Tag Archive: business strategy

Why Executives Should Care About ERP Strategy

September 6th, 2017

Lately, we’ve been called in by several clients with ERP challenges that directly impact business growth and success. Do you desire profitable growth? If so, add ERP into your strategic discussions. Would you delegate a decision that could literally make or break your customer service, profit margins (or lack thereof) and ability to grow? I think not!

ERP Strategy Meeting

Incorporate ERP strategy discussions into executive meetings. It matters.

ERP Strategy Matters

There has been a widespread need to consider ERP as a strategic topic. For example, these scenarios have arisen in just the last month:

  1. In one manufacturing company, the ERP system was holding them back from growing. For a family-owned business, that is the equivalent of a noose around the neck.
  2. In another manufacturing and distribution business, they couldn’t figure out their costs – this issue certainly provides challenges for profitable growth.
  3. And in yet another situation, the ERP system wouldn’t support the business processes adequately and therefore would hold the owners back from getting away from the business (even for an extended vacation), let alone increasing the value of the business.
  4. A complex enterprise also struggled to further utilize their system for management decision-making due to data integrity obstacles and the lack of flexible reporting.

As I enjoy stating the obvious (one of my favorite clients used to say about me), none of these situations are desirable! Instead of ending up butting your head against the wall, start thinking about ERP as a strategic topic and include it in your executive meetings.

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Why ERP Success is a Strategic Topic 



Evaluate ERP Systems with an Eye towards Your Supply Chain

April 18th, 2016
erp as part of supply chain

A lot is required from an ERP system. Select and design one that aligns with your company’s critical success factors and helps your supply chain perform smoothly.

I frequently help clients select the “right” system to help them achieve their business strategy. One of the keys is to evaluate with an eye towards your supply chain. In today’s marketplace, the supply chain is often a core consideration. If we want customers to be happy, make sure your supply chain performs expertly.

In today’s Amazon-impact world, customers expect extreme service levels.  We need to anticipate their needs. Deliver rapidly. Be accessible. And the list goes on… Thus, to achieve these lofty objectives while not breaking the bank, we must create nimble and efficient supply chains – from your suppliers’ suppliers to your customers’ customers. What system functionality should be considered?

Throw best practices out the window! Many systems tout that their system has “best practice processes” and so everyone should conform to it. Not if you want to stand out from the crowd. Instead, identify your critical success factors and align with the right system to achieve endgame results. I’ve recently introduced my proprietary process ACE for just this objective. Contact me if you are interested in learning more about ACE. 

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to be the Strongest Link in your organization:

The Amazon Effect: Create a Customer Service Edge

4 Critical Success Factors Key to ERP Success

 



How to Defy the Odds with Culture Change

July 25th, 2013
change management map

Execution must be a core component of your organization’s culture

Between 70-80%+ of culture change programs, such as mergers and acquisitions, fail to produce the results originally expected. Yet, there are still many private equity firms and companies aggressively searching to merge and/or acquire a business – and certainly companies embark on major change initiatives, such as ERP implementations and reorganization plans every day. Why is the success rate so low? And, why can’t 70-80%+ of the merger/acquisition leadership teams find a way to be part of the 20%?

I’ve had first-hand experience working with companies in various stages of mergers and acquisitions and other significant change projects, and the answers are incredibly simple yet hard to execute. First, most mergers/acquisitions do not fail in the strategy. The synergies might be compelling, the opportunities vast; however, the key lies in poor execution. So, how do we stand out in the crowd as part of the 20%?

People and execution

One of the key issues is that people tend to become numbers – have you heard one of the following, “We can save X labor dollars,” “after consolidating Y function . . . ,” “we need to implement Z program to offset our 10% attrition – whether customers and/or employees”? Stop! Instead, value people, as they will be the ones who determine whether you’ll be one of the 20%.

First, make sure you:

1. Listen – to your employees, your customers, your suppliers, etc.

2. Involve them in the process – clarify the vision/end state and ask for involvement in defining the path to achieve the vision, encourage debate on the various alternatives and their benefits/costs to achieve a goal, ask for feedback and ideas, value their concerns and input and encourage brainstorming of solutions.

3. Communicate frequently, and consistently – do what you say you’ll do – this does not require that you have all the answers or that you communicate items you are unable to communicate yet it even works with bad news. People will value your communication if they know it is genuine, if they can count on you to consistently keep them updated, to answer their questions and if they know you value them and will treat them fairly and respectfully. And, I found that doing what you say you’ll do is much more challenging than it sounds, but it is #1 to success. The bottom line is that people are your #1 asset. Instead of focusing on equipment, labor and materials, first focus on people.

Next, execution is key. Execution must be a core component of your organization’s culture. What does that mean? The best definition I’ve seen of culture is from Alan Weiss – “Culture is simply that set of beliefs that governs behavior.” Thinking in terms of that definition, execution must be valued in your organization. Or, another way to say this is that the discipline of how your organization gets things done is more important than the “form” (who reports to who, how it looks, etc.). Of course, this takes us back to #1 – people. In addition, as Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan say in Execution, “People think of execution as the tactical side of the business. That’s the first big mistake. Tactics are central to execution, but execution is not tactics. Execution is fundamental to strategy and has to shape it. No worthwhile strategy can be planned without taking into account the organization’s ability to execute it.”

I’ve found there to be several key ingredients in successful execution – people, leadership, clear communication of the vision/end state, communication of the why’s and how’s (For example: Why are we following this path? How will this help us in the marketplace?), communication/integration to each person’s goals (including how they make a difference), tools/training required, follow-up, feedback . . . and repeat.

If the majority of your focus is on people and execution, you’ll likely be one of the 20%.