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Three ways to improve user adoption of your manufacturing ERP

March 19, 2018
By Helen Peatfield
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Three ways to improve user adoption of your manufacturing ERP

How do you set your enterprise up for a successful ERP rollout?

You can implement the best manufacturing enterprise software in the world but low user adoption can seriously harm your ROI. Having a user-centric ERP change management plan from the outset with ongoing support is critical. Here are three essential steps to improve ERP user adoption in your business.

Read Also: What is an ERP Software?

Two-way communication

Organization-wide communication must start early, ideally before you have selected the system so that your decision can be informed by the users themselves. Within your project management team, you should have someone who will take the lead in communications. In the initial stages, this would be best coming from someone in the senior management team - a communication from your CEO will especially drive home the importance of the project.

Your project management team should already include a representative from each department -these team members will be instrumental in delivering business-unit focussed information and in listening to users so that they can act on questions, concerns and input.

Set out an internal comms strategy that highlights the following benefits of a new ERP system:

  • The benefits to the business (e.g. improvement to the bottom line & competitive advantages)
  • The benefits to each department/ business unit (e.g. more streamlined processes)
  • The benefits to your customers & suppliers (e.g. better customer service and communication)
  • The benefits to the individual user (e.g. easier systems that free up time for personal advancement)

Be transparent about timelines, what will be expected of users and reassure them that there will be ongoing support and training. You will have personality types that are resistant to change and even users who will feel their job is at risk. Use the expertise in your HR department to manage these user types early on with positive encouragement, reassurances and openness.

Orientation and training

This is where many organizations fail with manufacturing ERP adoption. Orientation and training are not the same thing. An initial training session provided by your vendor or internal team should be considered an orientation. From there, you need to roll out a modular training program for each department and user type. Here are some tips on ERP user training to get you on the right track:

  • Do use any free training and support offered by your vendor
  • Consider paying for additional external trainers if necessary
  • Assign Super Users for each business unit to provide ongoing support
  • Create a knowledge management system for self service training and tips
  • Set realistic timelines for users to complete their training
  • Set up user tests to assess the quality of your training and readiness of users

Incentivize your users

Find out what motivates your users. Offer individual and team incentives for completing training, leading initiatives and driving the project forward. This goes beyond selling the work-related benefits of the ERP to your users and will help boost morale. Here are a few ways to make ERP adoption more enticing for your users:

  • Gamify the training with competitions and prizes
  • Give awards to users that make helpful suggestions for improvements
  • Make training interactive with real use case examples
  • Be flexible- set deadlines but allow users to choose when and where to work on their training

Remember to keep up the communications, training and incentives into the future. As your ERP system begins to bear fruit, make sure you communicate its successes to the whole organization and don’t forget to give the users a pat on the back when you share your updates. Without having your users onboard, your ERP is worthless but get it right and you can start sharing the positive impact that both user and software have had on your organization.

About Author

Helen Peatfield is a writer at ERP Focus, editor and marketing consultant with a wealth of experience in ad tech, supply chain management and SaaS. When she is not typing away at her desk, she can be found scuba diving or wakeboarding in the sunny Gulf of Thailand.

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