To be frank, the majority of ERP implementations are embarked upon to increase organizational profitability. Though the phrasing may vary, “increased efficiency,” “streamlined processes,” “improved integration” and, really, most any other benefit a company might want out of an ERP system all boils down to one key goal: make more money. And the best way to make more money? Grow your customer base by trumping your competitors. So how can an organization leverage its ERP software to do just that?
- Buy and implement the ERP system that’s right for the company – not necessarily what the competition is using. Organizations often believe that if they implement the same ERP software that the leaders in their industry use, they will even out the playing field and somehow increase competitive edge. Not the case. An organization that follows this line of thinking risks ending up with software that’s a poor fit and losing time, money and even market share trying to right this wrong. Pick a software based on your company’s wants and requirements and forget about what the “Jones” are doing.
- Only use “out of the box” ERP functionalities in areas that don’t provide competitive advantage. It’s tempting to buy into an ERP vendor’s sales talk about all the benefits of the system’s canned functionality. But no matter how smoothly the vendors demonstrate, I’m here to assure you that implementing without customization will not cause liquid gold to run from the faucet and one hundred dollar bills to spit out of the fax machine. While canned functionality can bring operational efficiency (and profit), it can only do that in areas that do not already bring the company competitive advantage. If your organization has figured out a way to make sure every widget comes off the line 25 minutes before your competitor’s widgets do, then make the software fit that process – not the other way around, regardless of what your vendor tells you.
- Stop pretending that your people don’t have anything to do with your competitive advantage. Companies that fail to invest in the organizational change management required to make sure their employees are aligned around the ERP implementation goals, understand the benefits of the system and want to work to capitalize on those benefits will cede both existing and desired competitive advantages. Your people aren’t going to like the system, they’re not going to use the system in the right way and they’re surely not going to give a care if the system makes the company money or not unless the organization makes it make sense to them. Don’t make the mistake of thinking change management isn’t on the “critical path” – rest assured that it is.
The best way to gain competitive advantage from ERP software is simple: pick the right one and implement it the right way. But many companies don’t know how to accomplish either of those tasks, which means they’ll never get the return they want from an ERP system. This is where third-party, independent ERP consulting firms like Panorama come into play. By guiding organizations through software selection, implementation and organizational change management, we are able to ensure our clients realize the benefits they want from an ERP system. And, as I’ve already stated, benefits is just a code word for cold hard cash.
Contact us today to learn more about how Panorama can help your organization get the advantages it wants from a new or existing ERP system.