10 Ways to Guarantee ERP Implementation Failure

by Joni Holeman, CFPIM, CIRM, CSCP, CDDP

1. Don’t educate or train your employees (especially management and the
Implementation Team) on Systems Thinking—how the thirteen different
functional areas of your enterprise interact and use data to make decisions.

2. Don’t clutter your associates’ minds with details like your Strategic Plan--
how it impacts the structure and infrastructure of your organization, and what role
their division, department, and job description plays in its execution.

3. Leave your departmental performance measures alone. Unless your
metrics system is redesigned for cross-functional performance measures, your
people will not use enterprisewide planning, control, or analysis behaviors to
complete their daily work.

4. Don’t waste time getting input from present system users. These
persons know more about their daily operating tasks and how easy it would be to
optimize them, if only somebody would listen to their problems and suggestions.
Ignoring present users is a sure-fire way to have them reject any efforts towards
obtaining their buyin.

5. Keep everyone in the dark about system choices and implementation status.
The more people know about your ERP implementation, the fewer wasted hours
will be spent sharing rumors. Dedicate a Communications person/function on the
Implementation Team for this specific purpose. Use all forms of media to spread
weekly updates—written newsletters or memos, audio Webinars and meetings,
video presentations, Website and Intranet postings, CD-ROM tutorials,
interactive computer demos, etc.

6. Foster a sense of “Not Invented Here” paradigms. Just because you’ve
always done it “your” way does NOT mean that’s the best way! Your
organizational culture needs to be open to recognizing non value added activities
and eliminating all forms of waste from your processes. Most of your previous
business rules will get changed to conform to current Commercial Best Practices. Are you really ready?

7. Don’t worry about the accuracy or timeliness of your data. Because your
entire enterprise will be working from one single database (getting instantly
transmitted to all global locations), accuracy becomes paramount for ERP! Even
if inventories, cycle times, transit intervals, bills of materials, and routing lists are
all 95% accurate, your management decision-makers will be relying on
information that’s only 77% relevant (.95x.95x.95x.95x.95=.77).

8. Blame your Implementation Team or its Project Leader for all mistakes.
These folks will not hit home runs every day. Hold them accountable for
situations under their control, yes. But recognize that failures provide learning
experiences which can lead to opportunities. One company found that 90% of its
breakthrough ideas came from people who tried new processes and failed.

9. Delegate this entire cultural change project to the Implementation Team.
ERP is not a magic pill that makes the pain go away. Resources will be needed
in varying intensities at different phases of implementation (whether from
personnel hours, budget funding, outside trainers or consultants, etc.). Senior
management’s actions must be perceived as leading change by being actively
involved throughout the cutover process.

10. Modify the software to fit your present business processes. All you will
have done then is to automate redundancy while spending kajillions of dollars in
stockholder dividends! ERP systems are based upon Best Commercial
Practices. Learn these first, unless you’ve developed a process in house that
creates a sustainable competitive advantage in your marketplace.

Joni Teaching CSCP Workshops in Shenzhen, China

Joni Teaching CSCP Workshops in Shenzhen, China