4 Steps to Achieving a Successful ERP Testing Phase

Implementing an ERP system is a long, expensive, and complex series of tasks. Testing is one of the more important tasks, but is probably the least fun to carry out and is, almost certainly, under appreciated.

What is the goal of ERP testing? Try to break the entire system – hardware, software, and processes. If nothing breaks, that only means you didn’t test hard enough. You know something you do will not be easy to integrate into the ERP system. Isn’t it a lot better to find out about it now in a test mode rather than later when real money is in play?

Simple ERP Testing

Start out with simple ERP testing on single-process tests. Add a new customer record. Create and open a new production job. Record some production time toward a job. Receive a payment from a customer. One of the subtle side goals of testing is training and the key users you have lined up for testing need to start with baby steps. Set up an issue log. Document in that log anything, however small or large, that might interfere with go-live. There will be issues logged even with these baby steps. Some will be resolved by remedial training and running the test again. Others will point toward real issues.

Record Every Step

Record every step during ERP testing. Write down the ID numbers, order numbers, part numbers and anything related to the test. Note what the system settings were when the test was run. To be certain any issues are resolved, you need to run the test again with exactly the same setup. You might also find on a later test that there is a problem with the customer payment that worked this time. Having a record of the test that worked will be an important benchmark.

Complex ERP Testing

Move toward more complex ERP testing on single-process steps. Instead of a customer shipment, try to test a customer return with and without a credit issued. Try another test where you correct the time against a production job and change that time to another operation.

Order to Cash Testing

Final testing is often called “Order to cash” tests. Enter a new customer order. Buy materials for the job. Open a production job, record time and charge materials to the job. Ship the order out, print a packing list and all necessary certifications for the shipment. Bill the customer and process their payment. Pay the suppliers whom you bought materials from. Record all the results in the books and complete a month-end accounting cycle and see your profit for this one order.

ERP testing may not be a laugh-per-minute task, but you can take solace in the fact that when you do break the system, you can watch your IT people pull their hair out trying to fix it.

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Tom Miller

About the author…

Tom completed implementations of Epicor, SAP, QAD, and Micro MRP. He works as a logistics and supply chain manager and he always looks for processes to improve. He lives near San Francisco Bay in California and can be found on the water in his kayak or on the road riding his motorcycle. Contact Tom at customerteam@erpfocus.com.

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Tom Miller