Are your ERP users properly trained?

In 1982 there was a book published by the famous Oliver Wight organisation. It was titled ‘MRP II’ and provided an update on the uptake on the then recently extended logic to MRP systems. The sub-title of the book was ‘Unlocking America’s Productivity Potential’.

There is nothing wrong with the book but there is something wrong with business…

One of the key issues raised in the book, nearly forty years ago, was around training. The book joked that no one complained that they had received too much training. This is something we see with other manufacturers that are struggling with their MRP / ERP system. Staff only know one piece of the jigsaw puzzle and don’t appreciate how the whole thing fits together.

Giles once saw a business that was struggling with their order management process and found that they had over ten ways that they could process a sales order. At least half of them were incomplete methods but their ERP system was so complicated that this situation was possible. Nothing was documented in terms of the single best way to complete the task and over years the ‘blind had led the blind’.

Their mess was easy enough to rectify but it does bring us to an important point. Why does ERP have to be so complicated? The short answer is ‘it doesn’t’ and that is why we developed Fraction. We wanted to provide an alternative ERP system for the masses that didn’t require extensive (and expensive) training courses that wouldn’t be remembered the following day. We required our own system at the time too, so we decided to build our own.

So, what are the lessons here?

  1. If you have a complex ERP system, with multiple options to complete a task, choose one best way and train everyone in that method.
  2. Don’t neglect training of your staff with regards to your ERP system. Skills matrices aren’t just for the shop floor!
  3. Ensure that your housekeeping routines are robust so that training deficiencies are picked up regularly and don’t compromise the quality of the data in your ERP system.

 

And finally,


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