Implementing an ERP system can seem daunting, but with the right planning, the process can be relatively pain free.
Everhard Industries is a 94-year-old, fourth generation, family-owned Australian manufacturer of drainage systems. For 20 years, it had relied on an on-premises QAD ERP solution, but Everhard’s head of IT, Steve Dobe, knew the business would benefit from upgrading its ERP. However, he also understood that its success would depend on uptake by the wider team, who were used to the legacy QAD system.
“[The ERP system] had not been upgraded for about 10 years. The hardware that it was sitting on was probably five or six years old, everything was getting a bit old.” Dobe told NetSuite. “We certainly had a strong desire for growth and sustainability and we weren't really getting that from what we had.”
Everhard selected NetSuite over Microsoft Dynamics, SYSPRO, Pronto and an upgrade to QAD, due largely to its ease of use, Dobe said. Once it had made the decision to go with NetSuite, Dobe began scoping out the implementation, making sure the business could still run as normal throughout the deployment.
“It was really important to ensure that when we turned it on, we could continue trading and our partners wouldn't know that we changed,” he said. “We could still manufacture and distribute product without impacting the customer.”
With any ERP implementation, it’s important to know what you want to accomplish and how each process could be improved, because it’s an opportunity to introduce new ways of doing things, as well as automating old processes, which Dobe recognised. “We really kept the scope to what we needed,” Dobe said. “And it was important that we didn't lose any functionality that we had already had as well.”
Another vital component of a successful ERP checklist is training with the new system. This was especially true for Everhard, as its on-premises solution had been used at the business for two decades, and changing old habits can be hard.
“We identified key players from the business for each of the different major processes, got them involved, got them trained up and got them practicing early,” Dobe said. “NetSuite suggests having two walkthroughs — I think we had five."
This commitment to ERP best practices helped to ensure the implementation was a success. Live on NetSuite since May, Dobe can now reflect on this experience. “I've done a few ERP implementations and I'd say it's by far the smoothest transition that I've seen,” he said.
Everhard chose NetSuite SuiteSuccess, meaning its ERP was deployed with pre-configured KPIs, workflows, reminders, reports and value-driven dashboards, meaning minimal customisations. “Moving to a system like NetSuite, we were confident that their processes would be fairly tried and true, and they have been,” he said. “We haven't done any modifications.”
Switching from on-premises to cloud-based ERP is a long-term decision for any business, but Everhard is already seeing benefits. “The biggest change that we've seen is usage,” he said. “The confidence in what you're seeing is there. The auditability of the system we've found to be just awesome.”
Is your business still running on an on-premises solution? Discover more about the benefits of cloud ERP.
Watch the video below for more insights from our chat with Steve Dobe.