Working with consulting clients I meet a lot of people that are unhappy with their ERP systems.

They buy them thinking that when they switch them on, all their problems will drift away. They think they ERP system will be a ‘silver bullet’ for their business, magically taking all of their operational problems away.

If you have experience of ERP systems, you’ll know that it isn’t most people’s reality. I have spent a great deal of my consulting career helping businesses to sort out their ERP systems.

The good news

Thankfully, getting an ERP system up and running is worth the effort.

Reduced admin. Accurate stock levels. Lower working capital employed. Better stock turns. Higher profit. Data to make decisions from… yes, it is worth the effort.

Three tips

I’ve given many talks over the years too, about improving ERP uptake and performance.

Let me give you my top three tips, as they stand today.

  1. Map out your business processes and ensure you know how they align with your ERP system. You might need to change how you work, to get the most out of your ERP system. I would say that you could ask the developer for some changes, but often the ERP system is developed off a best practice. So, think about tweaking how you work to get the most out of your system. Remember, it is the results that matter, not being right about the system being wrong.
  2. Once you have agreed your one best way to work, write it down as a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). Use screenshots and tie your SOPs into your staff induction process. It might seem odd making your team work in only one way (when there are many ways). However, this approach helps with training and consistency within the system which leads to better results.
  3. Turn all your main process activities into an agenda for a sunrise meeting. These short team meetings should allow you to manage your business activities by exception. Design the agenda so that your team know how to prepare for the meeting. Minimum time, maximum results. A good sunrise meeting helps keep your ERP system and order fulfilment process on track. Good days lead to great months and greater results.

Fix your ERP system!

I’ve distilled a great deal of my knowledge and experience around ERP systems into a toolkit called Fix Your ERP System.

If you need to re-look at your ERP system and come up with an action plan to improve how it works and the results it produces then I recommend you take a look. You can find the full details here.

I’ve included instructions, worksheets, and two books (a sunrise meeting guide and a guide to getting the most out of an ERP / MRP system).

In the meantime, mull over the three tips listed above and see if you can make your ERP system a silver bullet for your business.

Giles Johnston

Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who consults with businesses to improve their on time delivery performance, ERP system performance and deploy Kaizen / Lean production methods. Giles is also the author of 'What Does Good Look Like?'.