Tag Archive: critical success factors

Do You Know What Is Important in Selecting the Right System?

March 21st, 2017
Selecting the right ERP system

Are you prepared to make a good match with ERP software suppliers? Start with understanding what your business needs are and whether the ERP software is a match.

ERP systems often fail to live up to their promise — even in the best of circumstances. It is a tough environment — software suppliers are consolidating, the smaller ones can disappear or get gobbled up in a moment’s notice, good resources are hard to find, and the list goes on. Yet there is no choice but to proactively address this topic to have a scalable business and to meet customer expectations as you get to a certain size and complexity. Thus, it is worth-while thinking about whether you are prepared in selecting the right system:

1. Do you fully understand your business requirements and specifically your critical success factors (from a company, industry and ERP functionality perspective)?

2. What safeguards do you have in place to avoid getting excited about non-essential bells and whistles that seem important at the time of selecting the right system but are not critical to your growth and profitability? Be honest!

3. Do you know what questions to ask to dig deeper into down-the-line impacts of functionality options? Overlook this step and it is likely you’ll be gravely disappointed later.

4. Do you have software and implementation cost estimates for what you can expect for your software tier? Would you know if your deal sounds “too good”?

Do you know the qualities to dig into to be assured that your implementation resources are best suited for success?

 

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Why ERP Success Has Little to Do with Systems

April 28th, 2016
ERP Success

ERP success depends on the quality and understanding of the people involved, from suppliers to team members.

After partnering with dozens of clients to help them select the “right” system that best fits their business requirements and partnering with many more to design the “right” processes in conjunction with their systems and people to achieve their objectives, it is clear that ERP success has little to do with systems! Counterintuitive but true!

As with almost everything, success boils down to people! That is a large part of the success of selection to cut through the “red tape” associated with ERP demos to look solely at critical success factors in conjunction with the ERP partner. If the supplier doesn’t understand the critical success factors, there is no point in collaborating. That means the people involved didn’t dig into enough detail to understand their potential partner.

In ERP success, suppliers are not good enough. It is hard enough to gain success with ERP as it is a major change initiative; whereas, there is no hope if you view your ERP partner as a “supplier” vs. a “partner”. The same is true if your ERP “supplier” views themselves as a “supplier” vs. a “partner”.

Next, choose your ERP team carefully. It will be time consuming and so dedicate the resources upfront. Figure out how to back up your resources.  Assure them of their career path. The ONLY way to ensure success is to have a high-functioning, dedicated team. It will involve the big picture, details and everything in-between. Make sure to have diversity. Leverage strengths.  Get the “right people on the bus” (as one of my mentors used to say), and it will all fall in line.

If you want to learn more about my new proprietary process ACESM — how to select the best system for your particular needs and/or how to design the “right” processes for your business in conjunction with your system, people/culture and strategy — please refer to our webpage or contact us.

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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. 

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4 Critical Success Factors Key to ERP Success

March 15th, 2016
erp success

To successfully implement ERP, start by identifying your critical success factors and align these factors with business processes and system functions.

I’ve always focused part of my business on ERP selection projects as these leverage the unique combination of my strengths — understanding the cross-functional and cross-organizational view in combination with the strategic priorities to identify the critical success factors. We then align these factors with the optimal business process design and system functionality to ensure success.

I’m in the final stages of developing a new proprietary process for ERP selection, called ACE (assess and align critical success factors to achieve your desired endgame). The key to success lies with critical success factors. Think about the following when thinking about critical success factors:

  1. Profit drivers – What drives the company’s profit? What is key to success? For example, when I was VP of Operations, I was responsible for cost. Although labor cost was utmost on the Board of Directors’ minds, it wasn’t the most important cost driver. Raw material costs were a much more significant percentage of product cost. Thus, focusing resources on material cost was the smartest way to drive profit.
  2. Alignment with strategy – Strategy can dictate a critical success factor. For example, if customers are core to success, making sure the system can easily address core customer requirements is cornerstone. How flexible is the system to meet those needs in alignment with your strategy?
  3. Differentiators – What does your business do differently from the competition? What are your unique differentiators? Make sure your system supports these.
  4. Unique system functionality – Often-times, there is functionality which is unique to your industry or way of doing business. For example, in metal processing, there can be attributes of metal which have to be considered in understanding items and inventory. Does your system support this without having a separate item for every possible combination of attributes?

Start by identifying your critical success factors. You wouldn’t want to start building a house by picking out curtains when you didn’t have the proper foundations in place. Consider your ERP system in a similar light. Stay tuned for the introduction of my new proprietary ACE process in next month’s newsletter…..

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