Supercharge Your ERP: Empower Your Team And Avoid Unnecessary Red-Tape

Posted by Paul Tomlin, UK Consulting Director on November 12, 2013

avoid unecessary admin

We can all agree that adopting an ERP system for your business gives you greater control over your people, projects and finances and offers you the visibility you need to make better business decisions. Project-based ERP systems enable your entire organisation to record the information that matters most to your business, and provides a means to report on that information in a logical and actionable way.

However, there is a danger that if left unmaintained and current to match your business objectives, your ERP system could dilute the control your operations team once had and replace it with administrative burdens. It is important to remember that an ERP is not put in place to restrict productivity, quite the opposite. You want to enable your staff to deliver timely projects, on time and on budget – so be mindful as to what information you NEED to capture, and what processes you NEED to control. Uniformity and adherence to a process are crucial to ensure efficiency and profits across your business, but this does not mean you need to stifle output with unnecessary administration or approval controls.

In order to truly empower your teams and avoid unnecessary red-tape so that you can make the most of your ERP system, I recommend that you consider these points:

Avoid having more than two levels of approval for actions

What value does a 5 level layer approval process have for your business? I would argue that the first layer is required to check for accuracy, while the second and final level should be based on assessing the value the action will deliver. Any additional layers of approval will only slow down your business and increase the administrative burden on your team. Like any Professional Services firm, you pay people to make decisions, not jump through administrative hoops – do you really need 5 people to approve something? I doubt it. If I am not sure of something that lands on my desk I can reach out to an appropriate person for advice. I think adopting a common sense approach rather than having overly prescriptive procedures will enable your firm to act with more flexibility.

Avoid a complex approval hierarchy where no one knows who needs to approve what

Complex approval hierarchies can cause confusion and a reluctance to follow the rules amongst your team – having processes that are simple to understand and meaningful will encourage your team to engage in the process more. I would advocate having a different process for billable/pass through work versus non-billable work. For billable requests you may want to consider permitting self approval up to a certain value in order to speed up the process and up take of raising Purchase Orders.

I hope that these two points provide a few areas of consideration, so that you can begin to empower your employees and remove unnecessary red-tape which may be preventing your business from realising the true potential of your ERP system.