Light at the End of the Tunnel...

In the last of our series of blog posts on how to select the best crm mrp system for your business. We examine, the process for conversion, managing change within the business and summarise all the steps in the journey.

Step 6 – Take it one step at a time

Most companies can’t afford to stop day to day business while they implement a new system, besides their customers wouldn’t let them! Even with everyone aligned on the same goal, it’s important to have an achievable series of steps that will move the implementation forward, achieve success and build for the next level. As we explained in the previous article, you should pick your priorities based on the key challenges and bottlenecks in the business.

Common priorities include:

  • Data – Creating a clean base of customer and parts data
  • Purchasing Admin – taking the manual effort and errors out of purchasing
  • Shortages – Avoiding stock-outs for current jobs
  • WIP & Profitability – Tracking time and materials used in jobs
  • Order Errors – Avoiding confusion in customer orders
  • Stock Levels – Setting an accurate baseline stock level
  • Enquiries – Ensuring enquiries are followed up
  • Cashflow – Tracking orders that should be invoiced, and payments to be chased

 

Step 7 –  Create a plan and plan to change..

As discussed previously, it makes sense to identify the top priorities, share these to the business, and then develop a plan. Of course, priorities can change, so the plan, and the software you choose, should be able to adapt as required.

Putting a value on the priorities will help to underline their importance to the business. We have found that a series of 2-week long sprints can be an effective way to split the project into small, achievable chunks. In some cases, if you have capacity, activities could be happening in parallel. This method means that your team will start to see small changes, and results, happening early in the process.

Step 8 – get the foundations right

Starting with a blank slate can be daunting for your team.  So as a part of the project it’s essential that you prepare a minimum amount of data. Ideally, be ready to import the key data into the new system, for example,

– Customers
– Suppliers
– Parts
– Products

Having meaningful and accurate data isn’t always possible at the start of the project. However don’t let this get in the way of making progress. If you don’t have everything, bear in mind that the system will naturally populate as people start using it. For example, you may not have full contact details for every company, that’s ok, simply ensure your team are checking records before they send a Quote, Order or PO. This means you data will get updated incrementally.

Should we import historical data?

The answer is, it depends! Data migration can be time-consuming, error prone and expensive. If you can keep historical data in an accessible format, then consider doing so. If you data is clean, and maps easily to the structure of the new system, then talk to your provider about how this can be migrated. Bear in mind, every day your team uses the new system to build up new, structured and reliable information. It won’t be long before you have built a useful source of insights and reporting.

Take one step at a time

Start using the system based on your priorities. Each business is different, but the critical factor is to focus on ‘quick wins’. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, and don’t expect to stop using all your current systems immediately. Sometimes customers will gradually transition across to the new system, helping everyone learn as they go. Othertimes they do training in the sandbox and then switch to the new system from a set date. Then as you and the team get more confident in the system, add more workload to it, and you transition away from your old ways of working.

Lead from the FRONT

Your team are watching you – if you don’t take the new system seriously, or see it as a tool for other people to use, then don’t expect success. Change can be difficult for businesses and their teams, and as leader and champion of this change project, your behaviour will dictate success.

Monitor Change

Over the coming month as you become more confident in the new systems, monitor the changes, ensure the retirement of old habits like duplicating data into numerous spreadsheets, printing out copies of documents to refer back to.

Measure the time savings and monitor the bottlenecks you originally identified.  That way you can truly measure the created efficiency.

The statistics you use for this would vary on the type of system and the bottlenecks you identified but whatever they were reviewing them is an extremely import concluding step.

In Summary

Things to worry about when looking for change?

– Is everyone aligned on this?
– Does everyone know their role in the process?
– Is my data available to import?
– Are expectations clear?
– Do we have the right person running the project?

Things not to worry about

– We need to do a stock major stock take!
– We need to have all our data ready on day one
– We have to ‘go live’ in one go and stop using our old systems immediately.

Are you ready?

If you think you’re ready for change and would like support from our expert team to assist in the process we have outlined in this series of blogs, when do not hesitate to contact us, book in a free consultation to discuss your business process change and potential App choices, whether you’re an ecommerce business looking for Inventory Management or Equipment Manufacturer looking for a manufacturing CRM and MRP System, or even a Tradie looking for a mobile booking solution then contact us today.

Want to review the original steps…Looking for a new Direction? and The path to success