It is a well-known fact that ERP implementations usually take longer and cost more than most businesses expect. As an independent ERP consultant, we know that the average time taken to complete an ERP implementation is usually somewhere around the 18-month mark – which may come as a surprise to you. In fact, a recent survey showed that 61% of ERP implementations took longer than expected. This shouldn’t really come as a surprise though, as ERP implementation is a major project that needs careful handling in order to ensure it creates a tangible ROI for your business.

There are many statistics out there relating to ERP implementation that scares us a little. Such as the fact that in 2013 one-third of ERP buyers did not demo the product before they bought it, and in fact, 22% of companies surveyed by Capterra just bought the first system they looked at! This lead to a survey by Mint Jutras which showed that 28% of the companies that they surveyed reported being unable to serve their customers as well as they would like due to a lack of functionality in their ERP system. Scary stuff indeed, but not something that has to happen to your business if you work with an independent ERP consultant!

If you are planning for an ERP implementation and are thinking about timeframes, then there are a few things that you need to take into consideration as they will impact how long your particular implementation takes. After all, no two businesses are the same, and so no two implementations are the same. These factors include:

Company Type

If you are a manufacturer, then your ERP implementation is likely to take longer than a distributor for example, as your processes will be more complicated.


Many ERP software vendors are promoting their systems as being out-of-the-box implementations packed full of pre-configured software and implementation accelerators. Don’t fall for the hype! These promises are mainly a reaction to all the shocking statistics that we shared above, and they usually don’t deliver although they may speed up implementation slightly.

Change Management

Many companies these days are undergoing major organisational changes at the same time as implementing their new systems, and quite often these changes are not being managed as well as they should be.


Working life has changed beyond compare in recent years, with many businesses now being spread over more than one site which can be in different parts of the world. Obviously, a business which has one site in one area will have a quicker ERP implementation time, than one which has numerous sites in various geographical locations.

Thorough Evaluation

Working with an independent ERP consultant will ensure that you undergo a rigorous selection process before settling on the best system for your business. This is a vital step in the process to ensure the system you chose does exactly what you want it to do and you don’t discover some customisation is needed once the implementation process is underway.


We have seen many cases where companies ask for modifications to be made to their chosen ERP software system so that it looks more like their old system. This may seem like a simple request but the more customisation you undertake, the costlier the system will be and the more it will impact on time. So, do your best to make sure that only the most necessary changes are made.

Software Complexity

Some ERP software systems can be very complicated, and have various modules that lead to a longer implementation time and this has led to many companies abandoning their implementation before it is finished. If you have extra modules added to your ERP system, then you need to add extra time to your implementation plan.

User Numbers

Common sense dictates that if you only have 10 users for your system, then your implementation will take less time than a company who have 100 users.

Implementation Team Experience

If you have members of your team that are experienced in ERP implementation, then your implementation is more likely to run smoothly. However, this is a rare skill for people to have and we appreciate that it may not be widely available. Therefore, we work closely with your in-house project manager and team to ensure they learn from our skills and experience and so are better equipped to move the project forward.

As you can see, there are many different aspects that will affect how long your ERP system takes to be implemented, and it can seem quite daunting. Don’t worry; we are here to help. If you would like more information on how your business should approach an upcoming implementation, then contact the experts at Greenbeam Consulting today. You can call us on 0843 523 5630 or send us an email to [email protected]