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So, how can you evolve your company into a success­ful e-business? Obviously, the first step is to adopt SOP as a fundamental business process. What else do you need? Here's my suggested list of requirements. I'll dis­cuss each in more detail.

      Empower (automate) the SOP process by implement­
ing a packaged ERP system.

      Educate, enlighten, align your leadership team.

      Develop a holistic e-business strategy.

      Ensure that your system infrastructure is e-business-
ready.

      Educate, enlighten your organization.

      Develop and prioritize specific e-business activities
that evolve from the strategy.

      Organize to implement.

      Get on with it! Start small, think big, go fast!

      Choose a strategic implementation partner.
Actually, the last item should really be your first.

Choosing an implementation partner that can work well with your company and facilitate the entire journey to e-business can be the most important decision in the entire process. A strategic partner with the depth and breadth of experience and capabilities can provide con­tinuity, content, and speed, as well as cost efficiencies. Next, you need to "empower" or automate your SOP process by adopting one of the state-of-the-art ERP soft­ware solutions. I always have a problem when I use the terms "ERP" and "software" in the same sentence, be­cause ERP has become synonymous with "software sys­tem" and, even worse in some cases, with one particular software package. ERP is really a "process" not a sys­tem, but I, we, have apparently lost that battle! Further, there are some out there that say, "Our legacy transac-tional system is good enough, we don't need one of the packaged systems!" I say, "Get real folks! There is no way you are going to stay state-of-the-art in the transac-tional software arena, it's not your core competency." Persist in that train of thought and you'll be bought out or go belly up!

Let's assume that you are on board with my philoso­phy and have a solid SOP process supported by a state-of-the-art ERP system. What's next? The next step is to enable your leadership team to develop an e-business strategy for your company. How do you do that? I sug­gest the "double e" process. "Double e" describes educa­tion and enlightenment. The first "e" is to educate your leadership on the attributes and value of e-business. The leadership team needs to develop a common under­standing of all the elements of an e-business and be able to assimilate these elements into its business model. This will lead them to the second "e," enlightenment. At this point they will understand the value and necessity of e-business and can develop a passion to embrace and sup­port implementation. If this does not happen, you may need to invoke the "triple e" process, which adds "elimi­nation" to the equation! It is critical that all members of the leadership team "get it" regarding e-business or you are in for a rough ride.

It is critical that the leadership team develop a com­mon framework and understand the total definition of an e-business. It is critical that they assimilate all the elements of e-business in the context of the core com­petencies and business strategies for their company, their industry, and their extended supply chain. It is critical that they understand the process by which e-business is being adopted and implemented and can define their company's position on the adoption curve. It is critical that they are familiar with the many "dot.com" busi­ness models that are being developed and can assess the impact and adaptability of these new models versus their business strategies.

Having done all of the above, the leadership team is now in position to develop a holistic e-business strat­egy for the company that will lead to specific activities and projects directly connected, in an e-business con­text, with business objectives. A holistic strategy takes into account all functional aspects of e-business such as e-commerce, supply chain management, ERP, etc., but also takes into account all the constituencies to be im­pacted by the strategy.

To Be Continued

For balance of this article, click on the below link:

Lean Manufacturing Articles and click on Series 13


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