James is the IT manager of a fast-growing auto component manufacturer. Recently, his firm implemented SAP to streamline its operations and improve productivity. The ERP system was perfectly customized to meet the needs of the organization. Yet, the implementation failed to deliver the desired results. The reason – the company did not train its employees effectively on the enterprise software.
Does this story sound familiar? Poor training leads to lower rates of adoption of an ERP system by employees, and this has a negative effect on productivity, which in turn results in a low ROI on the enterprise software.
What does it take to impart good training on ERP applications?
You need to focus on 7 key aspects to enable your workforce use the ERP system efficiently.
1. Plan well and start early
It is very important to deliver training in the early stages of the ERP implementation. You need to start the training exercise at least 15 months before the system goes live. Given below is the ideal training schedule.
|Months before going live||Tasks to be completed|
|15 to 10|
|9 to 4|
|3 to 1|
2. Ensure that the implementation vendor provides in-person support
Many organizations, which have implemented ERP systems successfully, ensure that in-person support is provided by their implementation partner during the course of the implementation life cycle. Most companies use their implementation partners to train only the super-users, as the latter charge heavily for delivering the training. The super-users, who are trained thoroughly by the implementation partner, in turn train the end-users of the system.
3. Integrate training with the ERP implementation strategy
Many organizations make the mistake of viewing training on ERP as an activity distinct from implementation. This often results in training programs not getting the required time and money. You can overcome this problem by integrating training with the framework of your ERP implementation initiative. This allows you to allocate necessary resources for the training program, as with other components of the ERP implementation.
Proper integration also ensures that changes made to the system during the implementation are reflected in the training. Many companies begin to train their staff on ERP before they are fully implemented, and aligning training with the implementation ensures that the training stays “on track” and learners get trained on the actual system that is evolving.
4. Impart role-based training to your workforce
Role-based training calls for delivering training based on the role of the end-users, i.e. they are trained only on the functions and processes relevant to their job. For instance, if the role of a PO clerk involves creating purchase orders and sending them for approval, it would suffice if he is trained to perform these tasks using the ERP system. Role-based training ensures that learners practice only the tasks are related to their job. It helps them master the tasks quickly.
5. Document training materials in a proper manner
Proper documentation of training materials plays a key role in enabling your employees use the ERP system effectively. It will help them access learning resources easily to get the information needed to work with the enterprise software. It is better to use a Learning Management System (LMS) for delivering the training, as it helps you create a centralized repository of learning materials, which can be accessed seamlessly.
6. Track the progress of your learners
As with any other corporate training initiative, it is important to systematically track and evaluate the progress of your learners in the ERP training program. Staying on with the LMS, you can use the application to generate reports for measuring learner progress and analyzing the efficacy of the training program.
7. Seek feedback from your employees
You need to remember that ERP training is not a one-way affair. As your staff members become fully aware of their job-duties, they can provide valuable suggestions on utilizing the system in a more efficient manner. Many a time, these suggestions can be very useful in improving the quality of the ERP software implementation.
You can deliver highly effective ERP training by following these best practices. Would you like to add to this list? You’re most welcome.