We have impressive references in the industries that we have focused on, and these companies have throughout the years got significant value by reducing costs, managing resources, expanding operations, and increase in profitability.
What are the key success factors clients should look out for when deciding to implement an ERP?
A product that suits you. Don’t follow or get carried away. Be wise when it comes to realizing what type of company you are and where your organization would want to be in next five years. Throughout my experience in Sri Lanka, I have seen companies investing in white elephants as well as investing in software, which would serve your immediate need, but not the needs and demands of next year. Or solutions that crack during acid tests. In both cases, organizations have failed to realize business value of the investment while some go back to glorious Microsoft Excel days and others dump their expansion plans or delay them. ERPs are not expensive, and I trust it should not be. You should value the ERP investments from the view as to how it would reduce costs, increase profitability, reduce risks and finally how it will help your strategy. ERP’s are not just Inventory, GL and Procurement. It should be much more. One needs to do this assessment prior to commencing the journey to invest. Many miss this due diligence and simply follow or get carried away wasting lots of resources or assign the wrong person’s within the company.
Partner with a vendor that has you as their obsession. Customer obsession should not be limited only to collect the AMC cheque annually.
ERP investments and projects are long-term partnerships between companies. The vendor needs to be close with the client and must have the attention towards the customer similar of a parent to a child. As a parent we wouldn’t say yes to all, which the child asks. While having your interest as the best for the child, you need to guide and groom them with utmost care. Same goes for an ERP implementation and support. The client needs due care and your obsession to make them succeed. Revenue and profits from project would follow once you fulfill your duties and responsibilities.
A committed approach from the top to bottom from your team. Like procuring a product or service, ERP is purchased by your company. One needs to have a fully committed management team including the senior most management to the user levels. You cannot afford to have a one weak link in the chain of command as that would put pressure to others to carry forward with many road bumps. It’s a marriage. And both parties need to understand their respective roles.
An understanding of business change and future readiness post ERP. With ERP you’d be a different organization. The pace of work, the quality of work output, the readiness of information, one source of truth, integration between departments, visibility of operations, efficiencies of supply chain, employee productivity, market intelligence, control of finance and book keeping are some of the key changes that you can expect post ERP. One needs to take a good assessment of these changes prior to taking the plunge. The world and local market space have changed and keeps changing rapidly. A company needs to keep up to these changes and demanding market through continuously being better at what they do, or can opt to stay where you are, and let others overtake and thrive.
A transparent commercial road map by the vendor. As a customer you have all the right to demand the costs and commercials for your next three to five years. One needs to openly discuss the future road map of your company’s journey and inquire the commercial road map from the vendor to support it. Hidden costs’ can be a death trap. In many cases, companies miss to discuss the future expansions and changes of business with the vendor and sign for locked contracts without any visibility of how the product or vendors would support your journey. One of the main reasons for this is that the senior Management assigns the ERP project to a middle or junior level manager from IT or Finance. ERP is a game changer for your business and the future of it, and hence best advice is nothing less than a C level should be responsible or take ownership of the project.