Five common errors to avoid with your ERP system implementation

ERP system implementation - it's something that can really make or break the effectiveness of your manufacturing business. The resulting performance you experience from your ERP system makes all the difference when it comes to delivering on time to your customers in an organised and controlled manner. 

Let me share with you some of the common errors we see when businesses are going through an ERP system implementation that hopefully you can avoid or correct.

Not understanding the capacity of your business

If you don't set up the capacity of your manufacturing workcentres correctly then you will not be able to produce a reliable plan. Often called the 'work to list', this plan needs to know how much work you have loaded in your business, what workcentres are required and how much capacity your workcentres can cope with.

The key word I am going to use here is 'utilisation'. It is unlikely that if you have a resource that is available for a full 8 hour shift it really will be available for 100% of that time. Operator maintenance checks, team meetings, 5S and other daily events will erode this availability. I should stress that I am not against these activities (they improve overall performance) but that you need to be realistic about your available capacity. If you reflect reality in your ERP system then you have a good chance of producing a manufacturing schedule that will help you to deliver on time without blood, sweat and tears.

Using inaccurate data in your manufacturing routes

Following on from the previous point, if your manufacturing routes don't accurately reflect the times you need to produce your products your production schedules will be useless. If you are embracing continuous improvement then you will most likely be improving your setup times and cycle times.

This information needs to be fed back into your routes so that your future order planning will be effective. Just making the improvement will lead to 'dirty data' being used in your system and degrade your ERP system implementation.

Keep your routes up to date at all times.

Not defining the 'one best way' for using the system

As with all software systems there are often numerous ways to carry out different tasks. ERP systems are no different and different users will identify their preferences to perform certain tasks. Like any other process, having 'one best way' to carry out an operation can bring many benefits.

Generally speaking, capturing the most effective and efficient method to carry out a task improves quality, safety and productivity. In an ERP system this often means that data processing takes the least amount of time and that the quality of the data is the best it can be. Too many times we have seen missing data and incomplete information. Over time this pool of bad data leads to poor decision making and ultimately moving away from the ERP system and back into spreadsheets.

If you care about your ERP system implementation then you'll define your 'one best way' to use it and ensure compliance with this approach. This approach also makes training new staff simpler too.

Forgetting about the need for management

An ERP system will not do everything for you, no matter how good the implementation is. Surrounding the system is the need for consistent, routine, management.

The contract review process needs to happen. That's often in the real world and led by a manager that makes / guides decision making processes.

Reviewing the data and determining the right course of action is a management task. Without this you wouldn't flex your labour levels and re-schedule orders.

What other management tasks are there? Perpetual inventory counts, continuous improvement, expediting, BoM revision, supply chain reviews etc... Implementing an ERP system is not an invitation to negate management!

Ignoring the need for housekeeping

An often overlooked task during an ERP system implementation is housekeeping. One of the less glamourous aspects of ERP, housekeeping is vital to the longevity of a system and the effectiveness of the information it can provide.

I could have mentioned this point briefly above in the management section but it is so important that I have given it its own heading! Missing out data leads to dirty data. Dirty data leads to abandonment. Housekeeping is the remedy to this scenario.

Updating order books, clearing up purchase orders, reviewing workcentre settings, changing standard product lead times and so on...

Just like servicing your car or cleaning your teeth, the benefits of a well working ERP system should outweigh the costs.

An ERP system implementation can be a time consuming and tricky undertaking. If this has been something that has put you off taking the next step (away from your spreadsheets and whiteboards) then rejoice, Fraction ERP is here. We built this system after years of frustration of fixing and dealing with inefficient overly complicated systems.

Fraction ERP is not a sledgehammer to crack a nut... to find out more just fill in the form below.

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