Despite designations as an essential business, permitted to stay open through the COVID-19 shutdowns, cannabis companies are still experiencing setbacks during this pandemic. We’ve talked at length about inventory issues and supply chain hangups and all the other challenges that come with attempting to operate normally under other than normal circumstances.
But an active ERP project during the pandemic has a different shade on it. Historically, ERP implementations have always been a challenge, but the COVID-19 closures make these implementations a bit more nuanced. And so it goes for cannabis companies involved in an ERP implementation project, or thinking about it, when COVID-19 hit.
If you are a cannabis company questioning whether the time is right for a ERP implementation project, the answer is yes. Many variables go into making an ERP project a success, and the first steps include critical research to determine the type of ERP deployment: cloud ERP, replacing an outdated on-premise ERP, or a hybrid deployment. There are new considerations that will affect your project, but with the right processes, tools, and an experienced ERP vendor to partner with your business, you can ensure your cannabis ERP implementation moves along its projected path.
Here are a few strategies you can use to overcome some of those potential challenges:
Establish Communication First
Effective communication is paramount to every ERP implementation and it is especially true for remote project planning. With stakeholders, team members and your ERP vendor potentially separated for the duration of the engagement, consistent channels of communication with expectations clearly defined is how you keep a dispersed team on task.
Staff may be less inclined to communicate remotely compared to in-office discussions, so the expectation needs to be clear where project communication should happen to ensure active participation. Allow formal communication channels for outlining the essential details and status updates of the project, as well as roles, responsibilities, and contact information. While email may seem like an obvious and convenient way to pass along information, it’s not the most effective communication tool for an ERP implementation project. It’s easy to get lost in long email threads and tracking important decisions for quick reference is nearly impossible.
Don’t forget to plan for informal conversations that allow ideas and insights to flow naturally and without ridicule. These could be remote round-table meetings or open discussions, or lengthy email threads, but be sure to make it transparent and inviting.
While your cannabis company is open for business, your employees must navigate their “new normal” in the face of all the new changes. Whether they’re working remotely or onsite, they must manage new distractions or personal responsibilities to which they’re still acclimating. Whether it’s homeschooling children, caring for relatives, or dealing with staggered work schedules and travel restrictions, their new life is largely out of their control. Be understanding and remain flexible.
Determine Common Hours
A detailed but well-planned project like cannabis cloud ERP implementation can be an excellent way to keep involved employees engaged with the team. Determine the core hours those on your project team can work simultaneously. For example, having project team members available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on business days for chats, meetings, or any other communication will keep the project moving and eliminate the inevitable scheduling conflicts otherwise.
Leverage Virtual Tools
Virtual tools can help you manage your ERP implementation from the initial steps to well-beyond your go-live date. Tools that help you organize files, schedule and hold video meetings, or connect for real-time chatting will help you stay on track.
Phased Implementation Approach
Choose a phased approach for your ERP implementation, where the team introduces elements or modules of your cannabis ERP system in a planned sequence. Taking it slow to practice caution throughout the project is recommended and lets you replace an old system gradually.
Live Virtual Training Classes
The beauty of the cloud means virtual classes with a live instructor for training is just as productive to instruct and cross-train staff as in-person training sessions. Your virtual training should include lectures, hands-on demonstrations, and training labs and use a variety of formats like live webinars, video conference calls, screen sharing, and more. Don’t forget to look for the record feature on your video conferencing software. These can be played back later for those not in attendance or used for later training with the ability to be updated as needed over time.
Remote project management is new for many organizations, so be sure to take an “always open, always learning” approach. Stay connected to your team and project stakeholders to get timely feedback throughout the process, and don’t be afraid to adapt if a task needs more attention than initially planned. As you continue to grow your cannabis operation and seek out industry-tested solutions, talk to your software vendors about how to thrive in the new shared work environment. With some adjustments to long-standing implementation processes, there’s no reason you can’t expect a fruitful ERP implementation for yours.
LEARN MORE ABOUT CANNABIS ERP
To learn more about modern cannabis ERP for your operation, contact one of our experts.