This is an all too familiar saying to us here at Profitsflow. Over the years we have had companies come to us looking for information and understanding that they really need to get ERP up and running.
They then go through various periods of activity followed by long breaks. These “active” periods are typically grouped into
- Information Gathering
- Initial vendor meetings
- Requirements analysis
- Presentations and demonstrations
- Vendor shortlisting
- Selection and contract close
It is not unusual for the selection element of the project to span many years. After the implementation, typically we will review the project with the client. Nine times out of ten they will say that they should have done it years ago. But what are the reasons behind this seemingly irrational behaviour which is uncharacteristic of otherwise and sensible business people? The reasons are many and varied, but here are some of the more common:
Adversity to change
The phrase “I’m all for change as long as I don’t have to do anything different” pretty much sums up what we are talking about here. People often don’t want to be seen to be objectors to a new system, but underneath the front they are happy with their lot and will do their utmost to continue working the way they have for many years (often complaining about what they are doing as they do so!) Fact is we are programmed to follow a certain routine, whether that be the morning ritual or the work day. Any perceived change to this routine is often objected to, and that can go all the way to the top depending on the organisation.
“It ain’t broke so why fix it?” Well it might not be broken but that does not mean it is running efficiently!! You wouldn’t drive your car around with bags of concrete in the boot for no reason, yet so many businesses operating legacy ERP or no ERP system at all are doing the business equivalent of just that. Well the answer is to implement an ERP system. When will we do it? “Not now!!!” There’s actually no reason to keep putting it off indefinitely – there’s only one small part of the project that has a major impact and requires thought as to timing – the system go live. Always remember, an efficient ERP system will streamline the business allowing communication internally and externally with customers and suppliers.
Fear of the unknown
In our vast experience implementing enterprise systems, we regularly come up against people who don’t want to move forward simply because the new software is an unknown entity for them. The fear of being unable to perform their duties and therefore satisfy their superiors is enough for them to object to any new system. This can be overcome easily by providing training and taking the people in question through the steps one by one, however it has to first be recognised.
All too often there is a much more focus on cost than benefit. Remember that one of the key objectives in any new system is to reduce costs. This may seem counter-intuitive as ERP systems often come with very large price tags. However a small difference in price between two systems can very quickly be negated by an improved business process flow – for example a 1% difference in stock-holding could more than pay for the price difference between two systems. It is clear therefore that, while cost will always be a consideration, a proper evaluation will take into account the benefits alongside the cost. Cost should not be a reason to not move forward with a selection project as, invariably, the cost of not doing anything for many months or even years will greatly outweigh the cost of the new system.Business disruption
This is a major cause for concern. What if I can’t print despatch documents, invoices, product picking lists for production after we go live? These sort of concerns are completely valid, but the potential for exposure can be limited through training, workshops and a pre go-live pilot putting a subset of the business through its paces on the new system. Remember, yours is not the first business to run on this system, likely there have been hundreds if not thousands before you. After all, it’s all about confidence. If the team is confident that the new system, and more importantly its implementation partner, can deliver, the project will proceed.
Find out more about how ERP can help your business by calling us on +353 1 244 9580 or why not participate in one of our upcoming webinars – see profitsflow.com/webinars for more info.