As the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the world, manufacturing organizations, like other businesses, shifted operations to remote work. Processes that normally happened in person or were performed manually needed to become electronic, quickly. Changing consumer demand, shifting business models, and possible future stay-at-home orders have further highlighted the need for transformation. But what does COVID-19 mean for transformation projects?
Some organizations have stopped transformation initiatives while others have shifted or accelerated plans. Software integrators also needed to adapt in response to changing business conditions to look at how projects can be delivered 100% remote without compromising quality and while protecting the health of project team members and their colleagues.
While many technology consultants aren’t strangers to working remote, ERP implementations, specifically the project kickoff, conference room pilot, and go-live launch, are historically in-person activities, with milestone and go-live celebrations. ERP implementations are complex, large projects, and the project team is often responsible for day-to-day activities on top of implementing the new system and reimaging how work gets done. In-person celebrations help maintain momentum and enthusiasm for the project, but can you get the same results virtually?
Amid lockdown in several countries due to the coronavirus pandemic, virtual sessions have been successful in moving implementations forward and keeping projects on time; discoveries, prototyping, and video conferencing, as well as virtual manufacturing plant and warehouse tours have proved effective for manufacturers upgrading or migrating their ERP solution.
Virtual tours may not be the same as watching ice cream being packed into cartons or fruit juice being produced live, but it does offer the benefit of staying in the comfort of homes while watching the process on computers and mobile devices. Participants learn how products are made from the first production steps to the final product with ability to ask questions and share information. Team members are safely social distanced and manufacturers can keep their transformation projects moving forward.
Other barriers have also been removed. It’s easier to coordinate schedules and technologies, such as white boarding and instant messaging, to make idea exchange interactive. Virtual meetings allow for instant feedback on the technology, workflow, and process. These meetings can also be recorded so people unable to attend get access to the same information and insight into how decisions are made.
Proof is in the Go-Live
Avaap recently announced another Infor M3 go-live at a second site for Ornua Foods, a global leader in providing wholesome, natural dairy products to consumers and manufacturers. The implementation was one of the first to switch almost entirely remote, with a handful of employees being on-site for the go-live event. Through use of technology and online collaboration tools, the team was able to deliver the same high-quality service, partnership, and support that should be expected during the implementation project.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also sparked innovation in how teams are staffed. With geography limitations removed, the team was able to include top talent from Europe, North America, and India for an on-time delivery.
Committing to Change
In addition to highlighting the move to remove work, the global pandemic also put light on the need for change agility and a strategic change management plan. Employees are still adjusting to the switch to remote work, and with a new system and process, will need to adapt to greater change. Resistance to change is a natural reaction, so it’s important to keep in mind that organizations don’t change, people do. Incorporating change management into the project plan can help identify the desired behavior changes needed to achieve results, accelerate user adoption, and support your organization in building internal agility and management capabilities to ensure project success.
Pivot to Remote
Software implementation can be challenging under normal circumstances, but remote work is here to stay – at least for the short term. An experienced team will know how to cover the technical aspects as well as ensure robust communication and collaboration during the process. Our goal is to reach an efficient go-live with the team able to use the system and business leaders confident they’ll be able to achieve the goals they set out to accomplish.
While video conferencing will never replace the in-person experience, we’ve worked remotely enough to make it feel like you’re right there. As we continue to engage remotely, we’re paying attention to the lessons learned and how to leverage them for our clients going forward.