Nowadays most businesses whether service provider companies or manufacturing companies need an ERP system to support their business functions. But at the same time, just having an ERP system is not enough. ERP consultants are the ones who are specialized in managing and implementing ERP systems and contribute to very efficient resource planning. ERP Consultants helps to delegate the task as per the timeline of the project, enabling a seamless process in a company.
What is an ERP and what does it do ?
ERP or Enterprise Resource Planning is a system of collected software and other digital tools that manage everyday business functions and activities. It can be in a cloud, on the company premises or in a combination of two. ERP’s primary role is to streamline the processes such as accounting, procurement, supply chain operation, project management, risk management, planning, budgeting & creating financial reports
ERP System allows the employees to achieve the company goals on time with few distractions.
Now-a-days ERP is raging in popularity in many businesses and companies. ERP system basically helps the companies to run management, develop and improve activities to achieve the goals. It is a real management aid and that is why it is also called ERP for Integrated Management Software in French. ERP software centralizes all the necessary data for the company.
Now the question arises who can automate ERP systems for your business process? The answer is an ERP Consultant.
Who is an ERP Consultant?
An ERP Consultant is either a contract or permanent employee who is hired to implement, upgrade or support an ERP system for their business. ERP consultants focus to understand clients’ business processes through auditing and surveys of executives and employees to determine the best ERP system to meet the business need and industry standards. The ERP Consultant ensures the implementation of the system in a seamless manner to perform day-to-day functions as intended. They also coach all the staff in organizational change management.
Hence, it can be concluded as ERP Consultant play a pivotal role to benefit your business and achieve the organizational goals designated by the company.
So, now we will understand the need for an ERP Consultants.
Why do we need an ERP consultant?
ERP consultants have a vast knowledge of technical and functional aspects of different ERP software which can best fit into business type and management style. They are the people who develop, integrate, deploy, evaluate and maintain the different sets of ERP systems. Hence, for the successful integration of ERPs, the partnership between the company and ERP Consultant is very critical.
The main goal of an ERP Consultant is to simplify the business processes that save time and money in different ways. This will also increase the productivity and ease of work for the teams and simultaneously create space for different other activities. ERP Consultant guide and advise achieving the company’s goal.
ERP Consultant ensures an ERP solution that best fits the organization as per core business and management style. They have in-depth knowledge of the technical and functional aspects of different solutions of ERP. He is responsible for the successful integration of the software in the organization. ERP consultants are able to articulate knowledge around customer needs and business parts requiring technical assistance and digital transition. Hence, ERP Consultants are paramount to the success of good business and company digital transformation.
Thus, to give you a gist, an ERP consultant helps in :
- Selection of ERP system that best fits the company’s requirement.
- Implementation of the ERP system and making the process run seamlessly and effectively.
- Training of all the staff for the proper functioning of ERP.
- Support the company for growth to achieve organizational goals.
The stages of ERP consultation
Now that you have clearly understood who ERP Consultant is and their significant role in the business. It is very essential to understand all the stages of ERP Consultation. Based on the common path toward ERP implementation, ERP Consultant performs the task in three following steps.
- Assessing the current business: ERP Consultant first meets the executives to understand the current state of the business. They also conduct surveys and interact with staff to understand the different processes and their effectiveness.
- Planning for the future: ERP Consultant learns about the aspirations for future business and the set goals. They also look for the areas to be improved and insight for the solutions. At the same time, they also take suggestions to understand the culture, workflow, and processes for a better solution of a system that could fit the management.
- Design and Implementation: Once the company’s goals are learned, the ERP Consultant uses their expertise in the ERP systems to the creation of a system that meets the desired goals. They also conduct training programs for the employee on the new set of systems to educate them. They manage system installation and implementation.
What are the Skills of an ERP Consultant?
From the above content, it is very clear that the ERP Consultant surveys and analyse the business requirement on a wider scale for achieving the business goal. An ERP Consultant has a combination of skills that helps them to design and implement the best ERP system. Hence, it is very imperative to know and understand some stellar skills of an ERP Consultant.
- Technical Skills: ERP consultants have vast technical knowledge and experience to determine the best hardware and software to be implemented in the company as per the current market situation. They are the ones who interact with the vendors. Different vendors provide a wide variety of ERP systems, and the ERP Consultant knows the ins and outs of each system that fits into the company.
- HR and Management Skills : ERP Consultant play a vital role in the implementation of ERP systems that keep the project on track.With the hand on experience of ERP Consultant they have the sound ability to find the right people by trainings to staff for the project and delegate the task as per requirements so that all the processes run as per the timeline which inturn saves time. They have the key skills to manage the third party vendor and the internal team in the organization.ERP Consultant ensures that all the goals are met despite the challenges and pitfalls.
- Professional Skills : ERP implementations drive the business unit to achieve a higher level of efficiency.ERP Consultant core functional skills include accounting and finance, sales and marketing, supply chain management, material management and procurement processes. The skills are necessary for setting up workflow that can align to the different business processes.
- Soft Skills : An ERP implementation involves both the people of the organization as well as technology. This is a very important skill of an ERP Consultant since he is truly involved in collaboration, teamwork and conflict resolution. ERP Consultant works with the third party vendor as well as with the internal management. They need to have excellent communication skills as well as political acumen to build relationships within the organization and the different stakeholders.
So it can be concluded that ERP Consultant has vast knowledge and expertise.They act as advisors to give good advice for achieving the organizational goals.A sign of a good ERP Consultant can be defined as :
- A good consultant recognizes opportunities and avoids shortfalls.
- They are honest in their advice
- Knowledge is power, hence a good consultant’s experience is everything.
Why do companies hire ERP Consultants ?
A good ERP Consultant has a vast expertise and understanding that can streamline the processes and helps the organization to achieve the desired goals. They specialize in a particular industry or enterprise to give the best solution. Keeping that in mind an ERP Consultant will keep the project on track and whenever possible follow the path in terms of methodology, understanding and guiding the clients, mitigating the risk associated and play a vital role in change management.
Types of ERP Consultants
Since you must have understood that an ERP Consultant has vast knowledge and expertise which is indeed needed by a company to grow.. He is the resourceful individual who deals with lots of vendors and knows the technicality of ERP systems. Hence based upon their technical know how and hand on experience an ERP Consultant can be classified into different categories.
- ERP Financial Consultant : ERP financial consultants are one of the most popular amongst businesses. Financial plays a crucial role in running and streamlining the different processes in a company.They optimize the accounting and financial management of the company. ERP Consultant have deep knowledge and understanding on financial and accounting modules of ERP systems and therefore come up with the best ERP solution.
- ERP Business Management Consultant: ERP business management consultants have the technical knowledge on analyzing existing processes of an enterprise which may include HR management, customer management, etc. They help to determine the potential opportunities and improvements for achieving the desired goal.
- ERP Technical Services Consultant : ERP technical consultants provide services in one or two particular ERP software solutions.
- ERP Software Selection Consultant : ERP software selection consultants have vast knowledge on various industry ERP solutions. They develop an ERP requirement for the specific business line according to the audit performed by them in the organization. They are sometimes also involved in making surveys within the company outlining the solution as per the business goal.
- ERP Implementation & Training Consultant : These types of consultants look upon the implementation as a project manager and anticipate the timeline of the project so as to run the business operations smoothly.
- ERP Manufacturing Operations Consultant : Managing manufacturing business operation is a complex process since it involves the unit of procurement, production, packaging and shipping. ERP consultants in this field help in bringing best practices through simplifying and streamlining the information flow.
- ERP Warehouse Operations Consultant : The consultant helps to optimize inventory levels, streamlining the different processes efficiency and ensuring customer needs.
What kind of ERP Consultant do we need ?
As you have now known that ERP Consultants are of different types. A company hires an ERP Consultant based upon the requirement in the organization to grow into a profitable business. Also, as per the market situation an they taken into consideration. So a consulting firm sometimes chooses ERP Consultant for the total processes running in the company or sometimes chooses for a particular phase to deliver an end-to-end solution. Sometimes, they may focus on the financial aspects, functional side or some technical aspects that support the organization.
Finally an ERP Consultant needs to guide and advise on the requirements and business processes after identifying the gap and the unique processes for the overall growth of the Company.
Why is choosing an ERP Consultant important ?
Until now it must be very clear that ERP Consultant stands out as a central point of the growth of the company. They play a significant role in automation and integration of different processes for a business to run smoothly. Hence it is very important to choose the correct ERP Consultant for a company.Following points should be kept in mind for the same to bring out the best.
- Select the most suitable and appropriate ERP Consultant who can assess the ambition and understand the goals.Accordingly he will streamline the different business processes.
- ERP Consultant saves time by managing the staff end to end through proper training and delegation.They also identify the shortfalls and understand the opportunities which could profit the organization.
- They have a complete vision of the market.
What criteria a company should use to choose an ERP Consultant ?
Uptill now it is very evident that ERP Consultant is an essential part of the team and critical to the success of your business.Therefore following factors are vital while choosing an ERP Consultant.
- Knowledge and understanding of the Industry : ERP Consultant has abundant knowledge and experience in certain industries. They have the ability to calibrate the company’s vision and ambition and as per requirement fit to the organization.They are well versed with the different business processes and expert in aligning the ERP system as per the company operations.
- Scope of work offered : As discussed above there are many types of ERP Consultants. Hence it is very important to have an ERP Consultant who is able to match the size of the ERP implementation and with the scope of work offered by them.
- ERP Consulting Approach : One should seek out an ERP Consultant that starts from scratch on the analysis of the organization and solution designing.They build out solutions to support the unique process.
- Commitment to the business : Totally committed to the business and recognizes the challenges and opportunities. At the same time they also build solutions to avoid pitfalls.
Now it must be very clear to you that having the most appropriate ERP Consultant which suits business as well as current market requirements is very important. Since they play a major role in identifying the major gaps and making the best ERP solutions as per market trend which help the business to grow in a timeline.They play an essential part of the team which helps to run the processes efficiently and smoothly and discover the best.They have the ability to select and implement the best ERP system for achieving the organizational goals.