There are many factors that can bring about the need for a new method of enterprise resource management software. You may have relied on paper spreadsheets or a simple Excel file before, but now you may find that your business grown enough that those systems aren’t working any longer. You may have experienced growth and outpaced what your current level of enterprise software can handle. You may also see an opportunity to drive your business to another level, and you want to be ready for that growth. No matter the reason, as you choose your next software platform, you have to keep a few things in mind.
The first thing you need to look for is integration. For example, if you’re a distribution center or supplier, you likely use a warehouse management system (WMS) to handle the logistics for your center. Your needs can help guide you so you know what to look for in a WMS. However, as you make a shift from one enterprise software management system to another, your current WMS may not fulfill those needs. If you’re moving into automation, your best choice for a new WMS may be limited to what the equipment manufacturer offers for their control system. If this will not integrate or work correctly with your new or existing system, something will have to change.
You should also look at the time of implementation. Rolling out a new software management system is never an overnight process. You need to make sure that your employees are all informed of the upcoming change. Training classes for everyone in your company before the new systems go live is almost mandatory. If your employees aren’t ready for the upgrade, you can find your business facing costly bottlenecks.
Implementation isn’t just limited to training time, either. You also have to make the decision of whether or not to go live with the new software all at once, or phase it in over a period of time. There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of rollouts.
When you do an “all at once” rollout, you are going to see immediate benefits. The cost is also usually lower as well. However, in exchange for this, you are also placing a heavy load on your staff. A looming deadline can be disruptive to them as they try to prepare for the change. Additionally, no matter how much training you give them, your staff is going to need an adjustment period after the new enterprise software is implemented.
A phased rollout is much easier on your business and your staff in terms of pressure and performance. You’re not going to experience as much downtime because you can adjust the rollout depending on how individual departments handle the new software. The downside to this is that you have to keep two software solutions active until the new one is completely implemented. That’s going to increase your overall operating costs as you keep both systems updated. In addition, because the software is phased in one module at a time, there will be a temptation to tunnel vision in on the module or department being implemented. This may cause a lack of focus on other vital aspects of the business.
When it comes to which is best, the choice lies with you as the business owner. You need to assess what the impact on your bottom line will be in terms of productivity and additional operating expenses. Once a decision is made, the job is then to make sure that your entire business is on the same page for implementation of your new enterprise solution.