous effort for the company. Below are some things you can do to begin preparations for an eventual migration to a new ERP business software system.
1. Business Process Assessment (BPA)
Searching for a new or replacement Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) business software system is time-consuming and daunting. One of the best ways to start is to use the services of an independent ERP software consultant who will perform a Business Process Assessment (BPA). The consultant will conduct a discovery interview with the stakeholders in all operational areas of your business and uncover needs, requirements, inefficiencies, and opportunities. Once the company's requirements have been established for present and future needs, a shortlist of qualified ERP software vendors is created, demos scheduled, and contracts awarded. The consultant will stay engaged with the customer throughout the implementation and go-live journey.
2. Information Technology (IT) Assessment
How is your Information Technology (IT)? If you are up to date on the hardware side of things, not much work may need to be done here. However, if your hardware is 5-8 years old or older, you will want to consider upgrading. Many companies have spent time and money upgrading their ERP business software and neglecting the hardware, only to be disappointed with the performance. You will also want to think about deployment, on-premises, or cloud-hosted.
Areas to consider:
Printers (desktop and muti-function)
Backup & Restore
3. Document Management
How are you currently handling storage for your business documents? Many companies are still using the old Explorer folder and file strategy. Other companies are still using physical file cabinets. A better solution you can use right away is a cloud-based Document Management System ((DMS). Documents such as vendor invoices, customer invoices, HR, and many others are stored in the cloud and indexed for easy retrieval on any device. In addition, cloud-based document management systems are pretty ERP software agnostic, which means that your document management system will integrate whichever ERP system you choose.
With minimal upfront cost, it is possible to integrate these systems with what you are using now and continue to use them down the road. Common starting points are importing supplier invoices directly into your current A/P systems, purchase orders, packing slips, customer invoices, etc.
4. Workflow Management
If you are using an older system, you may not be familiar with workflow management. Workflows are pre-defined steps that will occur for any business process. For example, entering a supplier invoice involves a series of actions before a payment can be issued. A workflow is created for this task so that it is repeated the same way every time. In addition, there may be approvals for specific dollar amounts or other signoffs required by quality and purchasing departments. Document Management Systems as mentioned above, typically have a workflow management solution. Using the two together can breathe new life into your existing ERP system.
5. Inventory Management
Examine how you currently manage your inventory and how you would like to be doing it in the future. For example, do you have stock levels for reordering, safety stock, min/max, and ABC codes? Calculating and entering these values will be time well spent on your existing system and invaluable for your new system.
6. Warehouse Organization
How well is your warehouse organized? If you are contemplating a new ERP system with handheld scanners and barcoding, you will undoubtedly want to add a Warehouse Management System (WMS). To use a WMS efficiently, you want to have an organized and well-labeled warehouse.
Areas that you can start working on immediately to become "WMS Ready" are;
A CAD layout of your warehouse.
Racking & bin locations are already defined.
Barcoded bin location labels.
Aisle and directional signage.
Barcoded Inventory labeling.
7. Data Standardization & Cleanup
You may have noticed in your current system that the data in your system has become cluttered and disorganized through the years. This often happens through employee turnover or just simply inconsistent user input. Creating a data standardization list for all fields in your database is a good idea. For example, do we use UPPER CASE, lower case, or Proper Case? Are users entering unsupported characters or symbols into your current system? Creating a data standardization document will dictate how data is entered into your system. This becomes extremely important for importing your data into a new design and how your reporting output will look.
Migrating to a new ERP system requires significant company resources and involvement. While it is hardly ever "the right time," looking at your current situation will save you a lot of time and money. We help companies prepare for implementing new ERP business software systems by acting as project champions on your behalf. Contact us for further information.
Roger Pujol is a business improvement consultant and founder of Champion Business Solutions, LLC. He speaks and writes about encounters helping small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) improve their business operations.
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