Most manufacturers have some type of ERP system in place. However, many of these systems are on-premises legacy systems built before today’s innovations, like remote work, artificial intelligence, or advanced analytics. When new middle management comes into a business that has one of these legacy systems, it is easy to see how a cloud-based ERP software could significantly improve operations, communication, and even the bottom-line. But first you need to have executive buy-in, which can be tricky to attain at best, and exceedingly frustrating at worst.
Most executives aren't day-to-day users of the system, and can be put off by the initial cost and time commitment of upgrading ERP without seeing all the benefits, so the status quo continues to look like the best option.
However, you can rest assured there are ways to break through those objections and demonstrate the value-added by ERP. In this article, we'll help you gain executive buy-in for ERP.
1. Understand Why Executive ERP Buy-in Is Vital
ERP buy-in is not merely a green light for finance to put upgrading ERP into next year's budget. This is a critical business decision. The executives need to understand what they are investing in so they can fully support it and be involved in the business decisions that must be made at an executive level because they impact the whole company. They need to understand how their choices align with business goals to achieve ultimate success, and executive buy-in must be total because once the transition begins, they must be willing to commit the human resources needed to make it a success.
Half-heartedly rolling out a cloud-based ERP would be worse than sticking with that ancient legacy ERP they currently trust.
2. Sell Them on Automation
Automation takes repetitive, monotonous tasks out of people's hands so that they can use more of the higher-level thinking skills that they are paid to use. ERP also eliminates a lot of the duplications going on when people use legacy systems. You probably will not have to talk to too many supervisors to hear about work that must be repeated or data that must be entered into multiple systems because of a lack of automation. On top of this, mundane tasks cause people to zone out, which increases the risk of error and quality control challenges.
3. Share What Cross-Departmental Collaboration & Synergy Can Do for a Company
ERP software tears down silos in a single factory, across locations, across borders, and even across third-party partnerships. It does this by centralizing communications and automatically transferring need-to-know data across interdependent departments. So, as needed, human resources, manufacturing, shipping, raw materials purchasing, and accounting are all working with the same up-to-date information.
This allows a company to:
- Prevent bottlenecks and address them quickly
- Identify and reduce inefficiencies
- Enhance quality
- Improve customer experience
- Better understand productivity to improve it
- Improve morale
- Lower purchasing costs
- Reduce overhead, overtime, and other costs
Each of these equals greater profit-making potential.
4. Point Out the Value of Real-Time Business Intelligence
"But we're already able to run reports on our legacy ERP." You can probably already hear the objections, but cloud-based ERP data is different. It is:
Because the ERP is centralized, cross-departmental, and securely accessible by mobile devices, executives can trust they're always looking at the most up-to-date "snapshots" of every critical juncture in the supply chain, often in real-time.
Data is only useful if it's in a usable form. Advanced ERP software combines information, analyzes it, and presents it automatically in the most useable forms possible, often visually, so that it can be understood and acted upon quickly to make the most data-driven decisions
Because ERP centralizes communications and operations management in one multi-faceted tool, executives can see how everything is working together with the ability to drill down when something isn't working and streamline everything.
5. Tailor the Pitch & Time the Talk
A Harvard Business Review study found that "tailoring the pitch" and "timing the talk" were some of the most essential tools you have to attain executive buy-in. On the surface, cutting costs and increasing profits probably top the list of what's important to an executive, but we'd encourage you to look deeper. Each executive has a unique set of goals, visions, beliefs, and concerns, even if collectively all of the executives agree on where the company is going. You can use these to craft your message.
What about timing? ERP is not an abstract concept. The benefits of ERP for manufacturing are very tangible. They can be impactful on the bottom line, so talking about ERP when the challenges of sticking with that legacy ERP become clear can become your defining moment. You should avoid appearing to be saying, "I told you so", but have your ducks in a row so you're ready when these moments present themselves. You can share how cloud-based ERP software is the solution and further chances of getting ERP buy-in. In all likelihood, you will not have to wait long for these moments to present themselves, so vigilance is a virtue in the pursuit of your boss' ERP buy-in.
ERP Software Buy-in
Obtaining ERP buy-in isn't only important to get it on the budget. That buy-in is key to successful implementation. Are you still wondering how to get executive buy-in? We encourage you to talk with us about the barriers you're facing and let us work with you to demonstrate ERP's value to executive leadership.
Our team can customize a cloud-based NetSuite ERP that supports business goals and delivers the ROI executives need to see to know their buy-in was the right move, and that you've proven yourself an asset to the company. Let's connect.