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Planning for Successful ERP Implementation Projects

If you are looking for your first ERP system or upgrading from an existing system, the evaluation, selection and implementation process are critically important. Considered change management and detailed business process mapping, amongst other strategies, can help ensure effective implementation.

This is part of a five-part blog post series on the stories of two fictitious companies. Their situations reflect what some companies experience after choosing a new ERP system.

In our stories, Company A followed a considered and methodical ERP selection and implementation process whilst its competitor, Company Z, is struggling with challenges such as being over budget and not having the functionality they need.

We join the story as Company Z's head of operations is preparing for a management meeting.

“While mis-shipments have continued to increase, I am confident we will return to pre-upgrade figures by the end of next quarter. Our inability to ship period continued for longer than expected, and regrettably, the pick-and-pack process is still…” he said to himself before the sound of his meeting reminder interrupted his train of thought.

Since go-live of their new ERP system three months ago, the head of operations at Company Z is facing increasing pressure to correct the operational disruptions that the company continues to face.

Meanwhile, the interstate competitor, Company A, which reached go-live of its new system at a similar time, is having far more positive conversations.

“Yes, 100% delivery in full, on time…….Third week in a row actually……I know, right!” said Company A's operations director as he proudly rocked back and forth on his office chair while on the phone with the company's CEO. “Sure, in the management meeting I'll provide an overview of the benefits we gained from the business process map ……Yes, see you Thursday”.

Five months earlier

At Company Z

Today was supposed to be go-live for Company Z's upgraded ERP system. Its decision to implement the entire system at once is beginning to look like a less than optimal choice as pre-launch preparations uncovered a number of risks too significant to proceed at this point. Go-live has now been pushed back by two months.

Company Z's head of operations is beginning to recognize just how poorly planned the implementation has been. “When we made the upgrade decision, I felt I knew we had adequate plans in place to ensure the implementation duration was sufficient, and that there would be minimal disruption. However, it is what I didn't know that has caught us off-guard.”

Company Z's head of operations is becoming increasingly aware that the lack of expertise and consultation from an ERP expert may have cost his company dearly.

At Company A

Company A is tracking for go-live in eight weeks' time, as planned. Earlier this morning one of the consultants from its ERP vendor was on-site for the monthly implementation planning meeting to review the training plan for its phased implementation strategy.

Through discussions with its chosen vendor during the vendor evaluation and decision-making process, Company A's operations director recognized the value of approaching the implementation as a business-wide effort that requires company-wide communication, consultation, and alignment. To ensure the project was a success, Company A invested in a thorough planning process with the support of an experienced ERP consultant.

“With a considered change management approach, a detailed go-forward process mapping as well as a clearly defined RASCI model done as part of our broader implementation strategy, I am confident that our consultative planning and execution has been a wise investment which will pay dividends in the months ahead,” said Company A's operations director.

Whether you are looking for your first ERP system or are upgrading from an existing system, the evaluation, selection, and implementation process are all extremely important for your company's future success. To help you make the right choices, we have a white paper outlining how to plan for a successful implementation. Download your copy here.

Continue Reading - A Tale of Two Companies Part 2: Implementation Cost and Duration
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Vincent Tang Epicor Software Corporation Regional Vice President, Asia