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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Take the time to do your ERP project right

In nearly every ERP Implementation Project, there is a sense of urgency to go-live.  And why wouldn’t there be?  You just made a major capital investment in purchasing a new ERP Software System, and the sooner you use it, the sooner you will see results.

One of the main reasons that there is urgency to go-live is because ‘Normal Business Flow’ is interrupted during an implementation. The business needs to continue to operate, yet valuable time must be dedicated to the project, processes need improvement, operational efficiency is desired and you can’t wait to get your new ERP system up-and-running.  Perhaps, more importantly, management does not want to spend a penny more on consulting or on their own team’s valuable time.  Sometimes, even the implementation consultants want it to go-live sooner due to other projects that need their attention.

While these may all seem like reasonable motives to finish the project sooner, this mindset could be disastrous for your organization. The tendency in this situation is to take short cuts and deal with it later, and many have created a mountain of issues by succumbing to this temptation.  All I can say is, “take the time to do it right, or don’t do it!”

Over the years, I have seen several companies make this mistake and create a disaster.  A few years ago, our company sold an ERP system to a Metal Stamping company.  From the onset of the selection project they were disorganized and in a hurry.  “We’re growing,” said the CEO, “and we need a new ERP system yesterday.”  They made a fairly quick decision to buy the ERP Software, and when they returned the signed agreements, they announced that they were going to ‘Go Live’ in a month- and they would do it themselvesbecause they had a few people that had implemented ERP systems before.

Do I even need to finish the rest of the story?  Ever hear the phrase, ‘Don’t try to automate chaos?’  Well it’s true, you get out of it, what you put into it.  After a couple months of partial system use, bad inventory numbers and no financial statements, they reverted back to their old ways and gave up on the new ERP software. “We were too busy to fix the issues and people stopped using it,” commented the CEO.  Well, 2 years later, yesterday is gone and this company continues to struggle to be competitive.  The results of their implementation- and many others- is why you must take the time to do your ERP Project right.

Doing it right means that you should: ensure the project has a sufficient budget; a committed internal team; a realistic project schedule that includes ample time for prototyping and piloting; and finally, take the time to test, test, & test again before go-live. 

Do it right and improve your business. Do it wrong and, well…

-Posted by Joe Zalewski, BizTech's Managing Partner & COO