Years after a previous ERP implementation did not go as expected, a global manufacturer resumed – and succeeded – implementation at all sites.
When a project does not yield the necessary results, one response is avoiding the same type of project in the future.
That is what a global steel and iron production and manufacturing company did after attempting a company-wide implementation of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. The project had technical challenges and hurdles in the first rollout, so the company held off plans to continue implementation at more sites.
Years later, the company decided to continue implementing the ERP system. They created a team of technical and change management consultants to streamline implementation at locations around the world.
LaMarsh Global provided change management strategy, support and training to leadership and site teams in advance of a three-phased implementation. On the go-live day for the first phase, leaders and employees commented that it was a “non-event.”
History wasn’t repeated and the company proceeded into the second and third phases at sites in the United States, China and the United Kingdom. Although some phases had a few technical difficulties, the challenges were identified and managed, and every phase of the implementation was successful.
Change projects that are a “second attempt” can experience more employee hesitation or suspicion. If it didn’t work once, why will it work this time?
However, this situation can offer unique insights for leaders and change practitioners. Acknowledging any historical challenges and understanding what went wrong (and what went right) will help affirm that upcoming efforts will be far different than prior attempts.
A steel and iron production and manufacturing company with global operations.
After a previous attempt to implement a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system was problematic, the company wanted to continue and complete implementation.
The company was preparing to implement a single-instance ERP system across all locations using a phased approach. Years before, the company attempted a similar ERP implementation, but the project did not have the desired outcomes. Many employees were concerned the results would the same so were hesitant to go through a similar process.
Leaders of the business units were empowered to customize processes and technology to meet their specific needs. Even though the company had operations on multiple continents, they were effective at training, communication and collaboration.
The foundation was set, but the negative history with the previous ERP implementation created hesitancy and concern that this next attempt would be difficult.
LaMarsh Global partnered with the program manager, business lead and a system integrator consulting company to develop the strategy, governance, decision-making processes and roles and responsibilities.
- Conducted enterprise design sessions to set the parameters for current state assessment and future state designs
- For every location, a change risk and readiness assessment were completed and a change management strategy was developed.
- Guided a Leadership Learning Series to the executive team, including division leaders and manufacturing plant presidents.
- Delivered change management training to the project team.
- Contributed to the development of a cohesive project schedule and supporting plans.
To improve continuity across all phases, LaMarsh Global partnered with the project manager and business lead to develop internal change management capability. Two individuals from every location were selected to lead the change management effort at their site, and LaMarsh Global supported and prepared these individuals in their respective projects.
The three phases of the ERP implementation were completed over three years. At the first site, the go-live day was described as a “non-event” and 100% of the KPIs were met within the specified timeframe.
Even through the following phases had a few more technical challenges, the leadership and change management resources were prepared and the problems were resolved.
Compared to the ERP implementation years ago, these attempts succeeded, and change management competency was established in key members of the IT and business teams.