Any manufacturer in the midst of active ERP selection project faces a daunting task. Many selection teams get pulled into a variety of directions, often finding it difficult to apply the needed resources for effective ERP selection.
Whether a company has outgrown their legacy system, is burdened with an unstable technical environment or is looking to leverage new delivery models and infrastructure, the effectiveness of ERP selection has everything to do with the success of the eventual implementation.
So how to start? Certainly establishing a cross-functional selection team is important, as is gaining internal consensus and participation from all parties.
Through our experience at Ultra Consultants, though, one of the most important places to start is by taking a hard look at the desired end-state.
This means taking the time and effort to get a full sense of how the new ERP implementation can improve the way a business operates.
A Matter of Focus
It’s a matter of focus. Before the vendor demos, before RFQs, manufacturers must focus on where they want to be, not where they are.
Here are a few tips offered as thought-starters.
- Look at the entire functional organization. Will ERP cut across shop floor, shipping, accounting, the front office, inventory, quality, production? What’s the desired end state in these areas?
How are IT operations running now? What’s the vision for the IT department in future years?
Identify what the organization does well. How will the new ERP system impact those areas?
Identify opportunities for improvement. How specifically will the new ERP system support this desired vision?
Look at existing reports and metrics. How can business decisions be improved to help overall business performance?
The bottom line is that implementing ERP to mimic current processes is a missed opportunity.
That’s why we suggest, “starting at the end.” Only after you have clearly defined how the business will run in the future can you match that vision to what the ERP system can deliver.
Check out this previous Ultra Consultants blog post addressing the importance of using ERP selection as a way to drive real business process improvements, and the importance of developing a vision of a future state.
Guest post by Jeff Carr, Managing Partner