Who should lead your ERP project?

who should lead your erp project

For small manufacturing businesses, relying on outdated pen-and-paper processes can quickly become a time-consuming and costly way of working. If you're reading this now, it's likely you've already recognised the benefits of implementing an ERP system and harnessing the power of automation. 

However, as with most ERP projects, comes the challenge of determining who will lead the project.

Who will be your ERP champion?

In this blog, we’ll outline how to find the right person to lead your ERP project, as well as the pros and cons of various individuals in the business managing the project.

Here are some of the key players and the pros and cons of each person running the project:

Production Manager

The production manager is likely to be the person most affected by any difficulties encountered during the ERP implementation. They will want a system that is simple to use, provides APS support, and has a hotline for help. The production manager will be looking to increase their team's efficiency and boost capacity.


  • In-depth knowledge of the manufacturing process.
  • Understands the timings needed for materials and inventory.
  • Knows the capacity, skills, and strengths of the manufacturing team.


  • Less IT-savvy than others in the business.
  • Might not understand the full potential applications of ERP.
  • Less aware of what other departments need.

Senior Management

Senior management will want as much data as possible to be collected to give better reporting, which will help them make better-informed decisions and give the company a more competitive trading future.


  • Has an overall view of each part of the business's activities.
  • Understands the importance of collecting and analysing as much data as possible.
  • Almost automatic buy-in at board level.


  • May not have an in-depth knowledge of each department's work.
  • Might give some staff the sense that the system is being imposed upon them.
  • May be too focused on competitors' approaches without considering whether they're entirely right for the business.

Procurement/ Purchasing Manager

The procurement manager will be keen for the system used to be as cheap as possible. However, it will be your accountant who is more concerned with the long-term benefits that can be realised from ERP.


  • Expert at making sure the project stays within budget.
  • Will have established contacts with the wider business.
  • Will source suppliers and whittle them down in a professional way.


  • Focused on their own short-term cost goals.
  • May push for the cheapest system, even if it's not the best for the business's needs.
  • May feel they've washed their hands of the project once implementation is completed.

Digital Consultant

Digital transformation consultants are familiar with comparing and selecting IT providers, and they help smaller businesses understand how to effectively optimise their processes.


  • Expert understanding of the digital landscape and technology available.
  • Experienced in helping businesses understand how to update their processes.
  • Will use a thorough pitch procedure to decide between suppliers.


  • May be tempted to adopt a 'one size fits all' approach.
  • Won't always understand the unique aspects of your business and your particular challenges.
  • May look to maximise their billable time on the project and involve their colleagues.

While each of these individuals brings their own strengths to the table, it's important to recognise their limitations and consider how they might approach the project. It's critical to strike a balance between finding a leader who understands the business and its needs, has good IT knowledge, and can lead the project effectively. Ultimately, the success of the ERP implementation will depend on the project manager's ability to balance these competing priorities.