Three considerations you might have left out of your ERP implementation plan

Robert Burns said in 1785

The best laid schemes of Mice and Men go aft awry, And leave us nothing but grief and pain, For promised joy!

After more than 230 years, the same thing can happen with an ERP implementation. That one element in your plan can lead you to grief and pain.

1. People have day jobs

Most of the people on your implementation team still sit at their old desk and have many of the same responsibilities as last week. Any ERP implementation is hard work and takes time and commitment. When faced with a choice between writing one more purchase order or finishing the journal entry for monthly depreciation instead of studying an ERP document, you know most people will stick with what they are familiar with.

Recommended reading: ensure your ERP implementation plan is as watertight as possible using our 11 step guide to ERP implementation success.

A successful implementation plan requires commitment from the whole enterprise. The boss of that buyer needs to say ‘no, work on ERP and I’ll have someone else write that purchase order’. The accounting manager might consider hiring a temporary replacement for journal entries. The executive sponsor and the whole team has to have the organizational commitment.

2. Your team will make unnecessary assumptions

ERP implementation plans demand a lot of coordination. The whole team (including the project manager) should avoid making assumptions. Test every transaction. Make changes as needed and test again. When one group proves their process works, be sure the groups before and after test the process again. Assuming that it works on one place and probably will work everywhere is a sure path to pain. Even more importantly never assume that whatever the ERP salesperson said is true.

3. Restructuring plans

Many return on investment analyses depend on reduced cost to provide some of the return. Is that how you justified your ERP? There is nothing wrong with that justification. If, however, your ERP will achieve this by making people redundant, part of your implementation plan should cover the actual reduction in force. Leaving this out of your plan will lead to confusion and bad feeling, and can also ensure your implementation does not meet its ROI goal. Months earlier you might have found a different way to achieve your needed return.

An ERP implementation requires a balance of resources and requirements. Too much reliance on consultants can be as much a problem as too much reliance on doing the job in house. Be sure too that you understand how all the features in the ERP work and determine if they can benefit your business.

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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

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Tom Miller

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