Minimizing Change Orders
Posted on: November 16, 2023 | By: Meaghan Andrews | QAD Manufacturing
ERP implementations can be complex endeavors filled with unexpected challenges, but there are ways to reduce the number of frustrating change orders that often plague such projects. In hindsight, many change orders can be foreseen even before a project begins. In this article, we’ll share three strategies aimed at minimizing change orders and reducing disruptions.
1. Define the Real Scope of Work
Understanding the true extent of work required is crucial. Some consulting firms provide estimates that only consider the tasks they’ll handle, leaving out important client-side responsibilities like data conversion and end-user documentation. This approach may lead to lower initial cost estimates, but it often results in budget overruns and disputes later in the project. To avoid this, ensure that all necessary tasks are accounted for in the initial estimate, even if they are expected to be handled by the client.
2. Assemble A-Player Teams for the Design Phase
The Design phase is where the majority of the inspiration and optimization occur in an ERP project. It’s essential to have top-notch teams from both the consulting firm and your internal project team leading this phase. Be cautious of claims about “out-of-the-box industry best practice templates” that promise a plug-and-play solution. While such templates may work for routine processes like Accounts Payable, they often fall short in areas where your company’s competitive advantages lie, such as Supply Chain, Manufacturing, or Engineering. A-Players with industry expertise and strong interpersonal skills are needed to guide the project and challenge traditional thinking. From the client side, ensure that your team understands both the current pain points and the desired future state of your business. A well-executed Design phase sets the tone for the rest of the project, enhancing efficiency.
3. Allocate Sufficient Resources
One common reason for change orders is a lack of available resources from the client’s side. While executive management may express support for the project, resource constraints and competing priorities often hinder their ability to commit the necessary time and personnel. This can result in a project falling behind schedule, with IT making critical decisions instead of the business team. To prevent this, ensure that your A-Players are available for the project and engaged in decision-making. A strong and involved Steering Committee can help mitigate resource-related risks, provided they commit to regular involvement.
It’s important to note that even with these strategies in place, unexpected change orders may still arise due to new customer requirements, design oversights, or unforeseen opportunities like business acquisitions. However, encountering these types of change orders may indicate that your project is on the right track, as they often result from an evolving business environment rather than poor execution.
In conclusion, while ERP implementations are inevitably complex, proactive planning and a focus on thorough scope definition, skilled teams, and resource allocation can significantly reduce the number of frustrating change orders. By adopting these strategies, you can enhance the chances of a successful ERP project that meets your business objectives with minimal disruptions.
If you are interested in learning more about minimizing change orders, contact us here to find out how we can help you grow your business. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (312) 345-8817.
2020 Nucleus Research Report on ERP Technology