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Integrating ERP Systems
Part 3 of 4


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SETTING THE TONE

Now that you have decided that you can live with your existing ERP system, but you have also decided that you would benefit from func­tions contained within SCM, what steps can be used to ensure success? How can you gain the most benefit and satisfaction from your efforts? Some suggestions include:

• Understand your needs—It is important that both the client and the software supplier understand the needs inspiring the project and closely define the solution to meet those needs. This sounds so el­ementary as to be asinine, but the number of people who buy atomic bomb solutions for firecracker problems and wonder why they never successfully implement would amaze you.
• Define the capabilities—Once the needs have been assessed, the capabilities of the solution must be reviewed to ensure a good fit with the capabilities of the organization. The review should include feature/functions, staff experience, resources, software flexibility, and installed base. Remember, biggest isn't always best, and cost is not always indicative of content. Take a test drive and talk to real people solving real problems.
• Resist exaggerated hyperbole—It is no wonder that infomercials are the fastest growth segment on television because most of us are still looking for a magic pill. Oh, we had come to accept that our ERP systems were good tools even though they needed
human intervention. But for some reason we have bought into the concept that all we need to do is buy an SCM package, lay it on top of our ERP system and, voila, our problems are solved. While the new packages represent powerful tools, they are subject to the same annoyances as your ERP system; they require human thought.
• Mind the scope—If you were to take up the sport of skiing, it -would be ludicrous to expect you to immediately go to the top of the moun­tain looking for black diamond runs. And yet, we often treat our implementations just that way. Instead of starting on a small pilot project, using limited portions of the system, we set off to realize the "whole enchilada." Or worse, we begin with a reasonable plan and, without thinking, we let it mushroom into something beyond our reach. It's no wonder we have trouble pulling the switch to turn pilot into reality.
• Take ownership—How many times have we heard this? As we were implementing our MRP II systems, we were told by respon­sible software vendors and consultants that it was critical that we take ownership of our systems. We took that message seriously, which is why a number of us have initials after our name, i.e., CPIM or CIRM. But for some reason we have forgotten that lesson with SCM software and take on legions of outside people who are re­sponsible for all facets of the new system. Obviously, when these individuals finally go away (usually when you have run out of money) all your expertise leaves with them. Make sure you have persons within your firm who take on the new software and are not afraid of the client-server attributes that make up the backbone of these systems.

To Be Continued


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