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ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) System Implementation Service

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) System Implementation Service

 

 

 

Before introduction

An ERP implementation is not an IT initiative. When an organization believes that it is, and tasks the IT department with everything from software selection to implementation to training to internal communication, it is setting itself up for ERP failure. Sure, the system might get up and running. And staff might actually use it to perform some basic functions. But it will probably never provide the true operational benefits it could have and should have.

 

There is no arguing — nor should there be — that the IT department plays an integral role in ERP implementations. These are the men and women who are the masters of the technical side of the system, handling configuration, customization and all the other complicated stuff that the corporate suits have incredibly little to do with — and that the system can’t run without. But an IT staff, talented and knowledgeable as they are, typically are not the operational experts that need to drive an ERP project. Speaking in generalities, they don’t tend to have the broad, all-encompassing vision of the business that a COO has.

Further, they don’t tend to have the authority to make hundreds & may be thousands of top-level decisions (about business process management, about standardization, about streamlining) that need to be made in order to derive ROI from an enterprise software solution. Yet they are all too frequently given the responsibilities of an enormous (and potentially thankless) job: choose, implement and oversee the adoption of an entirely new way of doing business.

Introduction

Tougher competition in the marketplace is generating the need to better optimize resources, improve profitability and keep customers satisfied.  Companies are increasingly implementing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software solutions to improve operations and provide faster customer response.

ECPAs role is to help our clients choosing an ERP solution that meets their specific business requirements will enabling them to have a smoother implementation.  If the software package is written for our industry, they won’t have to custom design a solution.  One of the top reasons ERP implementations fail is because the software doesn’t meet basic industry specific business requirements. Although Customized solutions may be time consuming to implement but it sure have unique benefits for each enterprise.

However; purchasing or customizing an ERP application is only half the battle.  A well-designed implementation plan is the key to success.

ECPAs Implementation Steps for an ERP System

  1. STRATEGIC PLANNING
    • Project team:

ECPAs role is to help the enterprise to assign a project team with employees from sales, customer service, accounting, purchasing, operations and senior management.  ECPAs role is to ensure that each team member should be committed to the success of the project and accountable for specific tasks, i.e. developing a timeline, finalizing objectives, formulating a training plan.  ECPAs makes sure to include first line workers as well as management on your company team.

  • Examining current business processes:

ECPAs during ERP implementation ensures that the team of your enterprise performs an analysis on which business processes should be improved:

  • Gather copies of key documents such as invoices
  • Batch tickets and bill of lading for the analysis.
  • To start the team discussion, consider questions such as:
    • Are your procedures up to date?
    • Are there processes that could be automated?
    • Are personnel spending overtime processing orders?
    • Does your sales force and customer service personnel have real-time access to customer information?
  • The team members should also conduct interviews with key personnel to uncover additional areas of improvement needed.

 

  • Setting objectives:

ECPAs sets objectives that should be clearly defined prior to implementing the ERP solution.  ERP systems are massive and your company may not be able to implement every function.  That’s why ECPAs helps your company to define the scope of implementation.

Examples of objectives would include:

  • Does the solution reduce backlogs?
  • Can the solution improve on-time deliveries?
  • Will you be able to increase production yields?
    • Developing project plan:

ECPAs helps the team to develop a project plan which includes

  • Previously defined goals and objectives
  • Timelines
  • Training procedures
  • Individual team responsibilities.

ECPAs ensures that the end result of the project plan should be a “to do” list for each project team member.

  1. PROCEDURE REVIEW

 

 

 

 

  • Review software capabilities.

To achieve an effective review for software capabilities ECPAs is careful to do the following:

  • Dedicate 3-5 days of intensive review of the software capabilities for the project team
  • Train on every aspect of the ERP software to fully educate the team on capabilities and identify gaps.
  • Determine whether modifications are needed prior to employee training.
    • Identify manual processes.

ECPAs is keen to identify manual processes so as to evaluate which processes that are manual and should be automated with the ERP system.

  • Developing standard operating procedures.

ECPAs supports the project team to develop standard operating procedures (SOPs) for every aspect of your company business.  These procedures should be documented & ECPAs is Making sure that the documentation process is modified to meet as your company SOPs changes.

Examples of SOPs:

  • How do you handle global price changes?
  • What are the processes for inputting new customer records?
  • How do you currently handle the paperwork on drop shipments?
  • How do we add a new product or formula?
  1. DATA COLLECTION & CLEAN-UP
  • Converting data: You can’t assume 100% of the data can be converted as there may be outdated information in the system so ECPAs helps your enterprise to determine easily which information should be converted through an analysis process of current data.
  • Collecting new data:

ECPAs Role here is to help your enterprise to do the following:

  • Define the new data that needs to be collected.
  • Identify the source documents of the data.
  • Create spreadsheets to collect and segment the data into logical tables as most ERP systems will have a utility to upload data from a spreadsheet to their database.

 

 

  • Review all data input: ECPAs believes that data is the most important factor that drives the business, so it is very important that the data is accurate. That’s why after the converted and manually collected data is entered into the ERP database, ECPAs ensures that it must be reviewed for accuracy and completeness.
  • Data clean-up: ECPAs reviews and weed out un-needed information such as customers who haven’t purchased in a while or are no longer in business. As this is the time for improving data accuracy and re-establishing contact with inactive customers.

 

 

 

  1. TRAINING AND TESTING
  • Pre-test the database:

During ECPAs managing the ERP implementation process the project team should practice in the test database to:

  • Confirm that all information is accurate and working correctly.
  • Use a full week of real transaction data to push through the system to validate output.
  • Run real life scenarios to test for data accuracy. Occurring simultaneously with testing,
  • Make sure all necessary interfaces are designed and integration issues are resolved to ensure the software works in concert with other systems.

 

  • Verify testing;

ECPAs is responsible of making sure that the actual test mirrors the Standard Operating Procedures outlined in step 2, and determine whether modifications needed to be made.

  • Train the Trainer: It is less costly and very effective if you train the trainer.  ECPAs helps you to assign project team members to run the in-house training.  Set up user workstations for at least 2 days of training by functional area.  Provide additional tools, such as cheat sheets and training documentation.  Refresher training should also be provided as needed on an ongoing basis.
  • Final Testing: The project team needs to perform a final test on the data and processes once training is complete and make any needed adjustments.
  1. GO LIVE AND EVALUATE

At this Stage ECPAs is in charge to:

  • Develop a final Go-Live Checklist.
  • Evaluate the solution.

Sample Final Go Live Countdown Checklist Sample:

  • Physical inventory process is complete.
  • Beginning balance entry procedures are developed for all modules.
  • Any transition issues are addressed.
  • Documents & modifications are tested thoroughly.
  • Executives and departments heads are fully trained.
  • Vendor is available for go-live day.
  • Users will have assistance during their first live transactions.

Evaluation:

Developing a structured evaluation plan which ties back to the goals and objectives that were set in the planning stage.  In addition, a post-implementation audit should be performed after the system has been up and running for the first week for reconciliation purposes and three to six months following to test whether or not the anticipated ROI and business benefits are being realized.  Comparing actual

numbers with previously established benchmarks will reveal if the software tool does what it is intended to do – add value to the business.  It is important to periodically review the system’s performance to maximize ROI.

Finally we can summarize ECPAs role in making your enterprise capable of implementing your industry customized ERP System

  • Setting reasonable goals and objectives.
  • Making project team members accountable for implementation.
  • Testing software across departments.
  • Enabling your enterprise for constant evaluation process to maximize the return on your investment.