How are you at home renovations? Me, I always thought of myself as a capable guy, although I would never dare call myself a craftsman! I have completed, proudly, my share of renovations, but I also had my share of do-overs. You know, the jobs you’re just not happy with, sure sometimes you can live with it but others eat away at you and eventually you tear it out and do it right. We all like to believe in our capabilities,our skills and our self confidence to get a job done. The trick is to know when you’re in over your head or when the amount of time and effort you will spend doing it won’t justify the result.
The same holds true with an erp implementation. How much you can do verses how much the vendor should do is always the magic question. There are always things that you should do, it’s your business and nobody knows it better than you. The trick is to know when your time is better spent. I renovated a bathroom once , my wife and kids were at the cottage, I had the weekend to myself and I did a great job. It took a total of 24 hours, two 12 hour days and bingo, beautiful bathroom! The kitchen reno was different it came at a time when I was run off my feet, working 10 hour days and then coming home to work on the kitchen. It didn’t take long for me to call in the pros! The problem is, when a pro comes in after you’ve started, they add time to inspect what you did and time to correct what you did. That just adds insult to injury, not only is your time wasted but so is your money.
In all organizations there are down times, some down times are longer than others and some disappear quickly and business comes out of the blue. If you’re planning an erp implementation, you need to remember that your staff already have jobs to do and adding to their list can be a double edged sword. There will always be a need for their involvement, it’s part of learning how to use a system. In fact, if they are involved in its set up they will have a better understanding of the system and be more effective users. The most successful implementations are the ones where both the vendor (pros) and the users (diy) work together and get to understand each others capabilities. They communicate in such a way that each one learns from the other, the vendor learns the more intricate details of the business, what works effectively and what doesn’t. The user learns the system and how it can help them do their job and the features that will make life easier.
The key is understanding the value created when your staff perform a task and the value in having the vendor do it. I will be clear here in my, albeit humble, opinion it is never a good thing to go all or nothing. If you try and implement a system, any system, all by yourself without vendor assistance, you are, like the lawyer who represents himself, a fool! If you work with the vendor, soliciting and accepting guidance, you can get alot accomplished and avoid costly errors and most of all, when you get the pros involved they won’t be correcting everything you’ve done. Neither, do I feel, is it a good thing to have the vendor do it all for you. Sure it’s nice to come to work Monday morning and get handed the login to a perfectly set up system and off you go. Oh if only it were that simple! That’s why you sit down with a contractor and discuss a remodel before you let them loose in your home, if you don’t you end up with a dysfunctional mess. It’s an even trickier situation when it comes to your business. Just like you getting lost in their system and them having to redo your mistakes, they can make assumptions that may have worked elsewhere but not in your business, so they have to redo it to make you happy. Again this costs time and money. The reoccurring theme here is communication, get that right and the rest will be a comfortable and successful collaboration!