ERP software can help your shop in many ways, but only if your employees know how to use it. Training your employees is important, and there is a lot to consider. Training is a huge part of implementing new ERP software, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Learn more about what training materials to use, how to make a plan to train employees, and what happens after you’ve trained them.

Use the Vendor’s Training Materials

Often the best place to start is with training materials from the vendor. After all, they know their software best. Vendors should have multiple options for training because each option can fill a different purpose.

For example, vendors will likely offer training videos. These videos are often the cheapest option for training your employees. Some vendors will have longer videos that go more in-depth, and others will have shorter videos that offer quick solutions. Each of these videos serves a different kind of purpose. The shorter videos are great for quick reminders of things employees have already learned, as well as teaching them simpler parts of the ERP software.

Vendors could also offer the option of classroom training. With this option, you send some of your employees to the vendor’s site to learn. This option is more expensive, but it allows your employees to ask questions and get more detailed answers. However, you also have to balance which employees need to have a full understanding of the system with which employees you can spare from the shop floor for travel time and the classes.

The most immersive option that vendors offer is to have a consultant come to you. This is the most expensive option, but it allows your shop to have the undivided attention of an expert in the software and ensures that your shop has a solid understanding of how to make the software work best for your needs. Before the consultant comes out, you plan for what you want to accomplish while they’re visiting. Then, when they get to your shop, they’ll get everything done in the time you’ve agreed upon. That way you know exactly what you’ll get and how long it’ll take.

Another helpful thing is an online community. Here, customers can interact with other users. They can ask questions, share tips and tricks, and offer suggestions for future features. An online community is helpful to see answers to common questions or to compare notes with other, similar manufacturers on how they use the software. It also gives you the chance to have a say in what features they’ll write for the software next.

Make a Plan

training employees in the shopThere are several things to consider when making a plan to train employees on ERP software. One good place to begin is thinking about how long training will take. This may vary with different employees. For example, if you’re teaching one employee how to work with the data collection software, but teaching someone else shipping and quality, it will take the second employee much longer to learn everything. You may not need an idea of when each employee will be done training, but it’s helpful to have an idea of how long it will take.

It’s also good to consider when you want to start running the new software. Maybe you want to wait until the end of the year or maybe you want to start your ERP software as soon as possible. You also should decide if you want to run your new software alongside the system you’re using now, or if you want to start using only the new software. Each method has pros and cons, so you should consider which works best for your shop.

You also will want to think about how you’ll train employees on what they need to know.  For example, classroom training is great, but you probably can’t send your whole shop in. Once those employees get back, you may supplement what they learned with some of the vendor’s training videos.

It’s also helpful to designate one person in your shop as the go-to person for everything to do with onboarding the ERP software. That way when an employee has a question, they can go to one person and get an answer based on a solid understanding of the software. In addition, if this person keeps getting the same question from different people, they know that they may need to cover that question with everyone.

You want to involve everyone in the shop in order to implement the new software efficiently.  Ideally, ERP software will save the company time and money and make everyone’s jobs easier, but you’ll only get those results if everyone buys in and uses it.

After Training

Initially training everyone on ERP software is a large task, but it’s never fully done. Over time, ERP vendors will come out with new features or updates for their software. It’s helpful to have your go-to person look at these features and upgrades to see if they could be beneficial for your shop. If your software is on the cloud, it’s possible that upgrades are automatic. Your point person should stay up-to-date on the new features so they can decide if people in your shop need extra training.

Even if you don’t get new features in your software, it’s also good to consider how often you want to retrain employees. There may be things they learned about, didn’t use, and forgot about that could benefit your shop later. You also want to make sure that new employees learn how to use ERP software in the most efficient way. Employees with seniority can teach newer people best practices for your shop.

In order to keep using the software efficiently, it’s helpful to make goals for how you want this software to improve your company. Do you want to increase on-time shipments by 10% in the first six months? Improve the bottom line by 5% in the first year? Set some goals before training begins, so you know exactly what to track when setting up the software.

Once you establish your goals, it’s important to let your employees know about them. This is helpful for a couple of reasons. If your employees know about your shop’s goals, they can see their role and help you reach them. It also shows your employees what’s important in your shop, so they know what to focus on. Informing your employees of company goals gets everyone involved and working towards common targets.

There’s a lot that goes into training employees on a new ERP system. However, you will see the benefits as soon as they’re fully trained. One thing is sure; your employees won’t use new ERP software if they don’t know how. With the guidelines above, you can create a plan to make sure everyone is properly trained.

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