Monday, December 17, 2012

ERP Migration

Before you get ready to run over to the local mall and buy your next Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, it might make sense to know what you are trying to fix.  Is your organization trying for better reporting or data management capabilities?  How about speeding up order entry and other customer service related tasks?

It takes time and you should take time to do a thorough analysis or your current operations first.

Depending on the size of your organization, you should budget approximately six months for this task.  Your survey should not be judgmental and you should try to minimize prejudice as to where you think any problems lay.  The whole point of a survey and analysis is to uncover your company’s culture.  How will you know if the solution provider has the same culture mix, if you do not understand your own?

Once you have identified how you do business, you can compare that to how you would like to do business or how you thought you were doing business. 

Sometimes small improvements in several areas will mitigate the needs to immediately replace an ERP system.  Still, at other times, the result is that your company has grown since its last system was put in place and the potential return from using a new fully integrated system is cost justified and appropriate.

Once you have made the commitment to grow, change, and adapt your business to the economy and needs of your current and future customers, the next step is to find a partner that will work with you to implement a solution that delivers outstanding customer service. 

Without this integral piece (customer service) addressed there is little reason to move forward.

You may want to consider the culture and organization of the ERP solution provider as you do your own organization.  Are they corporate focused?  Are they family owned and operated?  Are they flexible with their product?  Will you mold your business to their solution or will their solution mold to your business?  Do they have success stories with other organizations in your industry?  How flexible are they?  Will they grow with you?  How unique is your business?

Every branch, department and role of your organization needs to give input to the project.  The underlying principal of any ERP solution is to integrate everything under one roof.  Great efficiency requires integration.  From efficiency comes cost reduction and greater profits.  Keep in mind you are building plans for the future and while the ultimate goal is complete integration, you can step into this and bring each department or process on in phases. 

The method and process depends on your organizations needs.  You may need to organize in teams of oversight and application.  This teamwork helps to build consensus and responsibility in the workforce.  Once your people take ownership, the commitment level and resulting quality improve.  It also helps to ensure that people and process are not overlooked.  It is helpful to have separate pairs of eyes look at what you are doing.

Careful planning helps to ensure your project stays on budget and the promised Return on Investment (ROI) is achieved in the expected time frame.  One of main contributors to the ERP budget problems comes from looking at the project as a technology project. 

The reason for change should be business driven, not technology.

There are some rare cases where a company wants to be a leader and leverage the fact they are using the latest and greatest (you fill in the blank here).  These are usually showcase examples that really amount to advertising initiatives to make the organization appear to be more focused than they really are.

True growth is always tied to a better customer experience. 

Ask yourself why you are spending more to shop at one store, while you could get the equivalent product someplace else for less.  Is there something about the quality or location or you-get-what-you-pay-for thought that sits in the back of everyone’s mind? 

It is not the price.  Price is important, but the result and the time it takes to get that result is the driver.  So first of all you need to know what the result will look like and how you expect to achieve it.  Next is finding a partner to help you get there.  Finally, there is the commitment to make it happen.

At Dolvin Consulting we work hard to help you help yourself.  We have a vested interest in your success.  Contact us today to see what options you have.  We do not bite.  If we cannot help you directly, then we will do our best to connect you with the resources you do need.


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