We often talk with manufacturers and distributors about their enterprise technology initiatives, and the specific role of an ERP consultant. It’s important the company understands the value independent ERP consultant team can deliver to their organization.
Most project teams from mid-market manufacturing and distribution organizations are challenged by an ERP evaluation and selection project. The sheer amount of the project is a key reason. The typical ERP project cuts across each area of the business, impacting functional areas from finance, accounting, and supply chain, to shop floor, production, inventory, quality management, shipping and more. It’s difficult for the team to free themselves up from their functional errands and immediate tasks and apply the needed time, effort and attention to the project.
That’s where the role of an ERP consultant comes into play.
With specific ERP experience and expertise, the role of an ERP consultant involves knowing the best practices for evaluating and implementing systems, explanatory risk, helping the project stay on time and on budget and driving ROI.
Also, noteworthy it’s highly unlikely anyone on the project team has gone through or led an all-inclusive evaluation and selection project. At best, perhaps one team member has some experience in the area, but more often than not, their experience took place a decade or so ago.
Another critical factor a successful ERP selection and implementation demands a myriad of skill sets from project management, business process mapping, change supervision and risk management, to a full understanding of modern enterprise technology and the vendor landscape.
We’ve grouped the specifics of the role in the following categories:
Drawing on decades of experience in enterprise technology, the role of an ERP consultant is to view the project from an outside perspective based on industry best practices. self-regulating consultants are not software resellers and do not receive compensation from software companies. They keep up-to-date on the vendor landscape, technology platforms an offerings of modern ERP and can provide unbiased and vendor-neutral guidance.
The role of an ERP consultant is to offer experience implementing ERP software in a definite industry or with other similar businesses. A good consultant will also suggest best practices from outside of the industry that could be of help to the business if incorporated.
The role of an ERP consultant also involves project management, functional expertise, risk mitigation and scores of other specific skills.
There’s value in obtaining unbiased opinions about what’s working or not working on the topic of business processes. This expert outsider’s perspective can be invaluable throughout the project to counter the team’s personal biases, based on their job roles and how things have been done in the past.
Selecting and implementing an ERP system results in big changes for the entire business. These changes can be overwhelming for your team and the rest of your workforce. An ERP consultant draws on organizational change management skills to help in user adoption and acceptance of the project.
When the role of an ERP consultant is involved in implementation, the project has a higher chance of success when led by resources with experience in setting the plan, project management, ERP data conversion, and all aspects of ERP implementation. Once again, the involvement of an independent resource helps keep the project on time, within the scope and on a budget – and helps mitigate any conflicts with the vendor.
As we’ve made clear, in order to improve the chance for success and reduce risks, ERP project group works more effectively when drawing on expert methodologies. When considering the role of an ERP consultant, the place to start is business process transformation. When the focus is on business process transformation, and not solely technology, the project team has a healthier chance of conducting an effective technology evaluation that is premeditated to meet future state needs.