6 October 2017

It’s not that difficult to keep your ERP system alive

By Jan Muller, Managing Director & Co-owner Quartess

It has been a while since you implemented your ERP system probably. Maybe 3 years, 5 years, or in many cases I know of, even 10 years or more. In these years, many things have changed in your company. Examples like new products, new markets, new people, even new ownership perhaps.

So your organization must have changed because all of this also. And with that, ways of working and procedures.

At the same time, in the external world things move fast. New technologies have been introduced and existing ones have matured. Internet of things, big data, smart customization, new production techniques like 3D printing, ‘cloud’, smart customization and big data to name some examples.

But what about the effect of all these developments in the in- and outside world, and your ERP system? Do you have a structure in place stimulating people in your organization to think and discuss about the effect of all these changes on your ERP system? Now some of you might say: of course, obviously. Congratulations, you are in the front runners group. In our practice – Quartess focuses on the SMB discrete manufacturing market- I see both. I also see companies that struggle with this, with the negative effects you can think off.

So what should you do?  Think back about the time you implemented the system. There was a key user group and a project leader that formed your implementation team. This team together with the consultants implemented the system and trained the end-users. Does such a team in your organization still have regular meetings about changes and how they affect your ERP system? They should! Every month, every 2 months, bring them together and have discussions.

In addition, talk to your supplier as well when you want to adapt your ERP system. Some changes may have a potential big impact. And be sure you are running the latest version of your ERP software. Take advantage of the new functionality your supplier has put into the system you already have. The effect will be an ERP system that is kept alive and has far more chances to be seen by the users as a tool that supports them in doing their job. And that is what ERP is about after al. Or it will become clear that you'll have to look around for replacement of your current system. Also a valuable conclusion because you know now exactly why.