If you’ve decided to implement ERP system, how do you fit it into the work schedule?
If you are thinking about adding ERP software for the first time or upgrading what you have, you may be thinking about when the best time might be to make this change. It is important to consider the timing, since this implementation will affect everyone in the organization. As we come to the end of another calendar year, this may seem like an appropriate time to make that change. Let’s take a look at some of the factors to consider when moving to a new system.
Best Time to Implement an ERP System
Is the beginning of a new year the best time?
Many people think that this would be the natural time for a major undertaking such as ERP system implementation. But you need to think through various opposing dynamics:
- Is your tax year the same as the calendar year? If so, that is a valid reason to consider making the change now. It’s a natural fit with changes for a new business cycle and employees tend to expect and accept changes at the beginning of a new year.
- The downside is that the end of the year is usually a very busy time for the very people that will be most involved in implementing a new ERP system. Your sales staff is trying to make end of the year quotas, finance has end of the year reporting, manufacturing is doing a change-over and everyone’s wanting to take some extra time off for the holidays.
What are some other options?
If you decide the beginning of the year is not the best time to implement an ERP system for your company, what times might be better?
- What about mid-year or at the beginning of a quarter? The benefit here is that this is another beginning period during the year, but might not be as busy as the end of the calendar or fiscal year. It is also a fixed period that may help everyone get their part done in the implementation, as opposed to a random date that can be pushed back.
- Do you have a naturally slow time in your business cycle? This would be the optimal time to implement the changeover. More employees can then focus on the implementation and training and make for a smoother transition. As issues or inefficiencies come up, they can be handled immediately, making for a better system that everyone will buy into sooner as they see optimum benefits.
What additional factors should we consider?
If you don’t have any naturally slow times in your business year, keep in mind some of the following items:
- Have you had any major personnel changes recently? Is a key player or players in the implementation process new to your organization? Maybe you need to wait six months to a year before making the change so that key individuals understand both their role in the organization and their role in making the process change.
- Will the new ERP system affect several different offices in your organization? Consider starting the implementation in one of the smaller offices to work out any issues before rolling it out to all the offices. That way any problems affect the smallest number of people before being solved.
- If you don’t have a slower time of year, consider getting some kind of outside help for the implementation. That could be a consultant to help you work through the process or extra staff while you make the transition. Don’t let this temporary switch slow down your primary business while you strive to make your business better for the long term.
- When you get to the point that your decision-making staff can’t do their job because their information is too old or erroneous, your inventory levels are way off or your financial forecasts are always unacceptably off the mark, you shouldn’t wait any longer to plan the perfect implementation time. Just start as soon as possible.
It’s hard to know the best time to implement a new ERP system. Try to pick the best time for your company, given the knowledge you have of your business cycle. If you know you could benefit from some help, consider working with a consultant, like the ERP professionals at TGO Consulting, who specialize in business process improvement. The smoother your transition, the sooner you can reap the financial rewards of a more efficient and productive organization.
Melanie Valenzuela has been writing about business topics for several years and is currently working on behalf of the ERP consultants at TGO Consulting. When not writing, she can be found working on her world perspective through travel or challenging her heart rate through tennis, running or attending a Kansas City Royals baseball game. You can find her on LinkedIn.