Friday, June 8, 2012

Quality and Shortcuts

When considering a purchase or upgrade of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution for your organization it is easy to want to handle the entire project in-house.  After all Google is such a powerful tool today, who needs a trusted advisor? 

How hard could it be? 

Is it something like going to the local computer and selecting a copy of the latest what-ever.  Just pop the disk in and, no wait that may take too long, let us download a copy, get it right away, click on the file, install the program by clicking “Ok” a bunch of times, taking the defaults and presto we are magically up-and-running.

When, where or by whom did someone give you that impression?

Some Cloud based solution providers may give you that impression.  Sign up now for a free 30 day trial, answer a few questions, upload or key in some information and you are off and running.  This may work for one out of a thousand organizations that have nothing out of the ordinary.  What happens to your information at the end of the trial?  You know after you realize it will take several months to just get your information onboard, people trained and customers back that lost patience with your grand efforts. 

Did this solution provider supply you with an experienced project manager to help with the transition?

There is more to selecting an ERP solution than typing a few words into an Internet search engine.  How do you know which words to key?  How do you filter the millions of potential returns on your query?  Just limiting your research to the first two pages of results is great news for the folks making a living promoting that service, but are you really getting the answers you need?

Are you ordinary?

Chances are you have many common traits with others in your industry and proper research will help you narrow the search, but that is different than simply click-and-go.  Shortcuts are different than best practices.  Shortcuts can help you save time, but do not eliminate the need to perform the steps needed to first determine what your challenges are and secondly determine if there is a good fit.

Time and effort must be invested in selecting a solution that will integrate your entire organization. 

Who will be affected, hopefully everyone, but that means you need to understand how everyone will use and interact with the system.  What are they expected to input and what output do they require? 

There is a difference between quality and price.  There are many good solutions, but they have to fit in your budget and just because they fit your budget, that does not mean they are quality products.  More expensive does not mean better.  Good fit, good features, reasonable budget is the goal. Follow that with a vested partner, including software, hardware, and advisor.  Does the solution have the ability to grow and address your needs as they evolve. 

Has this provider helped others in the same industry or others with similar challenges?

When you begin to look at your operations, you can identify costs associated with the tasks your people perform and the resources they use.  Resources used in manufacturing, resources used in distribution, and resources used in labor and plant overhead.  These costs lay the foundation for a Return on Investment (ROI) analysis.

No matter how good a solution is, if you do not expect a complete return within in one to two years after implementation, then this should be a red flag.  It does not mean it is not a good solution, but there has to be another driving factor.  Perhaps that might be your organization wants to define and take a leading role in your industry sector.  There are valid reasons, but you should know and acknowledge that before you make the investment.

There is a lot to know and time restraints to balance. 

You still have to get your other work done.  At some point you will need to invest your personal time and energy, but a lot of the leg work can be handled by a trusted advisor.  It is not just for the well financed.  The time and money saved by utilizing an outside resource that will use a fresh set of eyes to look at what you do and how you do it and compare that to others pays for itself.  Realistically you do need to do your due diligence in an advisor selection, but will you be able to live with yourself if you do not find someone to help? 

It may help to think of your advisor like a wedding planner.  They have the contacts and experience to ask you the right questions and manage the project.  It will not eliminate all of the frustration, but it will give you peace of mind.

Let Dolvin Consulting help you with the trench work.  We can help.  We leverage our industry experience and contacts to save you time and energy.  We cannot do everything, but what we will do will make the process easier.  Contact us today to see how we can help.  That is why we are here.

1 comment:

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