The enterprise resource planning software is a program that combines an array of applications to ensure that different business processes such as customer service and product planning are accessible on one system. In turn, enabling such access improves the organization’s security and efficiency, but only if the employees can correctly operate the technology. Implementation of an ERP system at Brewton Enterprises requires that the old system is phased out, which poses a significant challenge since most of the employees were trained on the older systems and may resist the change (Kerr et al., 2012). In turn, the new system may stress Brewton’s employees since they were already comfortable with the older system, leading to absenteeism and a decline in productivity. Training Brewton’s employees in the new ERP system is essential to reducing resistance to the change among the employees, as well as to explain the benefits employees will receive from using the system. In this case, Brewton Enterprises needs to prioritize ERP training and provision of training resources without disrupting business processes, while also monitoring the training process consistently to ensure their employees’ progress (Kerr et al., 2012). This paper presents a training plan for Brewton’s employees to prepare them for the changeover to an ERP system.
ERP Training Schedule of Activities
The ERP changeover training scope for Brewton Enterprises will include several components. To begin with, Brewton will provide resources with an overview of the ERP system and its benefits to the organization as part of the changeover analysis phase. This activity, which is instructor-led, will last for one session and should involve members of the core team from both the back office and front office functions (Kerr et al., 2012). The second phase of the training involves training of the core team, which will form part of the ERP solution design phase and entails hands-on training to aid the core team offer their input as part of the design process. This phase will consist of two training sessions with each session lasting two weeks. The third phase involves ‘train-the-trainer’ sessions, which is similarly hands-on training. During this phase, the trainees will learn about the end-user training content and roles for one week to provide the necessary skills for the trainees to provide end-user training (Kerr et al., 2012). The final training phase I end-user training, in which the trainers will use information from their training sessions to train back and front office staff in the skills needed to operate the ERP system.
Training materials should be based on the learning objectives of the training sessions, which will help in determining the content that will be developed for the core team or ‘super-users’ and for the end-users or ‘power-users’. Brewton Enterprises will first provide both core users and end-users with a learner’s manual that defines the expectations of using ERP, as well as the desired outcomes of its use (Esteves, 2014). In this case, targeted training materials for different business functions will be developed based on the objectives of respective business operations. The employees will also receive real world experience using simulations that provide an opportunity for the employees to explore all the ERP features they would require in their workplace, while also using feedback from the employees to improve or modify specific ERP function. The main training method to be used by Brewton Enterprises is configuration-level training, in which the core users learn about all the core application modules that will be implemented. The technical training for core users will focus on the use of the ERP software for end-to-end business operations and will include system administration, development, and report writing (Esteves, 2014). Apart from configuring specific module functionalities, the training also seeks to integrate different modules in the overall business operation and processes.
Training and Maintaining Business Operations
As aforementioned, it is important to ensure that the training process does not interfere with the business operations, which should be factored into the training plan. Managing the changeover to the ERP system will require that Brewton Enterprises has strong project management practices in place, specifically by including employees familiar with the business functions or operations (Kapp et al., 2016). This team would then focus on concise and clear goals, as well as project priorities, and must be empowered to maintain business operations on the old system by the organization if required. The organization should also ensure that the employee buy into the changeover by creating awareness across the entire company, which will ensure that all departments have a stake in the change. Failure to ensure buy-in will create resistance to the changeover in specific departments, which will hinder the successful operation of the business. Further, to ensure business operations continue during training, Brewton Enterprises should use feedback from the employees to customize the ERP solution in order to mitigate any gap in controls and processes that could hinder business operations (Kapp et al., 2016). Finally, Brewton Enterprises should devote adequate resources and time to training and consider training as a critical priority, which will ensure the employees are fully capable of changing over to the new system without hindering business operations.
The ERP changeover at Brewton Enterprises faces significant challenges and pitfalls to its success, especially with regard to the employees’ knowledge and acceptance of a new technology. In this case, training will reduce resistance to the change, while also minimizing breaks in business operations as the organization moves to a new platform.
- Esteves, J. M. (2014). An empirical identification and categorisation of training best practices for ERP implementation projects. Enterprise Information Systems, 8(6), 665-683
- Kapp, K. M., Latham, W. F., & Ford-Latham, H. (2016). Integrated learning for ERP success: A learning requirements planning approach. Boca Raton: CRC press
- Kerr, D., Burgess, K. J., Houghton, L., & Murray, P. A. (2012). Improving training in enterprise resource planning systems implementation through communities of practice. International Journal of Learning and Change, 6(3-4), 207-222