As an ERP consulting firm, we are often asked about the value an organization can expect when investing in a new enterprise technology solution. Where will manufacturers and distributors see the greatest value and how will that translate into ROI? How can we measure the value of ERP?
5 Steps to Value and ROI
Long-term experience tells us that ROI from an ERP project depends on proper planning using a 5-step ERP methodology:
This team, led by its chief process owner, develops a strategy to review all business processes impacted by an ERP solution. It identifies all functions by department and business process flow and gathers and analyzes reports from sales, shop floor data collection, inventory, accounting, quality, etc.
An ERP project is the ideal time to take a hard look at business processes that may have evolved in various ways over time with little documentation. Now is the time to reexamine all processes to determine their strategic value, and to identify waste. By documenting the current state, the team finds the ways to fully leverage the best practices afforded by modern ERP systems.
A comprehensive and strategic approach to education is a necessary ingredient for successful technology transformation. It’s tempting to skip this step, however, working with industry analysts, expert consultants and vendors will illustrate best practices. In most cases, the team will identify solutions to the problems of wasted processes, redundant data, and unnecessary manual steps uncovered by the current-state mapping and documentation exercise.
Here is where the team develops best-fit business process flows. Waste in current processes is found and best practices and future state requirements are identified as the team creates the “to-be” maps of the future state. The team looks at ways of reducing waste within existing systems, identifies midterm improvements that require IT investment and spells out the functional improvements enabled by the new workflow from the ERP.
The team reviews the list of benefits identified in the previous business process improvement steps, documenting ROI for each. It’s critical to link the improved processes to improved performance by optimizing current state metrics. The team can document how the investment in a new ERP system will reduce inventory costs, reduce stock-outs, improve cycle time, etc.
Enterprises following these 5 steps during an ERP software selection project will achieve considerable value from their new ERP solutions. With proper planning and execution, manufacturers and distributors will meet their business process improvement goals, whether it’s adding automation or reducing cycle time, for true business transformation.