A Guide to Implementing an Effective ERP System: Communication Plan
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a system businesses use to manage and integrate essential parts of their operations. It involves using ERP software to manage your business's planning, risk management, accounting, distribution, sales, manufacturing, and customer service, in a centralized and integrated system.
Thus, an effective ERP system can help small and large companies integrate all their business operations and data in one place. However, if you have not used the ERP system, you may find it difficult to understand why it is essential for your business.
As globalization dominates many industries, you must seek out any tools or methods to give your company a competitive edge. This article discusses how to implement an effective ERP system communication plan.
What Is an ERP System?
The ERP system is commonly used by companies working within the supply chain. However, it is also utilized by health care and hospitality professionals. Again, an ERP system stores all your company’s entries into a single database. This allows for visibility of all operations, and all departments can work with the information.
ERP planning systems are complete, integrated platforms that can be on-premises or cloud-based. Cloud-based ERP systems are embedded with next-generation technologies like digital assistance, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), etc.
Data is the driving force of every modern business. Therefore, with ERP systems, organizations can collect, store, manage, and interpret data to help keep track of resources, cash, raw materials, product capacity, etc.
This makes it easier to distribute and communicate information to every individual and system so they can best fulfill their roles and responsibilities. Finally, ERP risk mitigation reduces the chance of non-compliance with industry rules and regulations and even fraud.
Why Is ERP System Important for Business?
Businesses shouldn't have several stand-alone databases. Having an endless inventory of disconnected spreadsheets can result in confusion, which can be chaotic for all users. However, with a secure EPR system supported by a database management system, there is a central data collection for wide distribution.
It enables the free flow of communication between business areas, a single source of information, and real-time data reporting. Also, companies that adopt this system have an edge over competitors while boosting their overall business growth. So it is virtually impossible to deny or ignore the impact of ERP in today’s business world.
Understanding the Implementation of an Effective ERP System: Communication Plan
Every company needs an effective communication plan and information-sharing system. An efficacious system makes it easy for businesses to share clear messages with employees, vendors, business partners, and customers. With this, companies can become more self-aware by linking information on production, finance, distribution, and human resource.
ERP implementation connotes planning, configuring, or customizing your ERP system. The process involves installing the software, transferring all your data (both financial and transactional), and mapping your processes. It is also essential to train all users on how to use the software.
How to Successfully Implement an Effective ERP System: Communication Plan
Communication is your biggest asset in successfully implementing an effective ERP system. Communicating this significant change to employees, stakeholders, and users should be timely, relevant, and engaging. If wrongly mismanaged after your ERP system goes live, the complaints of users' ignorance can affect your business operations.
Below are tips on how to effectively implement an ERP communication plan.
1. Create a Communication Framework
It's not enough to simply inform users about the ERP software. Also, don't expect them to completely embrace the transition phase without asking questions.
So, structure your message in a way that is easy for users to understand. Also, create a communication channel to let employees know who to take a particular complaint to or get to address an issue.
2. Consider Your Audience
Break your communication plan to fit the appropriate target audience. For example, the project teams, executive teams, users, etc., may require slightly different messaging depending on their roles and responsibilities.
3. Start Communicating Early in the Project Lifecycle
Avoid keeping users out of the loop or limiting communication until later in the project's process. Holding out until you’ve smoothened the details will raise concerns and doubts within your workplace.
Don't wait until there are whispers at the water cooler or employees start to create their create uncontrolled communication paths. So, talk about the ERP system as early as possible and be open about future plans.
4. Develop a FAQ Knowledge Base
Your project team members should address all concerns, confusion, and questions about the ERP system implementation. They can create a frequently asked question (FAQ) knowledge base. This can be readily accessible online, or you can print and distribute them. Within this guide, the team can answer logical questions, address common concerns and share important technical details.
5. Do Not Be Afraid to Reteriate
It is not uncommon for only a percentage of persons to understand the intent of your message on the first attempt. Repetition is not always bad with an organizational change as significant as an ERP implementation. You may need to repeat the same message several times to get it through to others.
Certain information may seem redundant because you are closely attached to the project. However, you may need to repeat critical details at regular intervals. So keep your messages simple and easy to absorb.
6. Consider Various Medium of Communication
You can use different mediums to relay your messages. So, do not leverage only emails, as they can be easily forgotten. Instead, consider adding conference calls, in-person meetings, flyers, town hall meetings, skywriting, etc.
The content of your message and level of information varies depending on who you are speaking to. However, do not provide more information upfront than is needed for your workforce. You may encounter pushback by doing so.
So communicate on a need-to-know basis. Finally, your communication should be direct and impactful; that way, people are more likely to read and respond.
The Bottom Line
An effective ERP system communication plan increases the synergy in your business and streamlines your operations. While adopting an ERP system may be costly, the return on investment can be rewarding.
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