With change, needs arise for new roles and definitions of employee
responsibility. Implementing ERP and embracing systems changes are
only a beginning. The process manager becomes the focal point, kind
of the ombudsman who facilitates removing barriers between worker
and manager, and between manager and worker. The process manager
helps push responsibility downward. No holding back, this
facilitator develops measurements, ongoing training, and supports
and advocates refining processes until they are acceptable.
Often, functional leaders will take up this challenge of process
management. In other examples process managers take on new roles as
interdepartmental systems coordinators who act as liaison between
end-user departments, information services, and organizational
management. Clearly, teamwork and shared responsibilities across
departmental boundaries lay a new landscape for the organization to
build on. New challenges and opportunities continue to unravel as
new supply chain requirements present themselves. The total
business becomes interdependent on a strong foundation built on
sharing—both the product and process life cycles, and focusing on
the integration of organizational resources toward the effective
realization of organizational goals. A new mission that has no easy
pathway to follow.
SELF EXAMINATION: DEFINING REAL BUSINESS PROBLEMS
You may have a real business problem if you find these
contradictions in your organization:
• The company claims to be forward-thinking, but their actions are
grounded in the past.
• The IT investments bring in tools of the future, but mainframe
• Individual department and divisional goals are not integrated into
a tangible whole (performance measurements do not serve to align
• Communication and feedback between employees and management is
• There is little or no shared learning among knowledge employees.
• Informal supply chain processes evolved over time to work around
the official procedures that don't work.
• Finger pointing, expediting, and fire-fighting take up most of the
• There is no safe forum to raise issues, to agree on common
definitions of problems, or to find better ways to do work.
• Duplicate work activities abound; process flow charts do not
exist; knowledge is lost when employee leave.
Your ERP System Might Be on the Wrong Path if:
• You bring in high-paid consultants and don't listen to them
because you know their business better than they do.
• You consistently miss your own benchmarks.
• You have set more than three implementation dates for the same
You try to implement your client-server ERP system with the same
methodology you used to put in your legacy system 15 years ago. You
have combination locks on your nursing unit storage rooms, but your
general storeroom is wide open.
No agreed-upon process exists within supply chain to address and
resolve variances in the material flow. No agreement exists on
problem definitions. You decide that you don't need to test and
prove every business process before going live.
You decide that you don't need to test and prove every system
feature and function before going live.
You think that users "can be told" everything they need to know
about the ERP system.
The new product/product change/product evaluation process is not
clearly understood and bought into by all stakeholders.
Your ERP System Is Probably on the Right Path if:
• Your project leaders are committed to a process orientation, i.e.,
they view the implementation as a journey that involves and
challenges everyone right from the beginning.
• Fit/gap analysis is performed: comparison of new system
provisions versus demonstrated and expected business needs—any
cus-tomizations needed? Assessment of resources and project
timelines which are doable.
• Early project steps include installation of all fixes to the
current software release in order to get up to date with the
customer service center.
• Determine the scope of the project is accurate and realistic,
i.e., what and who are included, what and who are not included.
• Educational classes for all key users in system terminology.
System setup, an overview of every feature and function, general
explanations of logic and processing, general explanations of
• Assign a project team members to make and maintain a list of
"issues" or any unresolved questions concerning the project.
• Start a project directory on the department LAN. Gather all
current documentation, report samples, process maps, pertinent
policies and procedures, meeting notes, status updates, etc., for
project team member access.
No information that has a bearing on the project should be held
back. No decision affecting the project should be made in secret.
Project leaders should avoid confrontation with barriers and enable
a consistent project momentum toward short-term deliverables
gaining ever-increasing credibility. Wherever possible, employ or
assign people to short-term tasks to help attain completion of the
large-scale implementation. Realize that implementing
enterprisewide systems with an end goal of improving integrated
resource management will take time, persistence, and constant
evaluation. Retrospective thinking will force you to benefit for
errors made. Applying realistic expectations to process improvements
that ultimately fit into the bigger scope of improved resource
integration. And remember everyone is responsible for achieving
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