Selecting a manufacturing ERP system can be a lengthy, time-consuming process that often involves many people from different departments. Sometimes this process results in closed-door decision-making between the selection team and management. It may be easier to take this approach and only divulge details to a select few, but this can backfire and become a source of resistance among other employees.
While good communication is among the top success factors to consider when selecting and implementing an ERP system, it is often one of the most overlooked. How can you prevent this?
Begin with a communications plan
No matter your company size, to communicate effectively you should first develop a communications plan for your project. This plan will begin before any selection activities occur and continue after the ERP software implementation.
If you are part of a large organization, you may need a communications manager to keep everyone, internally and externally, in the loop. If you are a smaller organization, having a plan and using a project management system can help keep everyone informed and on track.
Keep a two-way communication channel open throughout the process
Keeping a two-way communication channel open during the ERP selection process will not only allow for important feedback, it helps keep the process on track, helps with managing expectations, and creates goodwill with employees not directly involved in the project.
In a communication strategy, the most important part might just be managing your people. Employees need to understand what the selection team is doing and how those decisions will impact them. People can be resistant to change, but communicating the project's purpose, goals, and impact is the best way to get everyone to embrace the changes that are coming.
Your ERP project communications could happen via a newsletter, departmental meetings, project management system, company-wide web conferences, or something else entirely. Whichever communications strategy you take, it is so much better than a closed-door process. Just remember, an effective communications plan begins before ERP selection team is created and lasts until after the system is up and running.