Enterprise software specialist, Barry Linnard, has been providing ERP consultation services to the manufacturing industry for over 30 years. Recently we’ve been working on an ERP specification and selection project with him and were impressed by his depth of knowledge, experience and processes for helping companies find the right system. We asked Barry if he would be prepared to share some details of the process he’s created to help manufacturers develop a specification and select the best system solution.
Barry has worked with over 50 companies, mainly in the manufacturing sector, to help and guide them in the specification, selection and implementation of computer systems. Many are still using the latest version of the original solution and, in some cases, have rolled out the implementation across group companies in the UK and abroad.
The selection and implementation of new systems is time consuming, risky and needs a great deal of commitment. I have learnt a great deal in my career but what I have learnt the most about is Human Nature.
In most businesses the workforce is a mixture of experience and knowledge. Some have been with the company for years, some are recent arrivals from rival companies with experience of modern systems and some are just starting their working lives. They all can have differing views on what the company needs by way of new systems. Some may not think the company needs new systems at all and many are very suspicious of “the consultant”. This can present a problem when I am retained by a client to help them specify and select new systems. To do this I need they key people to be all facing in the same direction so I start with a “get to know you” session and impress upon them that I need them more than they need me. They usually think I am going to confuse them with “computer speak” when what I really want to talk about is the business and their job. That is their comfort zone and they are happy to talk about it all day. That usually works! Getting to understand the people and the business must be the first step in the project.
Stage 1 – Set Objectives & Plan
There’s a significant amount of groundwork that needs to be done before companies even enter the ERP market. Objectives need to be set and the project needs to be planned – after all, ERP selection and implementation is often a project that is done on top of the key individuals’ day to day roles so tasks need to be allocated and time allowed to do these to keep a project on track.
Companies then need to look at where they are now and where they want to be. Consider processes, resources, costs – what improvements do you want to make across these?
Setting clear objectives provides the means to measure progress, prevent scope creep and to know what done should look like! Only once a clear plan of what needs to be achieved is formulated can companies move to the next stage.
If you would like more information on Barry’s process for specifying and selecting an ERP system, please contact Barry. If you are interested in finding an ERP system for your business, you can find more information on what E-Max ERP offers by speaking to one of our team, contacting us or on our website here. Of course, if you’re ready for a demonstration of E-Max ERP in action, then you can arrange a demo at a time convenient to you.