Run Your ERP System Like a Fine-Tuned Machine
ERP systems can provide organizations with a significant ROI when the staff is trained, and regular maintenance takes place. The improvement offered by a well-run ERP in terms of operational efficiency, accuracy, and timely information flows can help maximize profits and lead to ERP system success. From this perspective, your ERP system can be viewed as any other machine on your production floor. And like any production tool, its operators should receive proper training, and regular maintenance should occur so your ERP can adapt as your business changes. With consistent training and maintenance, you’ll be well on your way to running your ERP like a fine-tuned machine and enjoying ERP system success.
Even under the best circumstances, the average person retains only 80% of what they are taught. So right away, even if professionally trained, the original users of your ERP might not be using the shortcuts needed to improve efficiency, all the features that can meet organizational requirements, and the basic reports and dashboards that can help decision-makers act more quickly. This problem, known as “knowledge loss,” only gets worse as those users rise into management or leave your organization. And if their replacements only retain 80% of what the original user remembers, then they only know about 64% of what your ERP system can do. From there, knowledge retention can drop to less than 50% as the next user moves on.
To create meaningful training and combat knowledge loss, here are a couple of quick tips:
- Write detailed procedure manuals of YOUR processes.
Written manuals reduce knowledge loss. Creating procedure manuals is time-consuming and difficult to produce, but they document exactly how your ERP system is supposed to be used for your environment. This will serve as the roadmap to keep users consistent in their ERP use, remind them of why the process exists, and help them maintain the ROI of your ERP.
2. Record in-house training videos.
Today’s workers rely on YouTube for how-to videos. Having a library of in-house training videos is a great way to preserve the continuity of your ERP system as it was designed for your use. Every company has small nuances in procedures that are designed to help maximize system use given their workflows. This information is not covered in general videos that show how your ERP system works out of the box.
*PRO TIP – Most online meeting platforms like Zoom and GoToMeeting give you the option to record a meeting. Start a screen share and record your best users walking through their workflows in your ERP. This is an easy way to build a library of training videos and ensure ERP system success.
3. Develop an ERP Super User.
Cultivate an internal resource that specializes in your ERP. This person should understand how your ERP system was implemented for your organization and should be tasked with consistent training of new staff. Having an internal person to oversee the everyday troubleshooting and training will maximize your system usage. These Super Users need to be given ongoing training and time to build their skills and knowledge on your ERP system. For larger organizations, creating a Director of ERP role helps ensure that users are fully supported in training and that the organization is maximizing its investment in its ERP system.
For steps on how to create a Sage Intacct Super User, go here.
Vehicles, production machines, conveyors, etc., all require regular maintenance to maximize efficiency and profitability. Your ERP system is no different. ERP systems are full of different components: applications, databases, servers, and networks. Each component needs some sort of maintenance to ensure peak performance.
Here are some common maintenance items to put on your list:
- Focus on performance optimizations.
SQL-based ERP systems like to keep logs of what transpired in your database. When you need these logs, they are invaluable. But they can take up space and impact your system performance. A regular schedule of archiving and shrinking log files can keep system performance at its peak.
2. Keep current on the latest patches and hotfixes.
ERP systems are complex and “bugs” are inevitable. However, publishers do an excellent job of fixing bugs as reported. Making sure your system is current on all the latest patches and hotfixes will help avoid frustrations and time researching why your system is not working as expected.
3. UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE your server and workstation security patches.
It should go without saying, but staying updated on all your server and workstation security patches is a must. There are times that these patches might interfere with your ERP system and some of your integrations, so check with the publisher if you have issues. This also goes for keeping your virus profiles current.
4. Know when you need an overhaul.
After a few years of use, every machine might benefit from a major overhaul. If you stay current on your publisher’s software assurance, you will be entitled to the latest version of the software. Like any overhaul, this might be a big job that requires some downtime and outside labor, but in the end, you will have all the latest improvements to your ERP system that will make sure you can maintain your return on investment.
Key Takeaways to Reach ERP Success
Like any key machine on the factory floor, your ERP reduces downtime and provides the outputs you need to run your business. A machine that valuable requires trained employees to manage it, and regular maintenance. A well-curated set of videos, procedure manuals, and designated ERP staff can prevent knowledge loss, while performance fixes and regular updates keep your ERP engine fit and ready for anything. While these are all things that can be done internally, professional help can be useful when overhauling your system, upgrading to the latest version, and establishing a maintenance and training cadence for your staff. If you need extra help, call your publisher or implementer to create a strategic tuning plan for your ERP machine to reach ERP system success.