Throwback Thursday: 10 Steps to Automation

Originally titled 'Throwback Thursday: 10 Steps to Automation'

An engineer-to-order ERP system may seem pricey at first, but the bottom-line results are the vital signs of every good moldmaker.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) continues to be a hot topic among moldmakers, so this throwback to a 2002 article seemed worth a revisit.  Here Weber Mfg. shares its simple 10-step process for selecting the best solution for your shop.

Understand the True Nature of ERP Implementation
ERP is a business undertaking, not a technology project. The ERP system is a tool that will affect every part of a moldmaking business. It will affect business processes and may lead to cultural changes within the organization. Clearly defined business objectives for the new system are essential during the selection process and must be defined at the beginning of the implementation.

Present the Project to Your Entire Organization Early in the Process 
Remove any mystery or potential fear associated with the implementation of a new ERP system. Since everyone will be affected by it, people should be aware of it. Over and over again during the implementation, the business reasons for implementing the new system must be reinforced, including the fact that the pain required by the implementation is justified based on the business benefits that the system will yield.

Choose the Right People to Lead the Implementation Project
The implementation team must include a wide range of disciplines and should have representation from every level of the organization. One person must be appointed as the leader of this team. That leader must have a broad understanding of the business and of the business objectives for implementing the system. Generally speaking, an IT person is not the best person to lead the implementation. Similarly, while the team should have the full backing of top management, top management should not lead the implementation.

Define the Roles and Responsibilities of the Implementation Team
The effort required to implement the ERP system is great. Determine whether the team members will be responsible for their normal day-to-day duties during the implementation or whether those duties can be handed off to someone else during the implementation. One of the most important roles of the implementation team is to serve as ambassadors for the ERP system to the rest of the organization. They must work to build acceptance of the new system throughout the organization.

Understand the Role of Top Management
Top management must articulate the business case for implementing the new ERP system. This information should be shared with everyone in the organization. Top management also must make sure that the implementation team is focusing on these goals as part of the implementation process. Finally, top management must stand behind the implementation team and publicly support its efforts.

For the other five check out the full article.

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