How many times have you heard yourself mutter that under your breath? Your ERP implementation is probably a good example, especially if you’ve been using the same system for several years. You’ve thought of a much better scheme for part numbers; you’re stuck with the vestiges of four or five different attempts at setting up work centers, fully one-third of your parts no longer exist, and it’s nearly the same for your customers and vendors.
Moreover, anyone who had any real training in the system left the company eight years ago. There’s one person who everyone calls the “ERP Guru”. They do the best they can, but most of their knowledge is tribal, having been passed to them through a succession of predecessors who can only be recalled by the owner and that old guy in the shop who started as a part-timer in high school. Not to mention, your product mix and your market are nothing like they were when you began with the system. No one truly seems to understand the system’s intricacies well enough to adapt it to your new situation. You’re churning out reams of paper and poring over reports when you really need to be dispatching your shop in real-time and responding to your customers in hours instead of days. No one understands where your costs come from and it seems like your scheduling is never quite right. So where do we go from here?
Maybe, it’s time for a re-implementation. Yes, it sounds painful. But with a thorough understanding of the methodology and proper planning and guidance from an expert, you can pull it off. You’ll be able to leave behind all the outdated data; re-structure your part numbers and your shop so they make sense; train your people so everyone understands what the system can do, what it expects and what you can expect in return.
It may be a good idea to pick up the phone right now and call your ERP provider. Ask to speak with an applications engineer. You may be surprised at how quickly they can give you a rough idea of what’s involved and what’s required. Then, you’ll be able to discuss the options with your personnel and make the decision to schedule that all-important first visit to start the engineer’s discovery process and set the project in motion.Posted by Craig Schrotter, CPIM Senior Applications Engineer ProfitKey International LLC