In the past couple of years, there has been an increased need for Automation in Business Processes. Firms across the globe have resorted to depending on software systems for automating their workflow and improving efficiency. A popular example of this is an integrated ERP system which implements all your business processes using software and technology.
ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) is a real-time system put in place to successfully combine the day to day core business functionalities and to collect, store, edit, and analyze data in order to optimize your business. It is basically a set of integrated operations that regulate and supervise all your processes like sales, purchase, inventory, staff salaries, resource allocation, management, etc. to ensure smooth workflow.
But many times, a common mistake that most companies and even ERP providers make, is to focus more on the software and technology rather than stressing on the Business Process Methodology.
While implementing an ERP project, it is first important to understand the systems in place in your company and study and inspect every individual process flow to determine what changes need to be made to optimize the workflow.
Firstly, it is important to keenly assess your work system to outline the core business processes. This includes studying the documents to find out the processes most benefitting the business as well as the volume of work. This determines which processes need to be a part of the ERP and also gives an idea of the software and architecture required to support the business.
Once that is done, it is time to design your own ERP system customized to the needs of your business. This involves doing a gap analysis which tells you the areas where your company is lagging and needs to be improved. The ERP thus designed must cover these gaps in the existing system and find a way to maximize the potential profits that the firm is capable of.
It is then necessary to delineate the company’s requirements and map those into the ERP. Once this is done, you can finally start implementing the ERP system.
Here’s looking at a few key points to keep in mind while implementing an ERP.
Business process v/s software requirements – Find ERP providers who focus on your core business processes and work on optimizing the existing workflow rather than simply concentrating on the software or technology required in the ERP.
As-is v/s To-be – It is imperative that you not just consider the existing(As-is) process workflows while designing your ERP, but also the future(To-be) business model and processes that will be required to boost the operations of the firm.
Six Sigma Approach – This data-driven approach to measure, analyze, improve and control your work processes is indeed valuable while implementing an ERP. This six-step methodology helps analyze and model your system to get the best out of it and gives you a competitive edge.
Help employees adapt to a new environment – It is necessary to acquaint your staff with the upcoming changes even before the ERP is implemented. This can be done by automating simple processes; for example, taking orders only via emails. Little steps like these will help them get used to automated systems and adapt to the ERP.
Prepare organization to roll changes – Keep in mind that the organization should indeed be ready before you start rolling out the ERP. This means that right from the shareholders to the investors to the employees must be prepared to do their part for a successful implementation.
ERP systems are a tremendous aid to enhance a company’s performance. However, you should first focus on the Business Process Management before implementing the ERP. Else, you’ll be left with an automated system that only makes the existing inefficient processes faster, thus causing failures and losses.