Reasons for ERP Software project delays

ERP Implementation

ERP Implementation

Evidence suggests that majority of ERP software projects are delayed or doomed by cost overturns.  Even when ERP projects are completed on time or within budget, users often complain that the software they have paid for does not meet their expectations in terms of quality, or features or both.

In other words, a great deal of software that is developed never gains user acceptance.  No respectable field of engineering has comparable failure.  That would be a catastrophe, and construction and automotive engineers would not make a living!

  • Why does the distinguished software industry have such an abysmal track record? A big part of the answer is ‘scope definition’, a phenomenon that causes users to be highly inconsistent and unpredictable, about what they wish their software to do. Experienced software engineers often say that users are notorious for their inability to clearly articulate their expectations from software. As a result, it is alarmingly common for the development (construction) of software applications to begin with insufficient requirements and ambiguous specifications.
  • ERP project is taken as ‘by-the-way’ project whereas in true sense it should be the only priority during implementation phase.
  • And because software is intangible (impossible to see and touch) while it is under development (unlike other forms of construction such as bridges and cars), it is commonplace for needs to keep evolving as the software gets built. With every round of change and clarification. The scope of the project changes (as earlier assumptions are negated and new ones introduced). And timelines are pushed out to accommodate new expectations. This is analogous to building a house for which the architectural design keeps shifting with the changing priorities of the owners. Human experience suggests that moving-targets do not lend themselves to happy outcomes. And so it is with the timelines and budgets of numerous ERP projects.
  • Untreatable as it may seem on the surface, scope creep (changes) is an eminently treatable problem. For example, world-class ERP organizations now employ the use case method to manage user requirements. Instead of asking users what features they want in their software, the user case method guides them to describe their current and future processes and behaviors in terms of stories and scripts (much like playwrights write plays) that are stuffed with actors, actions and entity. It turns out that humans are fundamentally better at narration than specification, and the requirements that originate from this method are decidedly more robust.
  • Further, the software implementation and development process has itself become less linear and more cyclical. These days, large ERP projects are broken down into a series of short, burst sprints that last between 30-60 days each.  Sometime, module wise implementation helps building up confidence.
  • Only a small set of requirements are addressed in each sprint, and no changes in scope are permitted while a sprint is progress. Finally, users themselves play an active role in software evolution. As each iterative cycle draws to a close, representative users (or focus groups) interact with the ‘live’ (albeit partially complete) system, and provide critical feedback. The feedback is analyzed, course corrections engineered, and scope creep managed in a controlled fashion.
  • Software engineers are devising early warning systems that will allow them to predict well in advance how serious the downstream effects of unmanaged scope creep can be. An innovative measure that is gaining currency is the requirements clarity indicator, a metric that allows a panel of software experts to review a set of project requirements early in the life-cycle and determine how well the stakeholders even understand what they want from their stability indicator. Low scores on requirements clarity or requirement stability ought to be sufficient to assume that a project is headed for serious trouble.
  • In conclusion, scope creep remains a major threat to the success of every software project.

However, its impact can be minimized by leveraging best practices that are part of the emerging repertoire of leading IT organizations. Good software engineering is all about deciphering what users need, and not getting distracted by what they demand. It is also about managing scope creep intelligently. Use cases, iterative sprints, task group feedback, as well as indicators that measure requirements clarity and stability allow modern software engineers to do just that.

Above write-up is based on Jyoti Zaveri’s experience of software development and software projects implementation experience.

Domain Knowledge

Domain Knowledge is the knowledge of a particular industry

domain

Domain knowledge is the knowledge about the environment in which the business organizations operates, and it encompasses the understanding of the industry dynamics, history, sectors and segments, business model, competitive landscape, value chain, customers, supply chain, challenges and the industry specific strategies of the target enterprise.

Domain knowledge is necessary because it provides the ability to make good judgments and quick decisions and empower the users to deal with complex business situations.  For implementing e-commerce project it is necessary to learn about the business that you are trying to automate on the internet.  Gaining understanding of the industry means a smarter analysis, clearer logic underlying business decisions, closer attention to key dimensions of implementation and operation, and more disciplined performance management.

On the lighter side, here is a joke:

Get Domain expertise

Get Domain expertise

There was a family with one kid. One day the mother was out and dad was in charge of the kid, who just turned three.

 
Someone had given the kid a little ‘tea set’ as a birthday gift and it was one of her favourite toys. Daddy was in the living room engrossed in the evening news when kid brought Daddy a little cup of ‘tea’, which was just water. After several cups of tea and lots of praise for from father for such yummy tea, kid’s Mom came home.
 
Dad made her wait in the living room to watch the kid bring him a cup of tea, because it was ‘just the cutest thing!!’
 
 
Mom waited, and sure enough, the kid comes down the hall with a cup of tea for Daddy and she watches him drink it up, then she says to him, ‘Did it ever come to your mind that the only place that baby can reach to get water is the toilet??’
….Mothers know!
 
Moral Of The Story:  Domain knowledge is very important!  Else your project may fail.

Communicating between end-users and software developers is often difficult. They must find a common language to communicate in.  It is necessary to learn the jargon (vocabulary)  to communicate effectively.   The consultant may play an important role to bridge the gap between business executives and software engineers.

Examples of Domain Knowledge that may require for a project in the respective business category.
  • Automotive Domain.
  • Banking Domain.
  • Education Domain.
  • Engineering Domain.
  • FMCG Domain.
  • Retail Domain.
  • Telecom Domain.
  • Travel Domain.

In ERP / e-commerce project, domain knowledge is knowledge about the environment in which the target system operates. Domain knowledge is important, because it usually must be learned from software users in the domain (as domain specialists/experts), rather than from software developers. Expert’s domain knowledge is transformed in computer programs and active data, for example in a set of rules in knowledge bases, by knowledge engineers.

Wired or UN-Wired Business? Go Mobile

Web based / Mobile Application – Wired or UN-Wired Business?

Use mobile based or tabs based Apps and business management software for efficient business management.

Achieve the leading edge in this highly competitive market.

Use ERP on Android / Windows / iPhone based Apps

You want productive employees and they want the freedom to use mobile applications to get their work done.

Business on the Go

Business on the Go

Go Mobile Business advantage:

  • Already implemented business solutions to manage inventory, pre-sales, sales, sales and distribution, warehouse management, purchase, and many other areas of operation.
  • Specialist in Enterprise Software solution with a proven track-record.  Option of cloud based database so no need for in-house Server. 
  • Option of cloud based database so no need for in-house Server. 
  • Specializing in understanding business requirements, identify bottle-necks and stream-line business process to push the report on the mobile directly to users– for efficient management.   Option of linking payment gateway if required.   Software will be optimized to operate on Smartphone or Tabs.
  • Pre-sales and Sales modules supports discounts (document level or line level).
  • Warehouse module / Depot / CFA / Super Stockiest business logic deals with issues such as goods allocation, picks and put-away, shipping, physical control, etc.
  • QR Code or Bar code integration.
  • Go Mobile requires permanent connection to a hot spot / WiFi / 3G.
  • For marketing and effective branding option of linking your operations with other digital platforms such as Facebook / Twitter, etc.
  • Solution on HTML5 compatible web browsers such as iOS (iPhone and iPad), Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, etc.  Can use on desktop or laptop.

Give your team the software they need to handle key tasks and make decisions in real time, anywhere and any-time with the mobile / tab based software for businesses.

  • Mobile device and ERP system provides stores managers with a real-time view on their existing stock status.
  • Ability to receive and issue goods in an integrated fashion.
  • Ability to transfer stocks between locations.
  • Extends the reach of Material Management system anywhere any-time.
  • Real-time MIS (information system ) for manufacturing and inventory visibility.
  • Improve productivity and effectiveness of field sales team.
  • Lower cost of sales by eliminating inefficient paper-based processes.
  • Ability to analyse individual and team performance within and across sales teams.

Case Studies:  Fifteen success stories of system already implemented by Zaveri http://www.dnserp.com/erp_success_story.htm

What do you say?  I will appreciate your comments.

ERP Job and mistakes ERP Certified professionals make.

Powerful career tips written by Jon Reed ,The SAP Mentor and the Founder of JonERP.com , and Produced by ERP Consultant Mostafa Al-aqeely. On the most common mistakes that SAP job seekers make.

Video courtesy http://www.youtube.com/user/MrMostafaEid/videos

ERP Vendors

ERP Vendors

ERP vendors:  There are hundreds of software companies offering ERP solutions.  There are two kinds of ERP companies.  (1) ERP software developing organizing and (2) ERP implementing partners.

ERP vendor companies:  SAP, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics (Navision), Sage ERP, DNS ERP, Telly ERP, and so on.

ERP implementer partners:  Siemens InfoTech, PwC, Infosys (recent acquisition of Axon, for instance), etc.

What is the difference between SAP and ERP?

This is wrong question.  It is like asking, “What is the difference between a car and Honda Accord?”  Honda Accord is one of the models of cars.  Car is a generic name given to vehicle.  Similarly, ERP is generic name given to enterprise management integrated software.

SAP Certification:  No doubt, SAP is considered as # 1 and learning SAP ERP will be a feather in your cap, however, (first you need the cap).  Many students are carried away by the SAP brand name without understanding that, just by sitting in the Mercedes car, you can’t learn driving.  Make sure that ERP certificate is backed by adequate practical training and at least two years of work experience.  A fresher with an SAP certificate is a sad joke!

Please note that SAP is a well-known, leading ERP company in the world.  But, SAP is not the only ERP vendor.  There are many ERP companies.  SAP is a specific name of the one of the companies, which has developed ERP software.  Therefore, it is wrong way to ask, “What is the difference between SAP and ERP?”  One may ask a question, “What is the difference between SAP and MS Dynamics?”?  That makes more sense.

Join LinkedIn group ERP, E-business Forum

Let us continue this discussion on this LinkedIn group.

Join this Facebook group Discuss ERP

Hope you will Like this post.   Please do not forget to subscribe to this ERP Blog.  This post is important based on many emails received from frustrated ERP [so-called]  Certified  software engineers.   Leave your comments below and share with your contacts who you think will benefit by this post.

 

Additional resource to learn ERP

Join ERP Groups on Facebook and LinkedIn and Follow on Twiiter

Join ERP Groups on Facebook and LinkedIn and Follow on Twitter

Connect and regularly access to get many valuable benefits that these sites provides.

Learn CRM, Supply chain management and Enterprise Resource Planning software.  This web sites are good reference for various key functions managers, such as accounts, purchase, sales, production, etc.  It is not just additional resource but also a companion sites for corporate commandos.

Join Facebook ERP group

Let us discuss ERP, any ERP.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/discuss.erp Join Facebook Group ERP

http://www.facebook.com/dnserp Like Facebook Page ERP

Join ERP LinkedIn group

Join ERP LinkedIn group

http://linkd.in/lFj98r Join LinkedIn Group ERP, E-business Forum

Follow @followERP on Twitter

Follow @followERP on Twitter

http://www.twitter.com/followERP Follow

ERP training videos

Subscribe. ERP training videos on YouTube. Over 100 K video views.

http://www.youtube.com/dnserp  Subscribe

Follow on Scribd - ERP PowerPoint presentations.  Over 100 K reads.

Follow on Scribd – ERP PowerPoint presentations. Over 100 K reads.

http://www.scribd.com/elesson Follow

Follow on slideshare.  ERP presentations with videos

Follow on slideshare. ERP presentations with videos

http://www.slideshare.net/jzaveri Follow Presentations with YouTube video

Created for e-Learning by Jyotindra Zaveri, ERP Consultant & Trainer. 

Connect and regularly access to get many valuable benefits that DNS provides.  Do not forget to subscribe to his blog to get automatic email whenever we publish new post.  If you Like it Share with other.  

  

Year ends on March 31- Due priority should be given by all stakeholders

Year-end procedure.  In India, the accounting year is April to March.  Accounting year 09-10 has ended on 31st March 2010.  Important procedure is given below to plan the ‘year ending’ in ERP.  The following procedure for ERP rollout is very important.  Due priority should be given by the stakeholders.

The procedure will vary depending on your current status as follows:

1.    ERP status is ‘go live’.  Users are online and entering transaction in real-time.  The closing stock was already entered.

2.    ERP is being implemented.  Conference Room Pilot (CRP) run is done.  You have to  decide on the cut-off date.  You may think of considering 31/03/2012 as cut-off date, or any suitable date.  The day after the cut-off date, users go online.  That is ‘Go live’, and embraces New Year 2012-2013 with more accuracy in inventory management and tighter discipline.   There are two kinds of closing balances that are required:

Accounts closing balance:  Debtor.  Creditors.  Closing balance of stock.

It is important to note that both inventory and accounts are tightly linked in ERP.

·         FAQ: “Can we enter creditor / debtor balance and closing stock, later?”  The answer is NO.

1.    Before doing anything take backup.  Copy on once writable CD; take the backup media to another location (different building).

2.    Task:  Enter closing stock for Inventory items.

3.    Count stock.  This exercise should be done very carefully.  This is important for ‘going-live’.

4.    Enter the closing stock, as on the cut-off date, from that date onwards, ERP will prepare the inventory related books, as well as accounts books, automatically.

5.    E.g. closing balance as on March 31, mid night is opening balance for April 01.
6.    Task: Enter ALL items in the item master.
It is strongly recommended that for EACH location stock balance be taken.  E.g. stores, rejection location, scrap location, WIP (work-in-process), third party (subcontractor location), etc.

7.    Task: Take location master printout (excel sheet showing all locations) from the ERP (not from Tally).  The list will also show names of subcontractor locations.

8.    Bought out items, raw material, consumables, spares, etc.  Items that are supplied by vendors (supplier).

9.    Sub-assemblies, semi-finished goods, factory made item, etc.  This may include items that are received from third party, if it is semi-finished goods. (WIP).

10.  Finished Goods, (FG or product that usually appears in the sales invoice).

11.  Task: Prepare the Item list using ERP software instant excel sheet option.  You can prepare category, sub-category wise, separate list.  Give to concerned person to take physical stock (count) and write on the excel sheet itself, put date and sign.  This is strongly recommended to avoid confusion of item code / description.

12.  Use this list (hard copy) to enter closing stock figures in ERP.

13.  From that moment onwards, every transaction must go through ERP.

14.  Depending on your judgment, estimate time required to do the physical count and the exercise to enter the data in ERP.  This will depend on number of persons allocated for the task.

15.  During the stock taking activity, there should be NO material movement.  All goods inward and sales issue has to be suspended.  For instance some companies would like to do this exercise on 1, 2 and 3 April and start the year on 4 April 08.  Some companies stop the manufacturing activity on 30 and 31 Match.

16.  You may find items that are physically present but not in the list – enter in the item master and enter closing balance.

17.  Account Closing Balance are required for the following:
• Debtor (customer),
• Creditor (vendor, service provider, and third party) balance pertaining to 11-12 balance will be carried forward automatically.
• Pass JV (cr. Note or debit note if necessary to get the correct balance).  Make sure the bank-reconciliation exercise is done well in time for ensuring correct ‘Trial Balance’ statement in ERP.

18.  In case you have already gone “Live”:
Count physical stock for each item and write on the excel sheet printout, next to ERP stock statement (book stock) figure.  Ideally, both should be same.  If not write the difference (plus or minus).  You will have to get explanation from stores-in-charge and pass SAN (stock adjustment note) to get the book stock same as physical stock.

19.  You may find item that are shown as stock in hand but there is no such item.  Check that there is no confusion in item name.  Any case one must reconcile the stock.
20.  You will have to do this exercise for each location.  Especially stock lying with the third party (if any).

21.  Print separate list for FG, WIP, Stores items, consumables, packing material, etc. from ERP software.

22.  You will need people so plan in advance, inform your team (staff), this is not one or two persons task.  More people are required depending on number of location, size of the inventory, and so on.

23.  At the time of login, into the ERP, select appropriate year (the first screen where you give log in name and password).

24.  New document number series will start from the New accounting Year – e.g. April 1, 2012.

25.   ERP System will allow you to enter 11-12 transactions even in April 2010, (for this select year 11-12).  Finally, when the audited Balance Sheet is available one can make a “closing JV (Journal Voucher).  This may be sometime in April / May 12.  Whereas the current year (11-12) transaction can be entered from 1st April itself (these will be in new document series).

26.  Cut-off date is ‘as on’ date in the Closing Balance data entry screen.

27.  In item ledger and item stock statement ‘From’ date should NOT be less than Closing Balance, date that is used for entering closing balance.

28.   User must press ‘enter’ key after entering the closing balance stock.

29.  Once closing stock is entered, user should check, and if mistake is found, then enter again; this will over-write previous figure.  Once all closing balance is checked, printed and confirmed then REMOVE access to the closing Balance menu-using user manage.  No one should enter again cl. Bal. because this is one time exercise.
30. Only after disabling, the cl. Bal. menu user should be allowed to enter inventory transactions.
31. Closing balance Rate or value:
• While entering stock closing balance, user also should enter rate.  This is required to calculate the value.
• For item that are purchased from outside – pl. enter the Weighted Average Rate (WAR) rate (weighted average rate), or last purchase Rate, if WAR rate is not available.
• For all factory made items – SFG (Semi-Finished Goods or sub-assemblies) or FG (Finished Goods)– user should enter ‘cost rate’.

For additional information study The Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002

The bill was enacted as a reaction to a number of major corporate and accounting scandals including those affecting Enron, Tyco International, Adelphia, Peregrine Systems and WorldCom. These scandals, which cost investors billions of dollars when the share prices of affected companies collapsed, shook public confidence in the nation’s securities markets.

In India PWC and Satyam is recent examples of accounts manipulation.

Replacing ERP Software?

Are you planning to change your ERP vendor?

ERP Implementation tips

ERP Implementation tips

Replacing system management software is like visiting a medical clinic for injection, painful but necessary.  First, try to get upgraded version if any, from your existing ERP vendor.  Probably this means more investment, but worth considering.  Once you rule out this option, and decide to look for new ERP software, consider the following points:

  1. Once again define the new requirements, this time make a function wise list.  For instance, accounts, material, sales, and so on.  It is important to do the ABC analysis, A essential list, and C is wish list.  Remember if everything is A, you will have to pay for the customization, so let go of some point as wish list.  Share the list with the new ERP vendors, and try to match.  Here the trusting the new ERP partner is important that you want the truth.
  2.   Do some business process improvements.  Do not (do not, no this is not a spelling mistake, just to emphasise) automate without improving your existing methods.  Chances are you will automate the mistakes; this means ERP will do mistakes faster.  This exercise is called BPR (business process re-engineering).  All the problems with the existing system are in fact opportunities for improvement.  Ensure that you are aware of the issues, and that the new ERP software system will help resolve them.  Learn more about BPR here  http://www.dnserp.com/b__p__r_.htm.
    Do some BPR before ERP

    Do some BPR before ERP

  3. Stay focused in defining the scope.  Module wise write down master, transactions, and reports.  Again, do ABC analysis of the same.  See sample scope given here http://www.dnserp.com/dns_scope.htm.  FAQ: Can I change the scope?  Ans: Yes, but after discussing with the ERP supplier and before starting to implement.
  4. Select your task force.  Motivate them, yes allocate a budget.  Offer incentive.  Involve key people at the start.  Write important milestones.
  5. Size of the ERP company is not that important, small or big, what is important is how important it is for them to make your ERP a success.
  6. Arrange for a demo with your own inputs and try to match the report – at this stage without customization.  About eighty percent of your requirements should be met.  So prepare your own data to input for the demo run.
  7. Brainstorm with your senior management to identify potential reasons of failure, and take steps to guard the same to reduce risk.
  8. Assign one (or better two) main ERP coordinator/s, dedicated resource/s.  Consult domain expert and other consultants such as tax, ISO, 6-sigma, etc.  Ensure their valuable time is available.  Study http://www.dnserp.com/implement_erp.htm.
  9. While evaluating make sure the implementer/s are also interviewed and their time is committed.
  10. ERP implementer and ERP coordinator team should have project management skill.  Ask ERP vendor to show their track record of other similar size ERP success story, I mean show the document that was used to track ERP project management in the past.

Hope you will find this ERP tips useful and will share with others, by using the social icons given below.  Let us know your comments, add point that we might have missed out, your feed back will be appreciated. 

ERP software for hospital – Fortis

Q&A: Shivinder M Singh, MD, Fortis Healthcare (India).

Q&A: Shivinder M Singh, MD, 

Standardisation affects the cost by virtue of the fact that you don’t have to replicate the same process in a number of places. You can reduce the number of jobs at the front end. You can standardise them, it gets easier as you go along. The quality improves and errors, a major cost in healthcare, reduce. The idea is that if I have a hospital in a tier-3 or a tier-4 market, and it runs on the same system, it’s cheaper for me to run it.

We are doing this project, called Project Next, which, in a nutshell, is hospital-wide ERP. It’s costing us a bomb, roughly $5 million. But that’s across the entire network and it’ll put everything on the same platform, front and the back-end. By virtue of having scale, you can actually do more and you can do it cheaper.

” I take the 600,000 villages in the country and link each to a network which has got an emergency response. The villager has the basic diagnostic facility to figure if he has a problem early enough. And there is a preventive structure in place where there are annual health-checks and other such mechanisms”.

ERP / E-Business Seminar

ERP / E-COMMERCE & E-BUSINESS

ERP / E-COMMERCE & E-BUSINESS

We are happy to announce introductory seminar on ERP and E-Business.  DateFriday, 6 August, 2010. Limited seats.  For free invitation pass register today.  email chopra@dnserp.com or erpacademy@dnserp.com.  For venue and other information: Contact Prof. Chopra sir on +91 98900 38725.  Reserve you seat by registering today.

Complete ERP / e-Business training will start as follows:

Part-time course for working professionals.   Of course our full-time training continues as usual.

COURSE DETAILS:

The ERP training will be conducted in Pune, India.  Includes theory and practical sessions.  Also visit to industries where ERP has been installed, for hands-on experience.  Successful participants will be issued a certificate.  Training sessions will be taken by ERP experts.  We will be discussing about the latest technology of cloud computing and dot net version of ERP. We will also cover the e-Business & e-Commerce aspect of doing business.  Where user can use a browser to access ERP menus from any computer.

FULL TIME: The duration will be 300 Hrs.  (3 months) 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 pm. Monday – Friday.  Fee Rs 30,000 (all-inclusive).

PART TIME: For working professional.  Duration 100 Hrs.  Approx. 2.5 months.  Mon, Wed, Fri.  6.00 p.m. – 8.30 p.m.  Plus on Thursday 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 pm. Fee Rs 10,000 (All inclusive).

If you know all about ERP, or your organization is already using ERP, probably you know that there is a shortage of ERP trained people.  You are requested to share this information to others who you think will be benefited.

Track-record:  We Build ERP Careers @ DNS

In the past many young participants have joined us to learn ERP.  ERP Academy is for proper ERP training, for the right participant.  First-rate faculties, with vast industry expertise.  Intensive ERP training is given to toughen up participants.

View on our website  http://www.dnserp.com/erp_academy.htm to view testimony from past participants who received hands-on ERP training.

Why change before ERP?

BPR or Business Process Re-engineering is also referred as ‘change management’.

DO BPR before ERP

Change legacy method before you automate

If you automate a procedure with ERP,  it will speed up the results.  But, what if the legacy procedure itself was ‘incorrect’?  After ERP, now the ‘incorrect’ procedure will do wrong things  faster.  Is that what you wanted to achieve by deploying ERP?  Correct method to implement ERP is first to identify a process, second improve.  Third automate with ERP.

Let me give you few examples:

In one small company, the purchase officer was in habit of ordering material on phone.  In ERP that is not allowed.  If PO is not made, stores cannot enter data about material received.  For about three months, everyone tried his or her best to resist change.  Then the MD came to our rescue.  He instructed security that if the truck comes without bill, or without our Purchase Order reference number: “Do not allow the material to come inside the factory”.  After a couple of incidents where the material was returned, all the suppliers understood that the company was serious.  They started writing the PO reference number on their challan-cum-invoice.  Challans alone is not accepted.  Vendors and third-party insisted on getting the PO or JO from the purchase officer.  In other words, change was enforced by the top boss.  Benefit: Return on investment realized.

Classic example: “In DNS ERP software, we gave a link in the Purchase Order (PO), to pickup rate from the Purchase quotation.  User’s reaction: “I do not have time to prepare purchase quotations in ERP”.

Then, how ERP will help you with the pre-purchase module?  You have to change.  As a top person with authority, you should put your foot down and say, ‘nothing doing, we have invested in ERP to improve our business processes and not mimic old way of working in new ERP business logic.’

Another example: In one project, the user insisted on making challan to give materials to customer.  Our team said this is wrong and that you have to make CCI – Challan cum Invoice.  He did not budge.  He made our programmer change.  Now after six months he realized the mistake and again requested for the change back to the way it was.  He was charged Rs. 50,000/- for making changes.

This is a good example (of sticking to bullock-cart): In one company accountant was using an old fashion account-centric program, where she was allowed to change / edit / delete a transaction.  She expected ERP to do the same.  Without realizing, the very benefit of ERP is lost.  ERP is multi-user software.  Now we are planning to give access to branch offices.  The edit facility is a serious problem because user will ‘misuse’.  If you have a motor bullocks are not required, it is that simple (see picture above).

I can go on and on…..ask yourself a question: What are the opportunities for improvement?  Please write down for each function, say in accounts, in purchase, and so on.  Resistance to change is natural but we are intelligent human being, we have the reasoning mind.  Take ERP implementation as opportunity to carry out changes.

Why change? Conventionally, the legacy system that organizations use today, captures only transactional data like ‘what is bought’, at what price and when. The RFID technology enables capturing the event data through wireless sensor (reader) on each item and communicates to the ERP server on ‘Real-Time’ basis. We should “change” our businesses; Use the power of I. T. to radically redesign our business processes in order to achieve dramatic improvements in their performance.

Old rule: “we pay when we get the invoice”.  New rule: “we pay when we get the goods”.   In many growing companies in developing countries like India, they receive material with a ‘Challan’ (piece of paper that just mentions quantity) and later the supplier gives the invoice. The material is accepted, by stores based on (stupid) Challan; and may be even issued to production. While account section is not making any entry because ‘invoice’ was not received at that time. It is necessary to persuade vendors to give the bill along with the material. That is, insist on Challan-cum-Invoice (CCI).  Only if the vendor is under excise rule, stores will receive material with Challan-cum-Invoice. If vendor is not under excise he may send bill with Challan.

What to do? Now these vendors need to be educated for sending the bill so that accounts entry in ERP and that in stores will always match. One of our DNS users understood the significance and importance and took initiative to send some 400 mail merge letters to all suppliers to ensure that they send the bill as per the Purchase Order Schedule (which was prepared in ERP) citing the PO number on the bill. Even the security (security guard) was told not to allow any material to enter if not accompanied by a bill. It took sometime for all concerned to understand the ‘reengineering’ but after sometime everybody said it was a change for better!

Re-engineering while implementing ERP triggers changes of many kinds, not just of the business process itself.   Job designs, organizational structures, management systems, and most importantly ‘Attitude changes’ – anything associated with the process – must be refashioned in an integrated way. In other words, re-engineering is a tremendous effort that mandates change in many areas of the organization .  “Don’t be afraid to give your best to what seemingly are small jobs. Every time you conquer one, it makes you that much stronger. If you do the little jobs well, the big ones will tend to take care of themselves”.  (by Dale Carnegie).

In ERP, we try to coordinate parallel function during the process – and not after it is completed. Considering the inertia of old processes and structures, the strain of implementing re-engineering plan can hardly be overestimated. But by the same token, it is hard to overestimate the opportunities, especially for established companies.

Before implementing DNS ERP software one must do quite a bit of BPR. In fact, BPR and ERP implementation goes hand-in-hand. On one extreme, we change the software to suit current business processes – known as customization. On the other extreme, user is ready to change the current business processes and does BPR. The sensible way is to strike a balance somewhere in-between. Please instruct the ERP implementation team to carry out only ‘essential customization’. At the same time, identify old inefficient processes for revamp, and tell the users to adapt to new business processes in view of ERP, since some of the tasks that they were doing would now no longer be required.

Example of top management strictness: In one ERP project, we observed that they took the following approach:  After GO-LIVE, everyone was asked to join ‘new’ company. They are working in a new company, in a new role, and if they could not take on the new processes and working with ERP menus, they should leave after the 3 months probationary period was up. While effective, not always possible, and also an extreme example.

Here is a short story that exemplifies need for change.  Some companies keep on changing ERP instead of changing their legacy procedures.

Crow story: Once there was a Koel sitting on a branch.  She saw a crow running away.  She asked him, why are you running?  Crow said, ‘I am fed up with people around here, I am going to a new place’.  She asked ‘Why’?  Crow said, ‘they are  not good, they do not allow me to seat at one place, they always shoo me away by throwing stone and all that, and so I am going to a new place.’  She asked him, ‘Oh, OK, but did you change the old habit of screaming Ka  Ka  Ka and disturbing people’.  He said ‘No’.  Then she said. ‘in new place also perhaps people will drive you away and you will not benefit by running away from this place’.

Moral of the story:  Change before you automate.

You can share your experience, or comment on this blog.  What do you say?

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