Monday, April 28, 2014

Pace yourself with ERP selection and implementation

Most of us know the story of the hare and tortoise.  The story concerns a Hare who ridicules a slow-moving Tortoise and challenges the tortoise to a race.  The hare soon leaves the tortoise behind and, confident of winning, takes a nap midway through the course.  When the Hare awakes however, he finds that his competitor, crawling slowly but steadily, has arrived before him. 


The account of a race between unequal partners in which ingenuity and trickery are employed to overcome a stronger opponent.  The over ambitious and overconfident, start and stop versus the steady consistent and persistent effort.  Haste makes waste and the race is not to the swift.  There are a number of lessons in this story which apply to life in general as well as selecting and implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution.

Thousands of businesses arrive at a similar crossroads every year.  As it turns out timing really does play an important role.  If you replace your existing solution too early, you may end up with more software than you need.  If you wait too long, you could end up struggling with inefficient business processes that damage your business performance and prospects for future profitability and growth.

At what point do the costs of maintaining your existing system outweigh the benefits of keeping it in place?  When is the right time to make the move?  All businesses at one point or another will struggle with the same issues.  The impact varies, but the challenges are similar.

Has your workforce growth outpaced your infrastructure?  Have you added locations and mobile workers?  Is your information contained in multiple systems?  Do you have separate customer relationship management (CRM) system, customer service processing, inventory control, warehouse management (WMS)?  Are you overburdened by spreadsheet sprawl? 
Is there a single dashboard where all information is summarized with drill-down to the details?  How long does it take to get consolidated financial information?

What is the cost of inefficiency to your organization?

How well are your customers served?  Do they get different information from different sources?  Are your deliveries accurate?  How much better does your competition reach their customers (or your customers)?  How much guess work goes into forecasting?  Customers expect you to have stock levels, order status and delivery tracking at any time they contact you and they expect it to be accurate.  Sales people need to have all the latest information on hand even when they’re out on the road when they are in front of customers and prospects.

Does it take too long, how long does it take, to share information and is it correct?

Where actually is that inventory?  Did you reorder what you already have, because you could not find it?  Can your customers self serve their information needs?  How much work goes into filtering and analyzing your information into meaningful sales campaigns?

How many systems are you using to deliver information?

Have you reached the limits of your existing solution(s)?  Have those limits limited your ability to serve your customers and grow?  Are you adding more people to your workforce and still are not producing more?  Do your struggles drive the need to add more and more disconnected systems?  Are your people resourceful and just want to get their jobs done individually instead of raising the productivity of your entire organization?

Do you dream of adding more products or services, but dread the overhead of implementation in your current solution?  Not if, but how big are the challenges to adapting to new business trends?  How much time and energy go into the technology of your business versus working on your business?  Do you have budget for technology or are you fixing and patching? 

What Return on Investment (ROI) can you expect and how long will it take to get there, if you do invest in a new solution?  How will you bridge the gap from where you are now and your vision of the future?

Well defined goals and a trusted advisor can help to pave the way.  Where do you want to be in the future and when?  With an advisor you can document and map processes and match them to the right ERP solution.  While there may not be an exact match, a good fit between challenge and resource will help to define your processes and roadmap to solution implementation. 

Compare the starting and stopping, heading in wrong directions, not getting key functions working in a timely manner causing cost overruns and failed implementations with what a strong and steady tortoise-like approach can bring. 

Are you a rabbit or tortoise? 

Which yields better results? 

What happens if you do nothing?

Dolvin Consulting works with your team to define a roadmap and develop a clearly defined project plan for the future.  We work with industry experts to match challenge with solution.  We cannot guarantee you will fix all of your problems, but we do know that an organization that selects a solution that integrates the entire business process tends to yield great returns.  Why not contact us today to see how we can help.