If you're in the market for ERP software, you've almost certainly heard the spiel from multiple software vendors by now. ERP promises to accomplish a whole host of objectives for its users, including the ability to observe and manage supply chain and construction behavior with the greater good organization. The end goal is always lowering costs and mounting proceeds throughout the business. Of course, this kind of broad statements sound nice on the sales brochure but are going to largely mean nothing when it comes to the nitty-gritty reality of an ERP implementation. Vague hopes and rosy-sounding projections won't fly when it comes time to convince your C-Suite that you need ERP or to give a good reason for the investment when you’ve got to present hard data after implementation.
No, when it comes to setting ERP project goals for your upcoming implementation, you’re going to need measurable, specific and achievable goals, including Key Performance Indicators that can provide hard confirmation on the benefits of an ERP system. What do you want your business to look like at the end of completion? How will the ERP help you to reach those goals? What part will the project team play in the progress? These are all questions that need to go into the goal-setting process, if at all possible before you smooth pick your software vendor you're disappearing to need to know what you're looking for after all. Read on for the kind of ERP project goals you be supposed to be setting at your implementation!
It should go without saying that a specific project timeline is a foundation upon which the rest of your ERP project goals should be built. Deadlines should be set and compulsory as much as possible; the ‘vague’ ballpark figures will allow employees to procrastinate and dodge responsibility for their specific tasks, meaning your accomplishment goes off the rails before it even gets organization appropriately.
Additionally, because the lifetime of an ERP project should be significant, there also needs to be a long-term, more generalized set of objectives built into your timeline. Look 5, 10 years down the line and map out what your enterprise software system will look like. Are you making room in budgets and calendars for upgrades? Accounting For significant growth in business? While your focus should rightly remain on a successful implementation and post go-live period, it’s dangerous to ignore the long term implications of your new software. In the short term, you should be segmenting your project calendar through deliverables the next step of a setting the right ERP project goals.
Deliverables are the documents that will outline every step along the way and should be the backbone of your ERP calendar. Deliverables will cover the entire range of your implementation, including the project plan, training strategy and a thorough documentation of all of your business processes. These documents will be central to your organization’s ability to smoothly implement ERP, as they not only outline the goals you need to meet at each deadline but how those goals will be met. Deliverables are your roadmap, and they should be the small goals you place along the way to go-live that tracks your progress and keep the project team motivated.
Cost reduction is one of the main reasons ERP software was first built and why it still remains so prevalent in the enterprise world. ERP devised specifically for manufacturing is uniquely accommodating to lean principles that seek to produce the product only in line with demand, thereby cutting inventory costs. Before implementation, your project team should conduct a thorough analysis of your manufacture costs across the board, and then match that with the proposed savings ERP will allow. Projected savings should exist in any area that the software will be involved in; time wasted on inefficient manufacturing processes, scheduling, inventory, financials etc. You need an estimate for cost savings because it will be the baseline of one of the most important ERP Project Goals of all, ROI.
Return on Investment (ROI) is quite rightly one of the core baselines by which ERP project success is measured. By combining your Total Cost of Operation (TCO) with the money saved by the implementation, you can begin mapping out your goal ROI for the ERP. The projected ROI decision needs to be made at the beginning of your implementation otherwise, how will you justify the investment to executives and stakeholder? From the first step of the project to the last, that projected figure should be kept in your mind with every decision made on the project. If a certain move or software customization isn’t a necessity and will be making that ROI harder to reach in the long run, don’t go for it.
Along with the long-term cost estimation of the ERP system itself, project teams need to think about how the ERP software will slot into the broad future of the organization. No ERP project can be a silver bullet that magically comes into a company and fixes all of its problems or supports every single business process. Some companies find that the best fitting enterprise software systems are built from a patchwork of ‘best of breed’ systems from different vendors, while others spring for the ease of simply running one monolithic system. If you are going to go down the best of breed route or plan on integrating any other software with your ERP (be it CRM, marketing automation or e-commerce software), you need to build these objectives into your plan. Obviously, you don’t need complex details for every single project you can envision in the company’s future, but you do need to consider long-term business growth and objectives when you are setting ERP project goals. They will be critical when it comes time to select your software and whether it will be amenable to your ambitions.
Yes, ERP success needs to be measured on KPI’s and hard numbers to justify its cost, but it should be equally judged against its true functionality will it make your employee’s lives easier in the long run? It’s crucial that you work closely with every potential ERP end user in your company to understand their day to day tasks and how to align your new software to help streamline those tasks. What specific processes will your ERP be intended to support? Go through the modules you are implementing, where they will be implemented and what each workflow will look like once the system has been put in place. User adoption needs to be a priority when it comes to your ERP project goals; if no one uses the system to input information or hold their work, it is just an empty piece of software. positively not worth the significant investment you made in it.