A lot of ERP implementation projects fail. And a failure to get ERP employee buy-in is one of the primary reasons. On average, 37% of employees use a company’s ERP system according to a Software Path report; that’s a big percentage of your workforce that needs to be invested in using the system to its full capability. Let’s look at a few ways to improve the odds that employees will buy-in or even push to get that new ERP.
Ensure employees are involved at every level of the project
Your employees need to understand what the project means to the company and, even more, what the project will mean to each of them. Let them see some of the systems you will evaluate. Ask what improvements they would like to have and try to get as many as possible with the upgrade. They appreciate a return on investment and quicker throughput. They also appreciate changes that make their jobs easier. ERP buy-in must be present at every level of the project, so you cannot afford to shelter employees from challenging phases.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
Share why you want a new ERP. Share the reasons your old system is no longer useful. Share the benefits expected. Share progress on the selection and implementation. Share the efforts involved in the data conversion. Share the efforts the test team is making and what issues they find and what is being done to correct the issues. Share often and share through as many channels you can and ERP buy-in will stop being a pipe dream.
At the same time, ask for feedback from all the users. What fears do they have? Are they getting enough training? How do they think the project is progressing? Again, use every medium possible.
Make change fun
Play games. Pass out rewards and recognitions. Laugh and try to get the whole enterprise laughing. It is a lot of hard work, but you still can lighten up. Gamify the change. Who can point out all the new queries available? Who can enter a new part number the fastest? Who found the most issues? Who was able to break the system during their testing? That person probably found something that must be fixed before go-live.
Train, train, train
Budget time for training. Be sure you have resources to provide the training. Don’t assume the users will just pick it up while they do their regular jobs. Hire training experts for this phase of the project. Arrange for training off-site at a meeting room with catered lunch and miniature golf afterward. Whatever you budget for training – add some more. On the path to ERP buy-in, you cannot train enough and you want everyone to hit the ground running the day of go-live anyway, don’t you?
Tom Miller is a columnist for ERP Focus, and has 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.