How to onboard an ERP consultant successfully

Your ERP project is up and and running!  You chose a consultant to help coordinate the project and you will depend on that person’s expertise to achieve the results you want from your ERP system. What actions can you take to integrate your ERP consultant with the rest of your team?

Introduce your ERP consultant to your team

Be sure the ERP consultant gets to know your team and all of them get to know your consultant. Some team members probably met the consultant during the interview sessions but none knows the consultant well yet. These meetings should be a mix of one-on-one, group meetings, and both formal and informal get togethers. Develop a questionnaire to capture the first impressions both good and not so good.  Work hard to resolve any issues that show up, as the consultant will be a part of the team for quite a while.

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Introduce your ERP consultant to the executive management group

Much like meeting the team members but possibly a little more vertically on the company organization chart, we want all parties to know each other and the strengths and weaknesses each has. The consultant should understand what each senior manager expects from the project.  The consultant should expect here to set properly managers’ expectations. The consultant should have, through experience, a better understanding and we would not want some manager expecting that implementing an ERP will immediately solve every problem.

Learn what makes your ERP consultant tick

Does the consultant react better to a carrot or to a stick?  Have you found or learned of any issues that need to be watched concerning this person? What really motivates the consultant to do excellent work and to build the best possible team toward your ERP implementation?  

We all have individual styles, including new ERP consultants.  Be sure to look beyond the interviews and possible responses that said what you wanted to hear. You are going to need a lot from the consultant and much will require dealing with the person who is and not necessarily the persona.

Show your ERP consultant key processes and workflows

These sessions will be with functional groups and leaders. One objective is to understand how work is done and why a particular method is used. At the same time, share with the consultant plans or considerations to change those methods. Some methods might already need to be changed.  Other changes might allow better use of the new ERP. Get feedback from the consultant here and that person has good experience in other organizations and their ERP systems. The consultant will also set expectations during these meetings for each functional department.

Start on these on boarding sessions immediately and plan to complete the process within a couple of weeks. Your consultant should already know their way around a business but does need to learn your business culture and style. You hired the consultant to implement your ERP so the sooner begun, the sooner completed.

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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