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As the CEO of AdvancePro Technologies, I have worked with hundreds of small and medium-sized businesses to help them take control of their inventory management processes. We offer a highly functional enterprise program that touches multiple parts of our customers’ businesses, and its adoption represents a major shift in their work processes. We’ve put a tremendous amount of work into our software, but my experience has shown me that it’s the effectiveness of the implementation that really makes or breaks inventory management success. Most estimates of ERP implementation success rates have it below 50%, and I’ve been around long enough to have seen my share of failed adoptions. I’d like to share some of the common elements that I have seen in failed implementations, and some ideas for how to overcome them.
- Start with the end in mind. What problems are you trying to fix? Take the time to understand the process and SET GOALS. These goals will keep everybody focused on the same target, and will serve as a basis for ROI measurement.
- Create an implementation plan. Make sure that the actions and tasks needed are mapped out, and the stakeholders are designated and ready to execute. There will be data to be configured, training to be administered and testing to be done (repeatedly). If there’s one thing I can leave you with, it’s that testing is key, and if you haven’t been thorough in this process it can be the beginning of years of headaches and technical nightmares.
I’ve shared these tips many times over the years, and they have helped my clients successfully implement at a rate well above the norm. There are many reasons why a project can become derailed, but lack of preparation shouldn’t be one of them. Given the importance and size of this investment, you owe it to yourself and your stakeholders to be fully committed and engaged, and to assess, identify and remove threats to success. Understand that these projects can be highly complex and subject to the influence of internal and external forces, and will prove to be a test of the resolve and resilience of your team. But the payoff can be a complete game-changer, so buckle up and enjoy the ride!