Many of our clients ask us how ERP enables or integrates with six sigma, lean manufacturing, and other business transformation projects. It’s a great question and something certainly worth considering while beginning the ERP software selection and ERP implementation process. There are a number of things to consider when considering a new ERP system, including a number of ways to combine your ERP initiative with your six sigma, lean manufacturing, or other business transformation projects.
Considerations for Combining ERP Projects With Six Sigma Projects
- Reduce waste. When evaluating a new ERP system, it is important to identify opportunities to improve your business processes. “Paving the cowpaths” by simply automating the way you’ve always done things is a huge waste of your ERP investment. ERP should be leveraged as a way to improve business processes, reduce redundancies and waste, and improve overall performance.
- Measure, measure, measure. It is often said that you can’t achieve what you don’t measure, and it’s true. It is important to measure your current baseline operational performance and establish post-go-live ERP performance measures. This step is the key to an effective ERP benefits realization program.
- Manage change well. Whether you’re talking about implementing a new system, changing business processes, and/or reducing waste, it’s important not to leave employees within your organization behind. They need to be engaged in the change process and well-informed on how all the business and technology changes will affect them. As is true for any effective ERP organizational change management plan, employees need more than simple system training. They also need to understand how their business processes have changed, what steps in the process have been eliminated, and what the key performance indicators are.
- Don’t lost sight of why you’re implementing an ERP system. If ERP is part of a larger Six Sigma or Lean Manufacturing initiative, it’s imperative that the lean mindset begins at software selection, continues through ERP implementation, and doesn’t stop until well after go-live.
ERP can be an outstanding enabler of Six Sigma and other business initiatives. However, it is important not to forget the four steps above in order to make it happen.