Hidden Opportunities with ERP

Posted in Uncategorized on September 18, 2014 by johnpaulson1

The ERP Shake-up – Leverage it!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 16, 2012 by johnpaulson1

An ERP implementation can be one of the most disruptive events a business will experience. It is a shake-up to operations, to departments, to the people.  Managed effectively, this disruption can be a positive force to bring change not only with a new ERP system and related processes, but prime opportunity to bring a positive transformation to the organizational culture. With effective change management, this can be a change that can open the door to increase collaboration, improve cross functional knowledge, increase employee involvement and motivation, and lay the foundation for a continual learning and improvement organization moving forward.

Too often I see this momentum of positive change, a synergy of cross functional collaboration that an organization will go through during an ERP implementation, ease back into ‘business as usual’  following ‘Go Live’.  A mindset that is content with the standard daily tasks, doing what is minimally required to get the job done.  This organizational mindset can certainly be fatal to a company over time. Bringing in an ERP system can be a shock to the organizational system that may be much need. A change that can be leveraged to bring an organization out of what could be a dangerous comfort zone and on a new path of continual learning and continual improvement.

Following an ERP Go-Live, an organization can bring great value in harnessing the ERP project momentum, keeping it on a path moving forward transitioning into a continual improvement and a continual learning organization. It typically doesn’t require the demanding hours the ERP implementation required of the team members, however, it does require an effective and well understood process and methodology, effective project management, effective change management, a shared vision, executive sponsorship support and stakeholder buy-in to succeed.

Where to start??

A good place to start is to transition the weekly ERP team meetings with business discovery and improvement meetings. These meetings should be informal, but structured with a continue drive and support by senior management. The first few months following Go Live there is typically much value yet to be realized using the new system. Once users have had time on the system, there will be value in providing a review of system and user effectiveness and performance, typically  known as a post Go Live audit, or management audit.  Assess  ‘Phase 2’ improvements identified during the ERP implementation, prioritize and initiate improvement projects. Moving forward the meetings will be a basis for learning and for developing and managing  improvement initiatives which may be based on key performance indicators, management objectives,  the Balance Scorecard approach, or other.

Process Improvement Methodology

Getting the organization on one unified improvement process and methodology, and branding it to the organization, will be important. Move forward on each improvement initiative utilizing a formal process improvement methodology with effective project management and senior management support (view methodology in my blog; Supply Chain Improvements: How and where to start).

Conclusion

One of the biggest values you can add to your ERP implementation is to leverage it as the foundation for transformational change.  Leverage this change  moving the organization  in a new way of doing business, transforming it into a continual learning and improvement organization.

Remember, learning and growing are two critical traits an organization must have to remain competitive.

For more information on bringing transformation change to your organization, process improvement methodology, tools, and guidance, contact;

John Paulson, Supply Chain and ERP Consultant, Process and Systems Improvement Specialist

Cell: 503-819-0190

Email: paulsonjohna@gmail.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JPaulsonConsult

Forecasting with JD Edwards

Posted in Uncategorized on July 10, 2012 by johnpaulson1

To remain competitive, businesses must continually look for ways to improve their supply chain effectiveness. One important input to supply chain management is effective forecasting. Being able improve the prediction of demand is critical in today’s businesses. The ability to take this information and effectively manage the supply chain in a timely manner is a key component to remaining competitive.

Forecasting is a primary input of the planning and control systems of a company. The objective of a forecast system is simply to provide timely information to managers that will facilitate in effective decision-making.

Forecast systems come in many shapes, sizes, and calculations. From Excel based spreadsheet systems utilizing simple averaging techniques, to forecasting systems with built-in business intelligence integrating quantitative, qualitative, and technological approach. A forecasting system is a tool used by many functions of an organization including; finance, marketing, inventory management, production, human resources, strategic corporate planning. A transparent, easy to use, real-time, integrated forecast system is important points to look for when choosing a forecasting system.

Since my early days doing corporate forecasting at SpaceLabs, methodical and technological improvements in forecasting systems have certainly come along way expanding the ability of management to effectively use these tools across the organization. Leading forecast systems today are more transparent, user-friendly, and providing timely and effective forecast information required in business decision-making.

The JD Edwards Forecasting system provides ease of use utilizing 12 standard forecasting methods, along with functionality that identifies best fit forecast method based on historical data.  It is not as robust as some of the leading forecasting  packages available, however it does offer some nice features that could be leveraged for your basic forecasting needs.

Some of the features within the JD Edwards system include;

  • Batch process of sales history extract
  • System calculated forecasts utilizing 12 system forecasting methods
  • Ability to make weight adjustments to forecast method calculations.
  • Ability to recommend ‘Best Fit’ forecasting method of the 12 methods
  • Ability to support both manually entered forecasts and forecasts generated by the system.
  • Ability to review and adjust both forecast and actual sales order figures
  • Ability to summarize detailed forecasts by Sales Territory, and by Category Code including; Master Planning Family, Sales Category, and others.
  • Ability to store and display both original and adjusted forecast quantities and amounts.
  • Ability to identify demand patterns.
  • Ability to do simulations.
  • Ability to drive the JD Edwards Manufacturing and Distribution Planning system (MPS/MRP/DRP)
  • Text attachment to summary or detail forecast

The JD Edwards system utilizes the quantitative forecast approach to forecasting, with the ability for system users to adjust forecast based on qualitative information and analysis. Quantitative forecasting techniques have no simple, reliable way to predict what will happen when set patterns or relationships change. Because quantitative methods base their forecasts from history, patterns, and correlations, they work well only when the future ‘actual’s’ is similar to the past. This is where a qualitative approach using human judgement to aid in the forecasting process and adjust accordingly.

JD Edwards Forecasting system identifies a ‘Best Fit’

The system recommends the best fit forecast method by applying the selected forecasting methods to past sales order history and comparing the forecast simulation to the actual history. When you generate a best fit forecast, the system compares actual sales order histories to forecasts for a specific time period and computes how accurately each different forecasting method predicted sales. Then the system recommends the most accurate forecast as the best fit.

JD Edwards Forecasting methods include:

  1. Percentage Over or Under Last Year; useful to forecast demand for seasonal items with growth or decline
  2. Calculated Percentage Over or Under Last Year; useful in budgeting to simulate the effect of a specified growth rate or when sales history has a significant seasonal component
  3. Last Year to This Year; useful to forecast demand for mature products with level demand or seasonal demand without a trend.
  4. Moving Averages; useful to forecast demand for mature products without a trend
  5. Linear Approximation; useful to forecast demand for new products, or products with consistent positive or negative trends that are not due to seasonal fluctuations
  6. Least Square Regression;useful to forecast demand when a linear trend is in the data.
  7. Second Degree Approximation; useful when a product is in the transition between life cycle stages.
  8. Flexible Method – percent Over n Prior Months; similar to Method 1, This method is useful to forecast demand for a planned trend.
  9. Weighted Moving Averages; similar to Method 4, you can assign unequal weights to the historical data when using weighted moving average.
  10. Linear Smoothing; similar to method 9, a formula is assigned to give weights. For short-range forecasts of mature products
  11. Exponential Smoothing; this method is useful to forecast demand when no linear trend is in the data. Exponential smoothing relies on the assumption that the data are stationary.
  12. Exponential Smoothing with Trend and Seasonality; Method 12 uses two Exponential Smoothing equations and one simple average to calculate a smoothed average, a smoothed trend, and a simple average seasonal index.

Forecast Consumption with JD Edwards

I find that the JD Edwards forecast consumption functionality is one of the least understood functions in the planning system. Forecast consumption is simply a method of accounting for sales within a forecast planning period for planning purposes. Sales order demand “consumes” the forecast until eventually the sales order quantity is equal to or greater than the forecast quantity.  At that point, the excess sales order demand would drive requirements planning. Forecast consumption setup is certainly not difficult, however, understanding the mechanics is important for planning and troubleshooting.

Conclusion

In the competitive world of business, the changing  market demands and economical events that may take place, decisions must be made quickly, with greater reliance on real-time quantitative analysis, along with proper qualitative analysis. Understanding your requirements of a forecasting system may be your first logical step to improving your demand planning and the supply chain. With your business requirements identified, assess the functional gap and fit analysis with your existing forecasting system and proceed to develop a road map for improvement.

To learn more about the JD Edwards Forecasting system, functions, features, and  ‘best of breed’ third party forecasting package options that integrate with JD Edwards, contact John Paulson at jpaulson@jderesource.com, or phone John at 503-819-0190.

John Paulson, a JD Edwards manufacturing and distribution consultant and trainer, has been providing supply chain solutions to some of the nations leading companies  for over 15 years.

Steps to Optimize ERP

Posted in ERP, lean manufacturing, Project Management, Uncategorized with tags , , on January 25, 2012 by johnpaulson1

Do you feel you are not realizing the return on investment that you anticipated with your ERP system?

Often I hear the frustration companies have of the functional performance of their ERP system not quite meeting expectations. Quite often I find that clients do not realize the full functionality that is available in their ERP system. To start, we need to first understand the core  business requirements and processes as it is today, and how can we improve, utilizing existing ERP functionality. This is where optimizing comes in. When optimizing ERP, the focus is aligning the application with your business processes and business rules to accomplish world-class operations along with  leveraging existing ERP system functionality for optimization along with supporting  lean efforts to implement lean manufacturing and lean supply chain concepts and goals.

I have seen significant improvements take place in operations through ERP optimization and alignment with processes. I find that the most difficult part of an optimization initiative for most companies is their understanding of where to start, and what will have the most impact to the bottom line. Through a methodical approach, the starting point can be easily identified in a short period of time.

To get the initiative off the ground, leadership must be in full support, and driving the initiative. Next, identify a resource who will lead the optimization improvement initiative internally. This person ideally will be someone who is a good facilitator, and understands the business processes.

Optimization steps;

Step 1: DISCOVERY
Conduct in-depth interviews with all key users. Include in the interviews a ‘Top 5 issues’ list from each interview.

Review, document and chart current business end-to-end flow, from “order-to-cash”, identify transactional points, list all issues including the constraints. This could take a few meetings to iron out the initial flow chart, however, consider this document a living document which will be continually adjusted though time.

Review business processes in relationship to software and best business practices.

Document the ERP system functionality which is used, and not used.

Review the level of basic ERP knowledge in all key areas.

Prepare detailed value maps of all key business processes.

Assess system parameters and the ability to meet business and departmental goals.

Brainstorm policies, procedures, and business rules to support “today’s” business needs, as well as tomorrow’s anticipated growth.

Assess ERP educational requirements, training / re-refreshers courses.

Identify the functionality of new releases and develop a cost/benefit analysis.

Identify areas which are ripe for optimization. Develop the optimization plan. This plan, understand, is not a re-implementation of your ERP system. It is a comprehensive review and detailed study of all the features, functions and the alignment of your business systems to your current and future business processes.

Identify quick wins / identify longer term initiatives.

Identify opportunities for the following;
– Eliminate transactions where possible
– Automate as much as possible
– Standardize the balance
– Identify risks with mitigation plan

Document results, review with Executive Management, and prioritize tasks.

Step 2: PRIORITIZE
Prioritizing and scheduling enhancements / improvements, are crucial in maximizing the benefits of your ERP system

A standard template is needed to assess and prioritize enhancements, improvements.

Quantify business benefits and costs.
Enhancements that are easy to implement should be fast-tracked.
New enhancement requests should be assessed against the entire queue.
Plan to implement as quickly as possible
Demonstrate and communicate wins as quickly as possible.

Step 3: TEST THE SOLUTION
Proof of concept.
Obtain approval from management to proceed to step 4.
Documentation (validation, work instructions, procedures, Mgmt. signoffs, etc.)

Step 4: IMPLEMENT SOLUTION
Training
Update documentation

Step 5: MONITOR SOLUTION
Monitor solution and identify the next topic of improvement and start the process over.

There must be a drive with full support from top management on down to align lean business processes to the functionality of your ERP system.

Time and effort is required for developing the optimization team, writing scope statements, educating the organization, and developing a plan that allows a company to work on very precise projects.

The optimization process must also focus on dramatic improvements, concentrating on issues that will provide the largest return for the company. Those leaders that select to optimize their ERP system and place the information flow into perfect alignment with lean principles and practices will best position themselves and their companies for ultimate success. Companies that recognize the value of their ERP systems must be willing to make the investments of time and money required to transform their ERP system into a strategic tool that aligns the applications and business processes seamlessly. The ERP system is not a magic tool which will transform everything overnight. Successful organizations have developed optimization efforts that over time allow them to become more agile and responsive to customers needs.

Companies also have to be willing to move toward new business and organizational models that will allow them to take true advantage of architectural and business changes required through the ERP application. In the end, people and applications throughout the value chain will become more flexible and agile and ready to respond to market conditions, supply chain conditions, economical changes that come their way.

Develop the business goals and objectives for the ERP system and then put together a plan that will accomplish both your short- and long-term strategic and tactical goals.

I have consulted many companies on ERP and supply chain alignment and optimization, each having it’s own challenges to work out, but all resulting in positive gains for operations and most importantly the knowledge gained to move forward to continue improvements for operations.

For more information on how to optimize your ERP system and the supply chain, contact;

John Paulson, Supply Chain Consultant, Process and Systems Improvement Specialist

Cell: 503-819-0190

Email: paulsonj@aol.com

http://www.john-paulson.com

ERP: Recovering the Failed Implementation

Posted in ERP, Project Management, Uncategorized on December 13, 2011 by johnpaulson1

The reality is, as a project manager, the odds are against you, in particular to ERP implementations. With that said, a very good project manager can have a  failed project on his or her hands. A good project manager will be able to identify the risks, develop a solid mitigation plan, along with the skills to identify the symptoms of failure, and the course of action to take before failure occurs. However, this does not mean he or she will have complete control of what will result. Being able to see the symptoms, addressing the symptoms, and taking action accordingly with strong management support before it’s too late is critical. Much of this ability comes  from strong project management skills, solid experience, along with a critical component of ERP success; solid support from leadership.

The reality is, there is no step-by-step ERP project management methodology that will ensure success of an ERP implementation. Each project is different, requirements are different, scope is different, organizational cultures are different, different players, different challenges, and the list goes on.  It  is certainly an art, as it is a science, to managing ERP implementations. Some implementations make it through the finish line with minimal and very manageable problems. Others, not so well, and some considered a train wreck. The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

Unfortunately, some choose to ignore the symptoms and hope they go away. I have yet to see the symptoms of a failing project go away on their own.

Depending on the severity of the problems, or stage of failure, a failed ERP implementations can be turned around. In many cases, this turn around must be done in a rapid approach with an immediate back-up plan solution developed and executed in conjunction to keep operations moving.

Sounds painful right?  Yes, it certainly can be. Your operations is in the ‘critical care unit’ at this point.

The scenario;

Go Live has taken place, further frustration sets in throughout the organization. The complaints are coming in, the issues are compounding by the day, by the hour,  product shipments are not able to make it out the door, and people are going back to manual systems and reporting.

Sounds like an operational nightmare, right?   It happens.

Sure, one can list many reasons why this happened. The purpose of this article is not go into details of typical reasons ERP implementations fail, but to focus on what needs to happen moving forward to fix a broken implementation.

Interestingly, this particular scenario doesn’t necessarily have to take place at Go Live. I’ve seen it take place over the course of a few years due to no control of software configuration and customization management. However, the solution is the same, once controls are in place.

What next?

Accept things did not work out as planned. Yes, the project is probably over budget at this point, and needs to be re-examined for moving forward.. There is no time, or value, in finger pointing. The team worked very hard to this point. Leadership needs to assess the problems, the project, project management and style, and people, and be decisive based on facts and data. Don’t be quick to blame the software, or implementation services vendor. While they may be contributing factors, problems can very well be within the organization. At this point, it is highly recommended to bring in the assistance of an outside ERP expert to bring in a different perspective, looking from the outside in, even if it is just for a one to three day ‘rapid assessment’ (depending on scope). This person will provide direction moving forward, and to identify, and cut down any political bias that may hinder the efforts, whether it be within the organization, third party consulting implementation services, or software vendor. Ideally, this person should have been brought in prior to Go Live.

Leadership will initiate a task force development and drive the improvement initiative forward sending a clear message of need, expectations, and support from leadership

Identify the task force –  This could be the same team members and project manager as the implementation team, or adjustments to the team if required.

Identify the issues –Identify all issues, assign responsibilities, prioritize issues based on critical business processes, critical business needs. Issues will be managed on-line, one central database,  updated as real-time as possible.  The team will have access to the ‘on-line issues list, to make updates, view status and print if necessary for the standup meetings. An immediate survey may be needed to distribute to the departments, along with tight communications with the  departments. Constant communication face to face will be critical for immediate direction and feedback.  Daily standup meetings will be required, morning and afternoons for issues updates, keeping the meeting on topic, reviewing all action items, resource needs, and proposed solutions. If a ‘Help Desk’ support function is not in place, get it in place fast! This will be the central point for the organization to communicate system issues.

Project Management – Good project management practices and strong team facilitation skill is required during the recovery. At this point, it’s all about achieving recovery results efficiently and effectively as it relates to critical business processes first. Some project managers feel they need to make all the decisions. During this critical time of project recovery, this attitude can slow progress, and bring it to a halt. The project manager will delegate the decision making to the team. The team is granted greater power to make decisions, and move forward updating the team and management with their tasks and progress at the standup meetings. A project manager at this point will become more of a facilitator, and supporter for the team, doing whatever necessary to enable the team to accomplish the objectives, and act as as a communicator for the entire project.

Identify the problems – A two phased approach; Identify the quick fixes, and identify the long term solutions, improvements. With quick fixes, make sure to fully understand the root cause, the impact, the risk and the down stream effect of the fix. Make sure you have complete buy-in from from process owners. Again, this is where an end-to-end process flow chart will be necessary to reference the problems, the critical processes, and where is fits into the overall supply chain to validate the priority. The full history of the problem, solution, other data, will be referenced in the ‘Issues List’.

Develop the solution – The team will plan the solution, develop the risk analysis, and develop the cost analysis if necessary. Once a potential solution has been identified to test, a  review and approval will be required to move forward with solution test. It is possible, depending on the complexity of the problem, the solution approval process could be limited to the process owner at this stage.

Test the solution – Test solution in a unit test, followed up with an integrated test. Upon passing with predicted results, proceed with appropriate approval process to implement.

Monitor the process – Monitor for continued improvements.

Conclusion

The approach described in this article is a high level road map approach that will help steer you in the right direction for project recovery, though there is more that may need to be considered depending on the scope of the problems. I did not go into the detail of tools and techniques used, but it is certainly enough information to move forward with. It really comes down to taking the appropriate immediate steps to get the ERP initiative and business repaired in a tightly communicative, collaborative, and expedient manner.

Seeking the guidance of an expert, looking from the outside in, is recommended in failed scenarios of this nature. It is highly recommended to bring this person on board prior to Go Live, to assess  the capability of going live and identify risks before you flip the switch. It is critical to discuss and understand what ‘Day 1’ of Go Live will look like, for all functions, prior to flipping the switch, and how well prepared the organization is with going live.

For more information regarding ERP implementation management, contact;

John Paulson, Supply Chain and ERP Consultant,

Cell: 503-819-0190

Email: paulsonj@aol.com

http://www.john-paulson.com;

Supply Chain Improvements; How and where do we start

Posted in ERP, lean manufacturing, Lean operations, Supply Chain Management, Uncategorized with tags , , , on December 5, 2011 by johnpaulson1

Like many companies, you may find your organization is running full speed, and problems are all around. Constant complaints from the people; system issues, information not readily available, manual processes everywhere, excessive manual reports,  limited integration of information across the organization, ineffective collaboration with interfacing departments, product not available to ship, component shortages for work orders, MRP providing inaccurate numbers, inventory dollars climbing, … the list goes on.

Like many companies, there is probably no time or resources available to attack the problems, and no idea how to attack the problems, just ‘get the product out the door’.

I’ve seen it over and over throughout my background in operations management, and as a consultant.

Arriving to the conclusion that a new ERP system will fix the problems is an ingredient to disaster without proper study, and process fixes. With that said, I believe putting in place a supply chain improvement initiative is certainly a perquisite to the ERP initiative, with the two initiatives potentially integrating.

Rocket Science?

Supply chain improvement initiatives can be a big challenge to some companies; Identifying the problems, resource availability to attack the problems, organizational buy-in to solutions, defining metrics, identifying the critical constraints, identifying the solutions, understanding the tools available, and how to use the tools to assist in problem solving, the challenges in change management, and more. Yes, the challenges can be substantial and overwhelming in supply chain improvement initiatives. There is a practical approach and an accelerated improvement methodology to manage these challenges, along with valuable learning within the methodology process that provides for both business growth and personal growth.

The answer; No, it’s not rocket science. However, there are simple, and very effective tools to learn, and they can be learned during the project. Depending on the need, the tools could consist of concepts from Total Quality Management, Deming’s PDCA (PDSA), Six Sigma tools, DMAIC, Lean tools, Kaizen, SPC tools and others. It’s an easy to understand improvement methodology, utilizing the tools on an ‘as needed’ basis, will move your improvement initiative forward, and your company forward as a continual learning organization, and continual improvement organization.

The problem solving strategies developed over the past four decades have shaped the current problem solving methods of today. Collectively, these tools are proven, and powerful for an organization to grow from.

1) Leadership Takes the First Step

First, leadership takes the step to address the areas that need improvement at a high level, and drive the supply chain improvement initiative message to the organization, along with freeing up resources to move the initiative forward. Performance metrics is always a good place to start when identifying areas for improvement.  Leadership identifies the supply chain improvement Steering Committee to take the lead. Leadership is a critical component to the success of driving an improvement initiative through the finish line. Understand, the intent here is not to add more stress to the organization, but to make this an opportunity to improve the organization while turning your organization into a continual learning environment which provides for both personal growth and organizational growth. Remember, the initiative and all meetings will be informal, but structured.

2) Understand the Supply Chain ‘End-to-End’ Flow

I find many companies have yet to understand their supply chain process flow, and strategy. As I had blogged previously regarding the importance of process mapping for organizations, this is a must for the beginning of a supply chain improvements initiative. This is the basis of understanding the the existing processes, requirements,  identifying critical points of constraint, bottlenecks, and identification of primary and secondary areas for for improvement. A visual tool, a living document, that will continually be referenced, and adjusted for constraint/problem identification, and improvement discussion.

3) Identify and Define the Problems

Supply chain issues can show up in a variety of places; Key performance indicators, customer feed-back survey, ‘Top 5 Pain Points’ survey from departments, market analysis, bench marking analysis, profit and loss analysis, and more. The Steering Committee identifies the processes to improve based on business objectives. There are tools that can be used during this particular stage to identify and validate the critical processes to focus on.

4) Plan the Project

The Steering Committee identifies, at a high level, what to accomplish in the improvement initiative. This could be as simple as stating ‘Improving on-time shipments to reach 95%’  for example. Identify the process owner, the project manager, and the team. The project manager will develop the project charter to include; purpose of the document, project background (problem definition, analysis, etc.) , project objective,goals, approach, scope, assumptions, cost, project team resource requirements, roles, responsibilities, project governance, time-line, etc.

5) Analysis

At this stage, the project team takes over to study the process flow, conduct baseline data collection, identify the internal/external customers, understand the requirements, ‘as-is’ process, develop a gap analysis, identify root cause to the problem. The result of the analysis will be the development of the ‘Problem Statement’, which is present to the Steering Committee for discussion and approval to move forward.

6) Develop Solution

The team will plan the solution, develop the risk analysis, and develop the cost/benefit analysis. The solution may include identifying ‘best practices’, and a benchmark study. Once a potential solution has been identified to test, a Steering Committee review and approval will be required to move forward with solution test. It is possible, depending on the complexity of the project, the solution approval process could be limited to the process owner at this stage. What is very important to remember at this stage, the teams are looking for a solution for improvement, not a solution for perfection. Looking for perfection can easily result in no results, with much time spent, and much frustration. Teams often fall into the analysis paralysis of trying to identify the perfect solution. Often, this is due to fear of potential failure of the solution,  or of the initiative. Teams need to understand the intent of the process is to learn from, with the goal to improve.  Improvement in incremental steps is a good thing.

7) Test the Solution, and Learn

It is very important for the organization to understand the entire improvement process is a learning process, as is with the testing stage. The testing stage is a learning process first and foremost. If the solution does not pass with the predicted results, that is OK, the team most likely learned something very valuable. It is human nature to become very frustrated if a test does not result with what was predicted. Our culture looks at failure as a negative. Failure in most cases is a primary ingredient to success. Again, the approach to the improvement process is a learning approach, with the goal to improve. If the test failed, the team will cycle back to the solution stage. This cycle may happen several times which is OK, expect it, and learn from it. Once the test passed with predicted results, a ‘proof of concept’ demonstration may be a next step for the Steering Committee approval, or at minimum, process owner approval.

8) Measure the Solution

Once the test past predicted results, measure the results, confirm benefits meet the defined success criteria, document analysis, obtain approval from process owner and Steering Committee to implement.

9) Implement the Solution

Adopt the solution; train people of the process, update standard operating procedures, update process flow chart, plan cut-over from old process to new process, communicate change. Depending on the complexity of the change, the cut-over process and plan could be a project in itself to manage.

10) Monitor the Process

Monitor the process for continual improvement opportunities.

Conclusion

As stated in the beginning; like many companies, you may say there is no time or resources available to attack the problems, and no idea how to attack the problems. In business, there is only one choice, change faster and more effectively then your competition, or you may find your company out of the game.

The concept I have introduced; an accelerated process improvement methodology, will move your process improvement initiatives forward, and your organization forward. A methodology, unique from traditional process improvement consulting services, that focuses on organizational learning in a ‘as-required’ approach, while improving processes and the supply chain on a continual basis.

Bringing in an outside expert on supply chain process improvement consulting, who has solid experience in your industry, who has a solid understanding of problem solving methodology and tools used, change management, and has strong facilitator skills may be a wise choice for companies who need assistance with the initiatives. Bringing in a second pair of ‘supply chain experienced eyes’, looking from the outside in, can be very beneficial in some cases. This consultants role is not primarily to solve the problems. Most importantly, this consultants role is to transfer knowledge on ‘best practices’, how to identify and solve the root problems in supply chain, training on process improvement methodology, training on problem solving tools used, and providing insight from experience. A good consultant will streamline the consulting and training approach, to train on the tools used, as the tools are needed. A concept to ‘training on the project’, which I find to be very cost effective for organizations.

For more information on the process improvement methodology, tools, and guidance, contact

John Paulson, Supply Chain and ERP Consultant, Process and Systems Improvement Specialist

Cell: 503-819-0190

Email: paulsonj@aol.com

http://www.john-paulson.com

The Key Component to a Successful ERP Implementation

Posted in ERP, Uncategorized with tags on December 29, 2010 by johnpaulson1

Just the other day I was asked what is the one key component to a successful ERP implementation. My answer: ERP Knowledge. Sounds like the obvious. And of course followed up with strong leadership and solid ERP project management. There are certainly other key components that make up a successful ERP implementation, but for the purpose of this short topic, ‘ERP Knowledge’ is my focus, being the starting component for any ERP initiative.

I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly with ERP implementations. I would estimate 30% of my consulting projects I have been brought in to clean up the mess of poorly managed or implemented ERP projects, or provide project assessments of problem projects. In many cases these are projects of well known ERP consulting implementation service providers.  Over the years I have found many companies rely on their ERP implementation service provider to run the ERP show and the management of the project. This often came with problems..  and serious problems to say the least.

For a company who is planning an ERP initiative, it is essential, if not critical, to become ERP savvy, to take ownership of the ERP initiative, lead the ERP project, to know the project warning signs when you see them and know what corrective action to take. Leading the ERP initiative, owning the project management of the implementation and working in collaboration with your ERP implementation service provider, leveraging their systems expertise, their resources and experience is important and essential for the success of your organizations ERP initiative.

So, how does a company become ERP savvy?

Becoming ERP savvy comes with much experience. The best approach is to bring someone on board with solid ERP experience from business requirements development to software selection, to implementation, to post implementation support, to upgrade planning. Whether this is a full time position, or contract position, this is certainly a critcal step to ensure ERP success.

What should a company look for in a ERP specialist?

An ideal profile will include;

  • Experience with software selection
  • Experience with software and services negotiations
  • Experience managing third party implementation service vendors
  • Solid ERP project management of multiple projects
  • Managed functional and technical teams
  • Understands change management
  • Ideally someone with specific ERP system knowledge of the system being implemented, though, not necessary.
  • Ideally someone with specific industry experience would be prefered.  Some industries are highly regulated which may need to be considered for ERP initiatives and the process.

Bringing in an experienced ERP specialist, well before the software selection, who is on your side of the fence, I believe is a critical step for any ERP initiative  to ensure success of the project.

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Schedule a speaking engagement with John Paulson on the topic:

‘ERP: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’

This topic covers the top 10 reasons for ERP project failure, and how to avoid failure. Experiences, insights, and tips on successful ERP project management.

Great for any ‘ERP Kick-off’!

John Paulson, Supply Chain and ERP Consultant, Process and Systems Improvement Specialist

Cell: 503-819-0190

Email: paulsonj@aol.com

http://www.john-paulson.com