ERP Change Management Tamlin

ERP Change Management: Success Begins with Assessment

By Linda Bryan
Chief Executive Officer
Tamlin Software

You’re the CEO of a manufacturing company. With multi-million dollar product recalls making the headlines on a weekly basis, you’re well aware of the need for quality control and cradle-to-grave traceability. It’s time to modernize. Good-bye pen and paper. You’re ready for an ERP system and a solid change management plan.

Why do you need an ERP Change Management plan? Won’t your employees welcome change? What could go wrong? Your shop-floor team gets to use fancy new technology. Your managers get more accurate data. Senior executives breathe a little easier. All will be smooth sailing from day one.

If only it were that easy.

Unfortunately, ERP systems are often rolled out prematurely, which can actually lead to unforeseen problems—some of which can outweigh the benefits. In fact, according to the Harvard Business Review, only 30% of organizational change-initiatives actually succeed. So why do the vast majority fail?

Effective ERP change management requires a strategic plan.

Significant organizational changes should never be made ad hoc. A strategically planned approach is essential if the goal is to predict a successful outcome with any degree of certainty.

Replacing dated, paper-based processes with an ERP system must be done with a strategic change management plan in place because every aspect of your business will be impacted. Every ERP change management plan should start with a thorough assessment stage that includes feedback from every level of your organization. It’s not just assessment, but assessment that gets to the heart of issues from a variety of viewpoints/job levels.

Your assessment phase should include five key components:

Organizational Assessment. Every aspect of your current production process needs to be thoroughly examined. The goal here is to get a concrete picture of where your organization is in order to create a blueprint for moving forward.

Employee Feedback. The next step is to get employee feedback. Successful change cannot be mandated from the top down. Your employees must serve as your primary change agents, and getting them involved from the very beginning communicates their ownership in the process.

Employee Assessment. But your employees all have different skill sets, strengths, and weaknesses. You need to identify who will be your leaders and advocates for change, who will be your roadblocks, and how to incent different stakeholders.

Journey Mapping. This step involves mapping out exactly what happens from start to finish in a production process so that each division and management level is on the same page regarding behavior and process expectations. For instance, the production of potato salad might involve receiving, weighing, chopping, mixing, testing, packaging and shipping. Journey mapping identifies all key processes which allows the most applicable strategies to be implemented.

Metric Analysis. The final stage of the assessment process is to get a clear profile—a measurable metric—of your employees’ present mindset. A standard approach is to create an anonymous survey of 10 questions to measure employee perceptions and preferences.

What will a thorough assessment accomplish?

The two main goals of the assessment phase are:

  1. To get a thorough understanding of where you are, where you want to go, and how you plan get there.
  2. Get your employees on board—and excited about the upcoming changes—long before any actual changes are made.

Implementing a successful ERP change management program doesn’t have to be complicated. And the best way to make it easier on everyone involved is to know where everyone stands before you even get started.

Coming up next…

Next week, we take a look at the design and development phase of the change management process. In the meantime, if you’d like to share your assessment best practices or discuss a current initiative that you’d like to get off on the right foot, please contact Linda Bryan at 214-739-6576, ext. 101.