4 Training Tips for Manufacturing ERP Success

Training is one of the more important parts of any manufacturing ERP implementation project and the importance is often overlooked. Whether your business makes to stock or to order, your users should have extensive, role-based training. Discrete and process manufacturers may select the best possible system for their business, but if the users can’t enter data and record transactions the money invested in your manufacturing ERP can be seen swirling down the drain.

1. Show Users That Manufacturing ERP Training Is a Priority

Let all the users know that training is a priority and then walk the talk. Use company time for training. Sally is a chemistry technician in a lab. Jose is a welder. Marcus is a buyer. None of them should be expected to use their own time for training. Company time shows you value training on a par with production and sales and other functions necessary for the business. Go beyond classroom training and find ways to integrate informal training as often as possible.

2. ERP Training Should be Company-Wide

You have already defined your key ERP users and these individuals should have received extensive training during your ERP testing phase. Continue this foundation of training with engineers and accountants, shop floor personnel and external sales people. Some will use your manufacturing ERP every day and others will only use the system from time to time, but all are part of the enterprise. Treat everyone equally and your manufacturing ERP training program will be a success.

Today’s manufacturing ERP systems all have powerful ad hoc query tools and the ability to build dashboards for decision support. Decisions must be made at all levels and your manufacturing ERP can help by leading users toward the desired decisions and actions. Don’t hide the candy. Let users have access to those advanced tools and encourage use through comprehensive training . Your business is making and selling products. If you restrict ERP use to the IT department, many will lose the chance to help the whole business produce more for less.

3. Use Varied Training Techniques

Our manufacturing businesses are diverse and the individuals we employ are even more so. We all have our own preferred methods for learning. Your quality engineer might read, a planner might see, and a lathe operator might need to touch; recognize each style and train so the training sticks. Don’t limit the training to classroom sessions. Create practical training processes which get users up close and personal with your manufaturing ERP.

It is also vital to monitor who was trained and on what. Track their understanding with exams and provide remedial training if needed. Keep the training up to date as people change job roles and as new people join the organization. Offer refresher training after some time goes by and before people begin to fall into bad habits.

4. Nurture Manufacturing ERP Training Champions

You will find some employees pick up training well and become more engaged in the ERP system as a result. Use them as informal models of success. Offer secondary training to those who want to go beyond the basic level. These individuals are you training champions and should be the first to utilize the advanced operations in your manufacturing ERP such as workflow or real-time data analysis. Once these process become established, your champions can bring in other members of their team and demonstrate the value of these advanced features.

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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

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