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Why Do Some ERP Implementations Fail?

Written by Laura Schomaker

September 28, 2023

ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. This software helps support a company’s day-to-day operations, handling everything from risk management to accounting and the supply chain.

Because ERP manages so many aspects of a business, successful implementation is crucial for creating a thriving business. Besides day-to-day operations, businesses also rely on ERP for:

  • Inventory management
  • Customer relationship management (CRM)
  • Human resources
  • Production and manufacturing
  • Aiding project managers
  • Product lifecycle management
  • Streamlining your business process

The ERP software offers a fully integrated platform you can integrate with other applications and modules to support your business operations completely.

Understanding the reasons behind ERP implementation failure is essential for creating strategies for avoiding ERP issues in the long term. In this article, we’ll delve deeper into them, explore case studies of ERP implementation, and uncover the keys to launching an ERP system successfully.

The Promise of ERP Systems

Your business operations have the potential for a massive positive transformation with an ERP systems integrator. Here are some benefits and advantages of the ERP implementation process:

1. Streamlined Operations

Because ERPs can integrate many business processes, they can improve worker efficiency and eliminate data silos. This can be especially helpful for reducing manual workloads and improving resource allocation.

2. Enhanced Data Accuracy

An ERP system is centralized, which helps reduce errors and ensure consistency throughout the organization. Better quality data sets provide a solid foundation for strong decision-making.

3. Cost Savings

One of the best perks of ERP is the cost savings potential that it can offer your business. ERP automates and streamlines company operations, which aids in reducing inventory costs and making business operations more cost-effective.

4. Improved Customer Service

ERP systems are also quite useful for managing customer relationships. ERP systems enable improved service quality through quicker order processing and improved communication.

When successfully implemented, ERP can be widely helpful in boosting operations and increasing profits. There are many examples of this, such as American snack company Cadbury, which utilized ERP to improve their production and distribution. They ultimately reduced operating costs while the supply chain flourished.

The Harsh Reality: ERP Implementation Failure Statistics

The truth is that ERP implementation failures happen often. It’s projected that between 55% and 75% of ERP projects fail or fall short of the intended results. 80% of ERP customers are unhappy with their current solutions, and 90% of ERP systems offer no tangible ROI (return on investment).

Looking at the above data, it is clear that many of the ERP solutions out there require serious improvement and overhaul. Understanding your business needs is the first step to finding a system that truly unleashes your potential.

Identifying the Culprits: Common Causes of ERP Implementation Failure

Successful ERP implementation requires that you have a firm understanding of the most common causes of ERP implementation failures and how to address them before it’s too late. Here are some of the most common culprits:

 1. Lack of proper planning and preparation

Successful ERP implementation always begins with proper planning and preparation. You can accomplish this by outlining your business’s needs, wants, vulnerabilities, and both short-term and long-term goals. Once you have this information outlined, it becomes much easier to find an ERP system that matches your operational needs.  

2. Insufficient employee training and resistance to change

High-quality employee training is crucial to good ERP implementation. If your team doesn’t understand how to use the new system or is resistant to it, your business operations can quickly become seriously disrupted. Implement engaging and immersive training and collect employee feedback regularly so you know what areas need improvement.

3. Misalignment with business processes and goals

One of the common reasons ERP implementations fail is because of misalignment with your business processes and goals. As you seek an ERP solution, it’s important to ensure it’s also the right fit for your operation.

4. Selection of the wrong ERP software or vendor

Selecting the wrong vendor can quickly lead to failure when transitioning from your legacy systems to a new ERP. Conduct ample research beforehand and seek out free estimates or trials before committing.

5. Budget and resource constraints

Budget and resource constraints can also complicate ERP implementation, potentially leading to delayed timelines, reduced customization, and increased reliance on your existing infrastructure, which can further strain operations.

6. Ineffective communication and collaboration

Issues with communication and implementation team collaboration can strain ERP implementation, hindering information sharing and decision-making, and affecting operations and project success.

7. Over-customization and complexity

Over-customization can bog down your ERP systems, slowing their release and making them difficult to implement. Aim to balance customization and simplicity to ensure optimal functionality.

8. Lack of ongoing support and maintenance

Ongoing support for your ERP system is critical to its success. Ensure your vendor will provide regular maintenance and updates to keep everything running smoothly.

Case Studies: High-Profile ERP Implementation Failures

ERP implementation case studies can help shed a lot of light on the reasons even high-profile ERP implementations can fail. Here are two such examples:

In November 2021, Mission Produce, an avocado distributor, switched to a new ERP. During the switch, they suddenly lost crucial information about how many avocados they had, as well as their quality. This led to many issues with delivery and invoicing, costing them $3.8 million in just nine months.

The Target brand faced a similar issue when rolling out new ERP software in Canada in 2013. During implementation, untrained employees input into the system incorrect supply chain data, leading to a total collapse of their supply chain.

ERP Implementation Process

As a business, successful ERP implementation can do much to improve your operations. However, for the best outcome to occur, businesses must focus on thorough planning and execution during the implementation process. It’s important to focus on opportunities for growth during this time, remaining open to team collaboration, and learning from potential failures.

Looking for expert ERP services? Click here to speak with us now and download our eBook “10 Things Every Successful ERP Implementation Has in Common” to learn more.

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