Want to implement a more effective ERP solution? Set a vision.

When planning the implementation of your new ERP solution, keep the focus on how you want your organization to work in the future — not just the way it currently operates.

Setting a vision for your ERP project is one of the top recommendations from experts within Forterro’s global network of ERP companies. Yet, it’s one of most common steps businesses skip when implementing a new ERP solution.

“Because ERP systems are designed to last 10 years or more, any ERP strategy should focus on the company’s overall strategic vision,” said Håkan Magnusson, sales executive with Jeeves, which is headquartered in Sweden. “You must look beyond the present. Consider how your company might look three to five … even 10 years into the future.”

Scott Malia, COO of Forterro, said that a crucial step for any ERP project is getting insights from upper management about the company’s overall direction. For example, if M&A is part of your company’s long-term strategy, you want an ERP system that can accommodate the expected growth and multi-site complexity.

“The onus is on the executive team and owners to think about the future,” Magnusson added. “But the onus on aligning that vision with your ERP system implementation is on you.” Our experts also advised to ask yourself how your company’s strategy might be impacted by outside factors. What challenges may you end up facing? What current industry trends could affect the way you do business? Where are your areas of weakness?

Some of the most common areas of weakness our experts see their clients hoping to address include:

  • Problems meeting delivery dates
  • Disorganization on the manufacturing floor
  • Issues with accurate data
  • Poor integration among various departments

“It’s important to not just limit yourself to looking at the problems you had a week ago, a month ago, or three months ago,” Magnusson said. “One approach might be to take a look at how the company has developed over the last two years. You can use that perspective to gain insights on how you may need support processes 3-5 years in the future.”

“Share your objectives with prospective vendors,” added Benoit Wambergue, product manager for Sylob, an ERP company based in France.

“Ask the ERP vendors for a demo based on your current processes and your objectives,” Wambergue said. “Make sure what the vendor is planning to implement responds not only to the way you’re doing business today, but also to what you need. If you need metrics reporting, have the vendor show you what that could look like.”