It’s May already and I am just 6 weeks away from my epic run across England, the Wall Run. 69 miles, loosely following the route of Hadrian’s Wall. Preparation for this ultra-marathon has been all consuming; 5am runs before work, full weekends spent running 20 plus miles and cross training. Tempo runs, intervals and fartlek’s have become part of my everyday vocabulary, not to mention testing the kit and worrying about race day nutrition and hydration.
All this preparation got me thinking about how well organisations prepare for ERP.
Throughout my career I have found myself in many companies that are part way through an ERP implementation, without a clear understanding of what ERP is and what it’s going to do for their business. Organisations embark upon the ERP journey because the board believe it’s the right thing to do, but rarely are the benefits explained to everyone. The result is a project team who have to deliver a system, without actually understanding the objectives.
The level of integration in an ERP system like SYSPRO often comes as a real culture shock to companies. Suddenly the transaction created by sales admin has a huge impact in production planning, the store man needs to make sure the purchase order is receipted correctly, otherwise the stock will be incorrect, and of course all transactions eventually make their way to the general ledger.
Underpinning all the transactions in the system is of course the data, but lack of knowledge and understanding leads to poor housekeeping and a system that can’t be relied upon to produce the correct results.
All too often the project team is focused on incidental processes that contribute little value to the organisation whilst losing sight of the bigger picture. Reporting is usually listed at the top of the key objective list by the board, but it is also the area of the project that is most often “parked up” when resources are limited.
Finally, I have known companies that have spent hours informing their teams about ERP, creating the right culture, understanding processes and cleaning data, only to embark upon their ERP implementation without the sufficient resources in place. You need a strong project team, you need to make sure they have the right knowledge, skills and sufficient time.
So ask yourself, are you ERP ready?
- Does your whole organisation understand what ERP is and what it will do for your business?
- Do people understand the concept of integration and the role data has to play?
- Is there a focus on the key business processes and are those processes structured to give you the reporting you need?
- Do the project team have the right skills and time to implement ERP?
To understand fully the issues of implementing an ERP system read ‘Thinking about ERP’