Monday, August 15, 2011

What problems do you hope to resolve with a new ERP solution?

What problems do you hope to resolve with a new ERP solution?

One of the many important questions you should try to answer before purchasing a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution is:  What business problems are you trying to solve/resolve?

Of course it is important to be able distinguish between a business process and strategic issue.  Business processes are usually quantifiable.  For example, if we integrate our separate systems and reduce the overhead associated with inventory transactions, we become more efficient and can expect operational savings.  If we automate receiving with barcodes and wireless devices, we can increase the timeliness of information the customer service department uses to satisfy customer inquiries.  Add an order verification step to the Pick-Pack-Ship process to increase the accuracy of your shipments. 

These examples are only a small fraction of the questions you should discuss with your ERP consultant.  Your consultant is the person that can help translate and compare your challenges with industry solutions to drive efficiency in your organization. 

Strategic issues are less quantifiable and tend to be more big-picture.  If you are not a C-Level person, then ask your CEO what his or her dream is for your organization.  The CEO of any organization knows this explicitly and has specific goals to achieve it in a specific time frame.  For example, to be the biggest supplier in the region or sole global source provider, etc.

An ERP solution will only fulfill a strategic mission if the strategic issues are broken down into the supporting business issues.  Failure to do this will leave a lot of people disappointed. You may end up replacing some manual processes with automated solutions in order to increase productivity, but wind up falling short of the strategic mission.

To get started you and your consultant need to define what exactly where you strategically expect your business to be in the future, then break that goal down into specific business areas that can be improved.  Then match those business process improvements with ERP solutions.  After which you can compare how each solution fits the culture of your organization. 

ERP solutions are inherently complex as the strategic initiative.  Dolvin Consulting uses its partnerships with VAI and IBM to help you define and implement a solution with a great return on investment (ROI) that will enable you to achieve your strategic goals.

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