This article presents an overview of a
methodology for selecting an MRP software package. By using this
methodology a company limits the exposure to surprises when the
package is installed. It also insures that everyone is focused on
the same final objective and is working toward a common goal. By
using a methodology everyone knows the steps that they must perform
and they can see the forest from the trees.
A large number of companies have selected MRP
software packages and in many cases they have performed detailed
studies, but when they finally implement the system they still have
surprises. It has been our experience that the surprises are the
cause of the failure of a project. The missing features or functions
that can kill a project when a deficiency is discovered, after the
contract is signed, can be salvaged if surprises are eliminated and
deficiencies are identified and agreed upon up front. In some cases
the user and vendor will work around the deficiencies and
successfully implement a software package.
The way to avoid surprises is to insure that you
know exactly what your requirements are and to what degree the MRP
package meets those requirements. The way to insure that this
happens is to follow a methodology, a path, that will insure that
the requirements are defined in detail and that each member of the
team knows how the package meets the requirements. The methodology
must be simple and must keep you on the path.
The methodology we are recommending is a simple
five-step path that is very logical and if followed will ensure
successful implementation of either a package or a custom-designed
Choosing the Team
The first step on the path is Choosing the Team.
These are the people who will be responsible for the actual
selection of the MRP package. Included in the team should be a
"Corporate Sponsor" who is a top management person under
whose authority the project is run and who is funding the project.
The team should include a data processing person and a member of
each department that the system will affect. If the MRP system is to
be installed into multiple plants, members should represent each of
the plants. These members are ultimately responsible for the package
selection. They will be assisted by other personnel as needed
including when defining the requirements of the system.
Also, as a part of this step, preliminary cost
justification is performed to confirm that we should continue on the
Setting the Goal
will be aiming at. It is only by having a good
requirements document that we will know if the software selected
will hit the target. The requirements must be defined very
specifically. Only by being very specific can we identify the right
MRP software package and avoid surprises during implementation. In
order to make the comparison between requirements and software
easier, the requirements should be put in bullet format. Each bullet
item should be rated on how important it is to the company. The
rating can be done as follows:
4: needed to run the business
3: can use but
2: like to have
1: nice to have but may use if the package has the feature
0: not needed
We include a rating of zero to document the fact that we reviewed
the requirement and felt that we had no need for the feature or
To be Continued
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