Get the Most From Your Manufacturing ERP Investment

Set Your Course for Smooth Sailing Ahead

In today’s ERP marketspace there are many competing products rich in functionality and a host of professional service firms with excellent reputations for successful implementations.

Despite this some industry analysts cite that on average between 40 – 60 % of companies implement less than half of the functionality purchased and fail to fully realize the payback on their investments. These are staggering statistics. Whether you choose the upper or lower end of the spectrum, this clearly illustrates there is tremendous room for improvement.

In many ways, an ERP implementation is a journey. The correct tools, mindset, and dedication to execution can result in a trip that is positive and offers substantially increased benefits.

In this five part series, we will discuss some of the successful tools that can be deployed and the associated areas of pain that can be avoided to ensure that you can reap the full benefit from your ERP System Implementation.

Part One – Break Out the Map – explores the tools necessary to begin the journey.

In my 25 years within the manufacturing and supply chain arena where I worked both as a consultant and as a client, I learned that if there is one thing that doesn’t change within manufacturing and distribution organizations it is “constant change”.

Understanding your current state in relation to existing processes, future changes and key personnel and department relationships is an essential and necessary step before you embark on the journey. Many times firms fail in this arena because they make a conscious decision to skip this stage and jump to the desired future state, or they choose to map the processes after the implementation has reached its conclusion.

Part Two – Manning the Helm, will shed light on the proper allocation of key personnel to the tasks that lie ahead. Without the captain and crew fully dedicated to the journey, no amount of planning will overcome the inability to execute and you will most certainly veer off course with little or no hope of reaching your desired destination – regardless of how much effort you put into redirecting your course.

ERP core teams have to be dedicated to the effort in order to arrive at the final destination within the planned timetable and with existing rations set aside for the trip. Additionally, if the captain is not providing the direction and guidance needed the crew may never reach its destination.

Plot Your Course will explore essential and effective project management techniques that will help balance the strategic and tactical elements of preparing the project plan. There is a delicate balance between preparing the plan and the time necessary to update the plan. Laying in the proper course is essential to making it into port in the time allotted and with the provisions provided. However, project resource focus, and the value derived from it, comes from executing the plan.

In Set the Sail we’ll focus on ensuring that the course chosen is the most effective means to arrive at the desired landing-place. Unit testing, and user acceptance and involvement, is the key to fully understanding the new functionality that is available to each department while hands-on testing of their daily duties within these uncharted waters will become invaluable in the early stages of the journey long before the ship pulls into the dock.

Having recently participated in a six-company international ERP deployment, I found it necessary to use a “testing methodology”, not only for the core team users, but also for the translating instructors to use to bridge the language barrier. Prior to the start of the instructor briefing and ensuing joint user training session, it was of paramount importance to have a prepared, concise lesson plan and hands-on user test to convey the course content and the expected outcome that the users must be able to demonstrate upon the conclusion of the course.

I’ll wrap up the series with Document Your Travels which will examine some of the framework that provides ultimate benefits to the user community and the organization as a whole.

As any organization changes and grows, it is essential to document the new processes developed along the way so that the new crew members can board the ship quickly and understand their role and inter-relationships with others. Equally important is that everyone understands how to perform their day-to-day tasks with less struggle, achieving a sense of accomplishment early in their careers.

 

– Software Delivered as Promised. No Surprises.

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Tony Chalet

Insight written by Tony Chalet

Account Manager, Manufacturing at Rand Group

A seasoned specialist with experience in the global marketplace and a unique eye for supply chain management concerns, Tony helps companies achieve a customized and relevant framework that incorporates best practices for a positive and productive ERP implementation.

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