Introducing digital technology into your own company is anything but trivial and poses a challenge for many companies. The introduction of an ERP system, i.e. a software solution for enterprise resource planning, requires a lot of preparatory work before the actual digitalisation of processes and workflows can begin.

But first: why an ERP system? An ERP system bundles real-time data from all departments in one system and thus provides a comprehensive overview. This makes it much easier to plan, control and monitor relevant business processes in a focussed manner. Trends and patterns in these processes and among stakeholders are recognised and potential problems are visualised at an early stage. This up-to-the-minute transparency across all areas of the company enables company managers to make the right decisions at the right time on the basis of solid data.

The Implementation of an ERP System

Production, purchasing, sales, human resources, accounting, quality and compliance: ERP can be used to map all of a company’s business processes. The company’s management receives all important information quickly and in a target-orientated manner at a glance in an integrated system. This provides a high level of transparency as well as security for action and planning.

When introducing an ERP system, the overall process should be analysed, restructured if necessary and the workflows coordinated so that the ERP system delivers the desired results and functions smoothly. Should proven processes and procedures be adopted or changed? When defining the process steps, it is important to analyse every important detail in order to map the company’s processes coherently and efficiently in the system. This means talking to the people who work in the respective departments and know the requirements.

Designing an ERP means entering into dialogue, looking beyond departmental boundaries without losing sight of the necessary detailing of individual steps. When selecting, designing and implementing an ERP system, it is not about an off-the-shelf product, but always about customised solutions so that the company does not work according to the processes of the system, but the system works according to the processes of the company.

What can it offer SMEs? An ERP System …

… provides real-time data from all departments and thus ensures a comprehensive and up-to-date overview. This transparency makes it easier for company managers to plan, control and monitor business activities in a focussed manner.

… identifies trends and developments and thus recognises opportunities and risks at an early stage. An important basis for well-founded decisions in the respective areas of the company.

… noticeably increases efficiency and effectiveness, as centralised data management in one system allows processes to be automated that were previously carried out manually or with manual bridges. The overall flow of information is improved and media disruptions are eliminated.

… can grow with the company if it has been selected to match the company’s objectives and is scalable accordingly. It is important that a system is selected from the outset that is in line with the company’s strategy and can change with it without being oversized or undersized from the start.

… is a central building block for compliance within the company. Transparency ensures compliance and monitors systematic adherence to rules and guidelines.

… forms a solid basis for the service creation processes in production and services, controls customer relationship management and on-time delivery.

In addition to all the advantages and opportunities that an ERP system offers, there are of course also some challenges. The focus is on the right choice of system as a critical success factor.

Which System is the Right One for My Company?

ERP systems consist of various modules and there are major differences between the many systems that the market has to offer. THE MAK`ED TEAM therefore uses its own database for the selection process, which shows the differences between the systems and thus facilitates the right choice for the respective company. The ERP system must match the individual requirements of the company. These requirements result from the company’s processes, which in turn are linked to the business model and the industry, but also to the size of the company, the number of its locations and its international business activities. The scope of the required functions depends on this. For example, in one case an industry solution may fulfil the (process-related) requirements in full, while in another case the same industry solution may not adequately map the company processes or fulfil the compliance requirements.

It is therefore important to prevent an ERP system from destroying the company’s processes and hindering workflows. Otherwise, the positive effects of an ERP implementation cannot be realised.

This aspect alone must take centre stage, as employee acceptance depends on an improvement in processes.

Professional Support for Change

New and unfamiliar things can quickly meet with resistance from employees. In addition, the introduction of a new system always means an additional workload for employees. Such projects have a great chance of success if they are professionally planned and managed. Active project management is the key to success. The planning already takes into account what changes the company and its employees will be confronted with and how the degree of change is to be dealt with. Ideally, it is always taken into account that the introduction of software per se does not constitute digitalisation. Only the active design of processes, the necessary organisational development and the associated personnel development can turn the introduction of software into a successful digitalisation project.

Communicating the objectives of the project to employees and dealing constructively with possible objections from employees are key factors in change management. Change management will only be necessary in rare cases. All accompanying measures are developed on this basis in order to accompany the employees positively through the change and to achieve the defined objectives of the project.

With the right ERP system and professional implementation, various business processes can be integrated and bundled in a central system and a more efficient way of working can be implemented throughout the company. THE MAK’ED TEAM supports and advises companies with experienced specialists in the design, selection and implementation of an ERP system. THE MAK’ED TEAM is a manufacturer-independent expert with a broad knowledge of a large number of ERP systems on the market.