Successful ERP Implementations Require Managing Fear of Change

Successful ERP implementations require managing fear of changePerception often exceeds reality. Such is life. For example: For me, the book is usually better than the movie. Why? I think it is because it is difficult to show people thinking and visually demonstrate what is going through their minds. It simply takes too long to relay thoughts and emotions in a movie compared to a book. However, technology has granted us some incredible, realistic visuals, so now the story can be told in ways that were not possible before. But still, it is rare for me when a movie out does the book.

So how does turning perception into reality relate to manufacturing ERP software? A successful implementation requires every level of a company to “buy into” the new product. If there is resistance to the new ERP system, the perception could be that the company did not need to change. We’ve all heard this before: “Things were fine with the old system, so why the change now?” Were things fine? Let me share one reality with you: Change can be difficult to sell.

Perhaps we need to communicate reality more clearly. If a company can improve efficiencies by implementing a new system, do employees deserve a clear, concise report on how this could happen? People are naturally looking to management for direction.

New systems are not about eliminating jobs as much as improving the ability to do the job. If an employee can perform more efficiently, they will have time to learn additional skills and increase their value to each other and the company. Accurate inventory transactions, correct invoicing and schedule updates are just a few areas that will benefit. Every job function has the potential to make a company more profitable and desirable to work for.

Training on a new system, following procedures and understanding business rules need to permeate the company. Motivation is key here. Keeping people engaged is the job of upper management. It should be an exciting time! Take a moment to celebrate when a huge task has been completed! Get the team together to show that reality can be as good as perception.

It is imperative that employees are told what the vision is for the company. That the vision can become reality through setting goals and planning steps required to accomplish those goals. The dreams, thoughts and visions of our minds can only be viewed by others if we articulate them properly. This should be done with passion and conviction if we hope to have employees follow that vision. Make every effort to give reality a chance to exceed perception.

What sort of resistance to change have you encountered at your workplace regarding the implementation of a new ERP system?

Neil Gow, IQMS Director of Manufacturing, has more than 30 years of experience in manufacturing, working as a technical expert in thermoplastics before joining IQMS. Neil is primarily responsible for the manufacturing, assembling, implementation and configuration of IQMS' production and process monitoring systems in customer facilities worldwide.