How to implement an ERP system.

ERP methodology is a type of management software that businesses and organizations use to manage day-to-day business activities. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) handles such activities such as project management, supply chain operations, accounting, risk management, and compliance. This software is useful to both small and large businesses alike. 

Implementing an ERP system involves installing software that fits your company, transferring over your own data into the new system, and customizing the process so that your team can configure the process. You will also have to select your team and users for the operation and train them on the chosen software. Choosing the right manufacturing execution system is almost as important as choosing the right software in the first place. 

Waterfall vs. Agile approach.

In ERP implementation methodology, there are two popular formats. Waterfall and Agile. These processes are commonly applied to software development and project management as well. The most considerable difference is that agile projects are completed in a cycle, test, alter, release, in small sections one at a time. Waterfall projects are completed sequentially without much in terms of flexibility. 

Both methodologies carry their own set of disadvantages and advantages, and both can be beneficial in the software development process. What will work best for your company will depend on the project type and circumstances.

The Waterfall process is the older and more traditional approach. It’s a simple and streamlined process that was expensive to the point of being over the budget, highly technical, and consumed tremendous amounts of time. The Waterfall process is a linear process that is easy to manage and utilizes less staff. If anything needed to be changed, the downside was that the entire process would need to be reworked, using more resources

Related: The Cost of Production

Agile is a newer implementation than the Waterfall method. Agile methodology has been around since the early 2000s. The Agile type of development relied upon teams’ collaboration to deliver small working segments of the software in shorter periods. Self-organized teams and short sprints blended with the testing resulted in superior software provided in a shorter time with a lower cost. Working on the smaller sprints saves the cost of having to rework the entire plan to make any changes. Sprints allow for continuous adaptation to the plan based on the needs of the business. 

Podsmart MES Solutions offers a free trial so you can get a feel for what works best for your company.

With Agile Development methodology, these steps can be adapted to ERP system implementation:

  1. Identify the problems and set your objectives. 

The question to ask at this step is less about “should we” but rather more about “what should ERP be implemented for.” Every desired feature has its own Product Backlog Creation or story. Your team of managers can define who they want to optimize the system to automate for the desired outcome as much as possible. Identify your products in a way to keep them organized.

  1. While Agile ERP platforms have many “Out of the Box” native functionality, none are plug and play and will need future programming. For a user to define what is and isn’t available using the “Commercial Off The Shelf” (COTS), a business may need to consider an Independent Software Vendors (ISV) that can help to customize the system. If your company is using a third-party consultant for the implementation, they will explain the functions and if additional programming or ISVs are needed. 
  1. Once the ISV and functionality requirements have been determined, the Agile methodology uses a process to deliver finished segments of the ERP implementation called “sprints.” Small teams made up of key players within the company will work together to develop data entry strategies. The stakeholders will begin to define how the module can then be further customized to suit their business’s functional needs. The Agile methodology’s sprints utilize short, specific time goals, and monitor the team members’ accountability to ensure the segment’s delivery. Not all ERP segments can be tested in smaller sprints. For example, some production scheduling sequences might need the entire piece to work correctly. In these exceptions, teams can be built with the right skill sets to produce a larger segment within Agile’s adaptability.  
  1. A fundamental failing of the Waterfall method is that it often lacked flexibility. It locked teams into unalterable courses that suffocated them when the need for change was required. When using sprints, a team works together to sift through the problems, customarily called “scrum.” The team will then discuss the issues and develop alternatives. Scrum will then build the changes into the segment of the implementation. Meetings with these teams consist of “To Do” type lists and assigning out tasks to the relevant team members and the goals corresponding to the delivery date. 

Related: Tools to keep in touch with your team.

  1. Another key difference in Agile implementation versus Waterfall is that in Agile, testing is done along the way. Each segment will be tested along the way or near the end on its own. As testing yields results, the team can decide on the version that performs well against all “story” elements. Agile ERP words to meet those needs with adaptability to make the changes to the programming or documents as the team moves forward with their project. A demo of the module is conducted once the testing is complete—that way, the entire team can see how the segment works against its needs.
  1. At this point, your segment is ready to “Go Live.” Teams will use what they have learned throughout the sprint process as a baseline for upcoming sprints. That will ensure better team performance in upcoming sprints and other functional areas to achieve continuous improvement. 

Related: Strategies for effective manufacturing labeling. 

A skyscraper.

Unlike the streamlined method of Waterfall, Agile implantation software methodology relies on change and flexibility. The process helps to hone and customize the programming of the ERP segments throughout the entire process. This system of small batch testing is less costly instead of reworking the whole live system. 

With desktop and mobile connectivity, Prodsmart facilitates smart, data-driven decisions from any location at any time of day. Manufacturers and fabricators need to keep up with ever-increasing customer demands in today’s high paces competitive marketplace. 


By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.