Using ERP without the stabilisers

There are a few instances in your life where you learn the hard way about the importance of practice. One of those times is the first time you try to ride your bike without stabilisers. If you get a bit too confident, you’re likely to find yourself hurtling at breakneck speed towards the nearest solid object, too shocked to remember where the brakes are! It only needs to happen once for you to have a few more practice runs on a slightly flatter surface! It might be a cliché but it’s true; practice makes perfect.

It’s a lesson that’s likely to be at the forefront of your mind when it comes to learning to drive, because very few people would attempt to do it on their own before they’ve passed their test. Those that have suffered consequences a bit more serious than a grazed knee and wounded pride.

So far, so obvious, right? And yet, when it comes to a business and their ERP system, managers seem to be more than happy for under trained staff members to take a ride around their business management software without stabilisers, a helmet or even a cycling proficiency certificate.

Metaphorically speaking of course.

A driving license costs money. Any law abiding citizen with a bit of common sense can see why you should use your time and money to ensure that you’re skilled enough to drive confidently and safely. You wouldn’t consider employing someone to drive your company’s fleet of vehicles or operate heavy machinery without the relevant training, and the same should be said about your ERP system.

After all, misuse of it can be costly and cause untold damage to the infra-structure of a business. Frustratingly, the cost of instruction and training will more often than not be the first thing that’s negotiated downward.

Ironically, the vendor offering the greatest number of training days will usually be one of the first to be crossed off the list of potential ERP providers. Reduce the days of training or the amount of staff trained and the knock-on effect will be that any new members of staff are being trained by colleagues who don’t really know enough about the system.

The blind leading the blind… on a bike… without stabilisers… careering downhill!

The consequences, unsurprisingly, can be disastrous. Users without the right skills, who aren’t qualified enough to use the ERP system, will inevitably make errors, repeatedly, without being aware of it and without having these errors corrected.

The system intended to increase efficiency and productivity will be doing almost precisely the opposite, and probably costing you money too.

It won’t surprise you to hear that the point of this piece is to recognise the importance of training. Make sure you have enough of it, at the right time, to the right amount of people. Not only when a new system is implemented, but also when it’s being upgraded and when new employees join the company.

Because if you haven’t practiced enough by the time the stabilisers come off, your business will be suffering from a lot more than a grazed knee!

Written by Mark Blackmore , QBS Group

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