Tag Archive: culture

ERP Selection: Why It Has Become a Strategic Priority

April 18th, 2019

In today’s Amazonian environment, customers expect rapid delivery, over and beyond from cradle to grave, collaborative service, 24/7 accessibility and last-minute changes. Executives are realizing they must upgrade their technology infrastructure to meet and exceed these customer expectations while driving bottom line improvement.

Your ERP decision will be one of the most significant investments your company will undertake, and these projects are wrought with risk. 80% fail to achieve the expected results yet waiting “too long” can put you out of business.

Selecting an ERP System is a Strategic Priority
Because of the significant customer and bottom-line benefit and steep, unintended consequences associated with these projects, the most successful clients realize they must be a strategic priority. By no means should the decision by relegated to a technical expert or project manager. Involve your best and brightest on the team and ensure your executive team is on top of preparation, progress and the inevitable pitfalls – beginning with preparation:

  • Understand business processes: Start by understanding what occurs on a day-to-day basis. One of the top failure points is to assume that people can make the leap from current processes to what every ERP provider claims to be “best practices” on day 1 with no roadmap.
  • Gain strategic and cross-functional input – Since all systems will perform the basics well, success will boil down to what drives your strategy and supports your cross-functional and cross-organization collaboration.
  • Identify critical requirements – Countless hours wasted on typical business requirements (which all systems generally cover); instead, focus 80% of your attention on the requirements unique to your business, industry, and company. Think customer differentiation & profit drivers.
  • Prepare data and be realistic evaluating your process disciplines – No matter how well you prepare, your system will only be as good as your data and process disciplines.
  •  Dedicate appropriate resources – Be an exception. Supplement your resources, bring on appropriate expertise early on and be willing to invest in what will ensure success and mitigate your risk.

5 Critical Factors in Selecting ERP Software

As complicated as most companies seem to make it, the critical factors in software selection boil down to a select few:

  1. Your business objectives – Don’t worry about everything required in every module to run your business. Instead, take a step back and focus on what you need to meet your grow and profit plans.
  2. Cloud or not?  It depends. Dig into the details. Develop your own spreadsheets with paybacks. Consider your technical resources, adeptness with topics like cyber security and the latest technology, and your ability to navigate disruption and risk.
  3. Understand your culture – What are your cultural norms when it comes to change? Do your employees have an entrepreneurial spirit or do they require strict procedures? These answers will be integral to aligning culture and technology.
  4. Think about design upfront – Not thinking through down-the-line implications will derail the best of projects. Incorporate design and a holistic systems-view upfront.
  5. Ballpark estimates and ranges – Get a ballpark upfront, and never accept the first estimate. It’s typically too low! Worse yet, two suppliers that should be within 10% of one another can be 100% different. Ensure you are comparing apples to apples, and remember implementation, not software, is the 80-pound gorilla of ERP success.

ERP is a tough topic! Clients worry they are “too small” or it will be “too expensive”, and in the interim, the competition passes them by since having the technology that supports a superior customer experience without breaking the bank is a “must”, no matter your size or industry. With that said, we have seen clients ready to “throw out” a perfectly suitable ERP system as they think it is the system, not the process or people that is the issue when it isn’t.

If you’d like an expert to assess your situation to partner with you to achieve these types of results, contact us. 

      

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Supply Chain Management is Evolving: How Will It Affect Your Enterprise?

What’s Ahead for Business?

 



The Resilient Supply Chain: Do You Have Resilient Employees?

October 24th, 2018

Resiliency isn’t easy,  If it were, every organization would have already perfected it.  Yet, in today’s volatile, Amazon impacted, disruption-heavy environment, you must build resilience.  

What is Resilience
Let’s start by talking about our meaning of resilience.  In addition to having the ability to adjust and recover quickly to changing business conditions.  A company must also have the capability to proactively think through the most likely disruptors and develop strategies to thrive amidst the chaos.   

Are your employees resilient?
If a customer changes his mind, how does your team handle it?  Do they see it as a challenge or a chore? Do they complain or start asking questions to understand what’s behind the change and whether it is likely to impact future orders?  Do they communicate upstream and downstream so all parties are in the loop and aware of what is coming?

If a supplier runs into a capacity issue and is late to deliver, what do your employees do?  Actually, let’s back up – do they know about the delay in advance? If so, has it been communicated?  What approach is taken with the supplier in these circumstances? Do you know whether your demands are realistic or not?  Or are you overloading your low cost supplier so you don’t get beat up for purchase price variances? Think about these questions and then go back to answering the resiliency question.  

Learning from Failure
Here is another key question:  What does your team do if they fail?  Do they look for the person to blame? Does the leader blame the weakest link?  Or does the leader blame “them” (next level management)? Or does the leader accept responsibility even if it isn’t his/her fault?  No matter who is at fault, how does the team react? Do they jump on the situation and look for solutions? Will they be more likely or less likely to collaborate upstream or downstream to find answers or ideas to test?  Perhaps most importantly, will they hide under a rock or spur into action?


Start by understanding your resiliency culture.  Then, you can purposefully change it to focus on resiliency.  



My Late Aunt Marge & the Art of Conversation

October 14th, 2017

I've Been Thinking

Last week, my Aunt Marge passed away, one month shy of her 96th birthday. My dad, brother and I went to surprise her for her 90th birthday. She was so very excited to see my dad. Aunt Marge had a gift for the art of conversation and could make mundane topics seem compelling. I remember visiting my aunt and uncle over the years, and my mom was typically deep in conversation with my aunt about all sorts of family members and whatever else was going on. Since I was the only girl, I could sit and participate with them sometimes too, and it was engaging conversation. There are some people with a gift for making everything seem intriguing, and that was my aunt. Who wouldn’t benefit from having that skill?

One tip to implement this week:

Certainly, it can be a challenge to develop the gift of conversation overnight; however, you can make progress. I remember when I first started consulting – I would definitely NOT profess to be any any sort of expert; some might argue I was fairly weak in this area. After all, I was focused on achieving results for my clients and didn’t have any idea how to participate in “small talk”. I should have asked my lovely aunt for advice!

I tried a few networking groups because I knew it was a good idea but I didn’t know how to start a conversation. I distinctly remember one event where I stood around the food line because at least it was a way to not stand all by myself at a “networking event”. Fast-forward several years later and I lead all sorts of groups, am well-known throughout the area, and connect people everyday (and love it). I would have never have suspected that not only would I be able to connect people outside of my specific area of expertise but that I also would enjoy it immensely!

No matter your skill level in conversation, you can improve. Start by focusing on the other person. That alone can go a long way. Be interested. Look for ways to provide value. Find people like my aunt and pay attention to what they do and say – and how they do it. Try their techniques in your own way. Ask for feedback. And last but not least, start telling yourself that you are improving and good at conversation. I distinctly remember that I used to think I wasn’t a good networker until one day when I read or heard advice to stop that. So, I started saying I was good at networking, and it became true. You’ll believe what you tell yourself! I am no ‘Aunt Marge’ yet, but I have my own style.

 



Styx and the Power of Positivity and Enjoying Your Career

September 27th, 2017

I've Been Thinking

Last week, I attended a Styx concert at the L.A. Fair – what a powerful event! The band has been around for 45 years and still enjoys singing together! It was totally apparent watching the concert. They really took the positive spin on their commentary and truly enjoyed singing their classics such as my favorite, “Come Sail Away”. Since I started on a quest to see some of the “greats” while they were still singing over the last few years, I have some performances to compare. Thus, it is obvious that although all of the classics sang their greatest hits, Styx stood out in enjoying their greatest hits. What a difference loving your job can make! Take a look at the grand finale…

Styx in Concert at the L.A. Fair

Styx in Concert at the L.A. Fair – the grand finale!

One tip to implement this week: 

Why not take a positive attitude to your job or career – after all, you probably spend more time doing that than anything else! Try putting a positive spin on whatever happens this week at work and see what happens. You might find that it is a lot more enjoyable. You also might find that there are some interesting people you hadn’t really noticed before. Take a genuine interest and let me know how it goes. If it still happens to be miserable, perhaps you should get out. No job is worth misery!

One way to seek out positivity: “catching your colleagues doing something right”. Recognize them. Beyond your colleagues, perhaps look for where your manager or boss or a board member has gone out of his/her way to make a situation better. Appreciate it. Now for the hardest of all – look for where your most annoying team members (no matter their position) are doing something right. I wouldn’t be surprised if 80% of us have a much better week this week after this exercise! Let me know in the comments.

Read more about promoting a positive work culture…

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Even The Best System Will Fail Without Talent

September 8th, 2017

As an ERP expert, it is quite clear to me that even the best systems will fail miserably if they don’t possess talent. Don’t even bother to select and implement an ERP system if you don’t have the “right” people on the bus. Start with executive support and continue on down through every position – everything is a team effort.

Teamwork is everything

It’s paramount in business to have the “right” people at the table.

Since we’ve worked with many clients on ERP projects, it is crystal clear what impact people will have on your business’s success. Throw out the notion that ERP is a technical topic! Instead, start thinking of it as a transformation initiative of substantial importance to business success.

Talent Leads the Way to Success

There are countless ways in which talent will affect success. To name just a few:

  • The sales team at the ERP software provider. Let’s start with the people selling the system. If they aren’t geared to educate you on their system and its fit, you can be sold “a bill of goods”.
  • The implementation team at the ERP software provider – there is little as important as the particular resources you partner with to implement your system. Set it up sub-optimally and you’ll have enduring issues.
  • Your ERP team – since ERP can be such a time intensive process, the temptation is to assign non-integral people to the team since the day-to-day must carry on; however, this team is designing your future!
  • Your executive sponsors – these folks are in a critical position to understand the status, make critical decisions, consider the fit with strategy, supplement resources as required and much more. It is not for the faint of heart!

If you’d like to ensure success with your ERP system, you’ll START by considering the people.  Put more time and thought into your talent. As much as or more than you put into evaluating functionality and you’ll be grateful down-the-line.

 

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Why ERP Success Has Little to Do with Systems