Common Barriers to Enterprise Resource Planning Success

There may be occasional barriers to successful ERP implementation for businesses. Here, we analyse what these barriers are and how to avoid them.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is an umbrella term, defining a suite of software packages which enhance the operational efficiency of business processes. ERP solutions help business owners achieve their goals in a more seamless, strategic and streamlined way. Although enterprise resource planning is an effective method of improving operational efficiency and saving on costs, there can also be barriers to its successful implementation. Here, we analyse these barriers and how to avoid them.

What Are the Common Commercial Objectives of Implementing Enterprise Resource Planning Software?

Before we take a detailed look at some of the barriers to ERP success, we should first analyse the common commercial objectives for implementing enterprise resource planning software. ERP implementation can be used to achieve a range of business goals, spanning every sector from industrial to retail.

Set a Long-Term Goal of ERP Implementation

Before investing in ERP implementation services, it’s essential to understand your long-term goals. Only by having an understanding of the end goal, can you eventually evaluate the success of the ERP project.

For almost every company, the long-term goal of ERP implementation will be a positive ROI achieved either by reducing costs or increasing sales (or some combination of both). Defining this key performance indicator (KPI) from the outset will give the project focus. Do you want to increase the productivity of your staff, reduce production cost or speed up delivery times? Defining the long-term goals of an ERP project will ensure you can accurately analyse its effectiveness throughout implementation and execution.

Real-Time Data Insights for Ongoing Improvement

Many of the long-term goals of your ERP implementation will be supported by the real-time data analysis module of your chosen ERP package. For example, you may want to invest in ERP implementation to increase the productivity of your staff. To achieve this aim, you may decide to analyse staff productivity data in real-time via your centralised dashboard. This information is then used to tweak processes and provide a data-driven bedrock for ongoing improvement.

Saving Money on Specific Business Costs

Saving money on specific costs may be the long-term goal for many businesses who have invested in ERP software. With data-driven enterprise resource planning, business owners have full transparency over their supply chain and production.

ERP solutions which are designed specifically for manufacturing can harmonise your product cycle with product demand. This can help to reduce waste, as production will fall in line with demand, and your organisation can begin achieving the end goal of saving money.

Improving Efficiency

In line with reducing production and inventory management costs, ERP implementation also improves efficiency within a business. With better planning and management of resources through ERP software, processes are sped up and additional costs are trimmed. The resulting efficiency improvements may lead to significant savings later on down the line.

Improving Customer Relationships

As mentioned previously, the end-goal of ERP implementation may be to increase sales and reduce cost. By analysing customer behaviour – when customers tend to buy from you, in what quantities and the time it takes products to get to their door – ERP systems can improve customer relationships.

Using real-time data, this streamlining of customer relationships can increase brand loyalty by improving the consumer experience. The short-term steps in the long-term goal of gaining more customers may be to reduce delivery time by a certain percentage or improve the conversion of customers who regularly visit a website. ERP implementation can help you achieve this by presenting real-time data.

Common Inhibitors to the Successful Implementation of ERP Solutions

If an ERP project is implemented strategically, with clear goals defined, it can dramatically increase the operational efficiency of an organisation. However, there are also plenty of challenges that can stand in the way of successful ERP implementation.

Ill-Defined Objectives and Goals

One of the most common barriers to enterprise resource planning success is beginning with ill-defined objectives. Without clear foresight of the end goal of an ERP project, implementation may be clunky and misdirected. Getting the best out of ERP implementation requires a laser focus on the most important goals.

Without guidance from an ERP consultant, organisations may integrate too many or too few processes. Working out which of your existing processes could benefit from enterprise resource planning requires intimate knowledge of the software and its value.

Scope Creep

Continuous improvement, tweaking and expansion is a vital part of any business process. However, the constant addition and implementation of new ideas to any system or strategy can lead to scope creep. Keeping a project on time, on budget and on brief can be challenging, especially for organisations with large teams.

To combat this, split larger management teams into smaller ones and keep each arm of the organisation strictly focussed. If the scope does spiral out into a direction separate from the original brief consider creating a separate project to redefine the scope of each one.

Old Habits Die Hard

Integrating ERP into a business does require the appetite for change from an organisation. However, in many cases, old habits die hard and can be difficult to change. So, getting staff to use a new system may prove to be a challenge.

To combat this, management should be clear about the benefits of using ERP and the successful deployment of the system. Ensure that all staff are properly trained once implemented and expect initial teething issues and delays.

A Lack of Ongoing Support From ERP System Suppliers

It’s essential to properly consider your ERP system supplier. Rather than being roped into system implementation by a supplier which will leave you high and dry if any issues arise after implementation, work with ERP consultants who can provide the ongoing support and advice necessary. Having expert developers on hand to tweak, improve and expand ERP systems can allay any fears.

Making Use of All the Relevant and Available Tools

Many businesses simply don’t understand how to use all of the relevant ERP tools available to them. As such, businesses often miss excellent opportunities to comprehensively streamline their operations. ERP systems can be complicated and it’s easy to miss a functionality which could significantly benefit the business. Understanding every tool and module available will ensure end-users are getting the most out of their implementation.

Working With Enterprise Resource Planning Consultants Can Ensure You Start on the Right Track With ERP

By working with an ERP consultant during ERP implementation, you can avoid all of the various barriers to success and get the most out of your system. During a discovery and planning phase, your consultant will get an understanding of your business, the long and short-term goals you have for the organisation and how ERP implementation can help.

With expert support, you can reduce any downtime with the system through effective initial implementation and ensure that all staff are properly trained. An ERP consultant can help refocus the project if scope creep begins to occur and provide comprehensive guidance on the complete range of tools available.

By working with an ERP consultant at the outset, any of the issues which can create barriers to success are tackled immediately and implementation can begin with the right foot forward.

ICS Are Expert Consultants, Helping You to Integrate ERP Solutions for Your Business Effectively

At Industry Consulting Service (ICS), we’re a recognised leader in ERP implementation services; working specifically with Microsoft Dynamics AX and D365FO systems. As Dynamics consultants, we help enterprises across the globe with a comprehensive range of services. From development to implementation and consultation, we can help ensure that your ERP implementation is seamless and effective. We work with both end-users and other Microsoft partners from around the world.

Our Microsoft-certified developers are experts in their field. As such, we can help with any shape or size ERP project. Working with you to understand your specific needs, we will plan and implement the perfect EPR solution for your requirements. Whether you require consultation for a specific element of a Microsoft Dynamics system or an end-to-end implementation of ERP across your enterprise, we have the skills and expertise required.

If you need a team of professional Microsoft-certified professionals to hit the ground running and streamline your ERP project, choose ICS. We can take care of the technical side, while you concentrate on your customers and their requirements.

Working with a wide range of clients, we can provide expertise to improve your business today. Contact the team at ICS to learn more about implementing ERP solutions for your business today.