Summary: Employees are the backbone of each business operation. Without their wholehearted involvement, you cannot think of achieving the desired output. But you also need to focus on developing their skills and making them capable of delivering excellent results within the desired timeframe. An employee training and development program plays a significant role in developing unique skills for the successful implementation of ERP. Simply put, training programs provide a systematic workflow and the required motivation to deal with problems and achieve the pre-decided milestones within a definite duration.
First, let’s understand why companies need ERP software for conducting their everyday operations.
How ERP software plays a significant role in companies?
Companies across industries have realized the significance of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software in conducting business operations smoothly and conveniently. The main reason why ERP software has become the backbone of businesses is that they automate several critical business functions like finance & accounting, sales & marketing, supply chain, inventory & warehouse, vendor management, and building robust and evergreen customer relationships.
ERP implementation provides multiple benefits to companies. Firstly, as explained above, they automate business operations that reduce/eliminate human errors. Secondly, employees get more free time to focus on mission-critical tasks instead of doing trivial jobs. Thirdly, businesses develop a strong bond with their clients as CRM-enabled ERP software provides concrete data about changing customer preferences and marketing trends that help create unique customer personas. Lastly, ERP software helps companies stay compliant with government policies and norms and keeps a tab on any new circular issued by the government.
Want to gain a comprehensive understanding of ERP software? Click on the picture below to learn about the different types of ERP, how they work, their benefits, and the various stages in ERP implementation.
But ERP implementation will not fetch you any results if you don’t impart rigorous training to your employees. But first, let’s gain a deep understanding of the challenges associated with ERP implementation. The next section will talk about this topic in detail.
What are the challenges associated with ERP implementation?
ERP implementation is a complicated process that requires collaboration between all business departments. Information silos act as a major impediment here. They restrict the free flow of information and don’t allow business stakeholders to work in unison, thereby limiting the impact your business can make as a united entity.
The following points list the challenges in great detail:
1. Legacy ERP systems acquire a lot of office space. You may have to rent a new room for installing On-Premise ERP systems. However, you can circumvent this problem by opting for a Cloud-enabled ERP system.
2. Legacy ERP systems don’t allow salespeople to collect customer data on the go. They need to do a lot of back and forth between the client’s place and the office that wastes a tremendous amount of time. On-cloud ERP systems provide an easy solution to this challenge as sales teams can collect critical customer details and upload necessary documents while working from their office.
3. Employees have to work for a longer duration as some projects might be called off and others would be temporarily put aside. They have to align themselves with the new workflows as decided by the senior management.
4. Data migration is another challenge that employees have to deal with. Normally, different departments have different data repositories to store critical data. On the other hand, a full-fledged ERP software will act as a single source of truth combining all data repositories into one. This means that different teams will have to learn to collaborate and work as a united force.
5. Change management is yet another challenge that not many companies focus on. Usually, the frontline workers with no technical background face immense challenges in learning how to operate a new ERP system. This is why they resist ERP implementation and are less motivated to work.
An employee training and development program provides a 360-degree understanding of how to operate the new system. Gradually, as the employees gain the relevant skills, the effectiveness of operations improves which helps to stay ahead of the competition.
The next section will shed light on the challenges associated with employee training and development programs. It will provide you a complete outlook of the challenges that your employees will face during the ERP implementation and how to develop a concrete strategy to counter them.
What are the challenges associated with employee training and development programs during ERP implementation?
The ERP implementation ratio has significantly increased since the 1990s. Today, companies of all sizes have ERP software that helps them increase their productivity, reduce their operational expenses, automate their business operations, and build long-lasting customer relationships. But still, companies have to face numerous challenges while creating employee training and development programs.
Let’s understand them one by one:
1. Lack of senior management commitment.
New projects require the undying spirit and the motivation of a dynamic leader to reach completion. Usually, the senior management in a company lacks the skills and the incentives to create a comprehensive learning and development training program.
2. Ineffective communication with users.
ERP implementation is a long and complicated process that requires a lot of time. Normally, it takes somewhere between 6-12 weeks for On-Cloud ERP implementation. On the other hand, it takes about 6 months to 2 years for On-Premise implementation. Remember that many of your company’s operations may get delayed that may cause a bad impact on customer experience. Unfortunately, the senior management in many organizations fails to develop a comprehensive communication plan and loses a big chunk of their clients.
3. Lack of effective project management methodology.
A project management methodology defines the steps, procedures, and frameworks to attain a specific goal. Choosing the correct methodology depends on various factors, such as flexibility in the workplace, adopting measures that deliver the most value, leveraging organizational goals, and developing team values. Unfortunately, most organizations lack managers who have the ability to create effective project management methodology.
4. Conflicts between different departments.
Each company has multiple departments that have their own data repositories and follow their own set of processes. They don’t like sharing critical business information to stay ahead of others. One of the biggest challenges to address while brainstorming a training and development program is to develop a sense of collaboration instead of competition.
5. Failure to redesign business processes.
Redesigning business processes is one of the core tenets of employee training programs. ERP implementation has several stages and each of them has its own set of challenges and requirements. Senior managers often fail to design an appropriate strategy to counter these challenges that leads to confusion and inefficiency.
To learn more on why your company should implement an ERP software, what goals can your organization achieve by implementing it, and how to implement it, read our comprehensive guide “The A to Z of ERP systems” by clicking on the picture below.
After getting a firm grip on the challenges associated with ERP implementation, it’s now time to see how your employees can counter the challenges posed by ERP implementation.
Why are employee training programs the backbone of successful ERP implementation?
The most significant challenge of companies is that they don’t give enough importance to employee training. They think that employees will grasp the required skills with time by themselves, which usually doesn’t happen. The reality is that without proper hand holding and employee training programs, the learning curve flattens. If the senior management fails to motivate the end-users to learn using the ERP system, they will not have any incentive to master it and resent the implementation of the new tool.
Let’s get a concrete understanding of why a training and development program is the backbone of successful ERP implementation, and why it’s necessary for the success of your employees.
1. Increased employee productivity.
Employees fail to take any initiative without efficient employee training programs. Instead, they wait for those who understand the nitty-gritty of the ERP software. On the other hand, the end-users can solve challenges without any external help if your organization creates employee-centric training programs. Moreover, they wouldn’t be required to refer to complicated documentations and training programs to remember every single function. A combination of these factors will result in increased employee productivity.
2. Makes the workforce more cost-efficient.
The best use of employee training is that your workforce will not have to always devise new ways of troubleshooting technical problems or wait for someone else to solve the issue. When your workforce is sufficiently trained to solve the challenges efficiently, you can rest assured that you are paying them for dealing with mission-critical issues instead of finishing trivial jobs. Initially, employee training programs might seem to be an extra overhead, but they help increase the employee cost-effectiveness substantially.
3. Makes the workforce more time-effective.
Learning and development programs are designed in a manner that enables employees to grasp skills for operating an ERP system. When your workforce will be able to use an ERP system to solve their daily challenges, they will save time and multiply their productivity. Learning programs are designed to help your workforce save time in troubleshooting technical faults by sticking to a particular blueprint.
4. Reduces the risk potential.
The critical benefit of using ERP software is that each department uses the same data repository to access crucial business data. This system provides dual benefits. Firstly, it allows each business department to be on the same page, making data redundancy and duplication error a thing of the past. Secondly, the fewer data repositories you have, the lower your exposure to cyber threats will be. Employee training is the surest way to lower your risk potential.
5. Helps retain the existing workforce.
Companies often look for recruiting new employees after implementing an ERP system. It’s because the existing workforce resists using the ERP system and avoids training sessions. But companies must remember that it takes time for new employees to blend in with the company’s Mission, Vision, and Values (MVV) and align themselves with the organization’s future goals. Also, old employees are more loyal to the organization and have a deep understanding of its functioning, processes, and objectives.
The main purpose of training programs is to implement proven tactics to motivate existing employees to learn how to operate ERP software. It has several benefits like:
a. No need to recruit new employees.
b. Retaining an existing workforce that is loyal and aligned to the organization’s goals.
c. Recruiting new employees every now and then puts immense pressure on the HR team and you might also have to shell out extra bucks in the process.
Employee training programs allow companies to develop core skills in their workforce to operate the ERP system efficiently. Employees often resist attending training sessions, which obstructs the company from achieving its long-term goals. Without an efficient training program, your company cannot draw significant benefits from the newly installed ERP software. All those months and efforts in implementing an ERP software will go in vain. So, it’s the responsibility of the senior management to brainstorm an effective training program and motivate the workforce to hone their technical skills and understand the nitty-gritty of the ERP system. Remember, that employees are the most essential part of your organization and without them, you cannot even think of surviving for long, let alone competing with other sharks in the industry. Also, keep in mind that retaining the existing workforce is better than recruiting new employees because they are more loyal and better aligned to your company’s long-term objectives. So invest in developing the core skills of your existing employees and get ready to draw significant benefits from your ERP system.
At Sage Software Solutions (P) Ltd., we are home to world-class ERP software and CRM software that will solidify your business tech support fundamentals and enable you to build a customer-centric organization. You can also write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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