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Posts Tagged ‘erp implementation’

ERP Selection and Implementation Tips and Tricks

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

1. ERP Selection/Implementation Team

Think about who you want on the selection/implementation team. The quality of your team members is important to the success of the implementation. Each team member need to have detailed knowledge of the current procedures. They also need to be someone that can envision the future goals of the company. It is required that the selection team is also implementation team. If the teams are not the same people then the finger pointing begins. Prior to the selection process, the selection team needs to document the requirements. These requirements will be compared the ERP software functionality.

2. Narrow down the list of ERP Products

There are dozens of ERP packages on the market. Your company can not look at all of them. Use the following criteria to narrow down the list:

  • Your business type – If you are a discreet manufacturer, look at the ERP products that handle discreet manufacturing. There is no need to look at the product that does not handle your type of business.
  • ERP Product lifecycle – What is the long term life of that ERP software package? Many on the market today are near the end of the life cycle. Many of these products are based on old technology. In some cases, the software vendor is limiting any new enhancements. At some point in the future your company may be pressured into migrating to the vendor’s newer product. This means another implementation in the near future. Choose the new products now to look at.

3. Get a head start on the ERP Implementation/Upgrade

Your company has bought or is in the process of buying/upgrading an Integrated ERP system. Getting a head start can help keep the implementation on-time and can help you keep your sanity. It can be tough at times to complete your tasks for the ERP Implementation and get your normal job duties completed. It is much easier and faster to perform the following tasks as you are performing your standard routine than it is to set down and document over a couple days from memory.

Although many of the recommendations below should have been done before purchase process, any missed items should be started now:

Meet with key personnel and have them collect the following information:

  • Collect sample documents given to you that you use to make decisions. Just a page or two highlight important fields and make a note of how the data is used. This includes legacy reports, Access databases, Excel Spreadsheets, Word Documents, anything else not listed.
    • Daily reports
    • Weekly reports
    • Monthly reports
    • Yearly reports
    • Other on-demand reports
    • Phone Calls
    • Emails
    • Faxes
    • Handwritten notes, Post-its, Napkins……
  • Document reports that you get and have no value.
  • What information is missing that you need to make better decisions?
  • Approximately how much time each week are you spending doing certain functions?
  • Track it several weeks daily to get real numbers. Be brutally honest.
    • 10% Planning
    • 20 % Paperwork
    • 10 % Deleting SPAM emails
    • 60 % Firefighting
  • What Software Products do you currently use?
    • Spreadsheets Microsoft Excel Other ______________
    • Word Processor Microsoft Word Other ______________
    • Email Microsoft Outlook Other _____________
    • Contact Management Microsoft Outlook Other ______________
    • Project Management Microsoft Project Other ______________
    • Database Software Microsoft Access Other ______________
    • Flowcharting Microsoft Visio Other ______________
    • CAD Software Name : ________________
    • ERP Software Name : ________________
    • Other software not mentioned : ________________________________
  • What items are on your wish list or goals for the ERP implementation? List them and rank them by priority.

Document your process flow. For example:

  • Receive email from customer with PO info.
  • Email Sales Manager to get approval of pricing
  • Email Finance Credit Manager to get Credit approval
  • After everything is approved Enter Sales Order into current software
  • Print Sales Order (5 copies)
    • Copy 1 – Fax to Customer
    • Copy 2 – Take to Purchasing
    • Copy 3 – Take to Manufacturing
    • Copy 4 – Take to Finance
    • Copy 5 – File away in Sales Order filing cabinet
  • What are the challenges and problems that keep repeating? List them and rank them by priority.

After the ERP Software has been selected:

  • If you do not know what ERP or the other acronyms/terms mean ask the question or look them up on the internet. Software suppliers are notorious for using TLA’s (Three Letter Acronyms) so it is important to understand what is being discussed.
  • Get the ERP Supplier Network, Server Hardware, Workstation Hardware and Software Requirements document. Analyze and create a plan to replace anything that does not meet the minimum specifications required. It is recommended that you exceed the minimums. At a minimum make sure the Servers and key personnel workstations exceed the minimums.
  • From the ERP Supplier, get and distribute the electronic manuals of the new system to the appropriate parties.  The more they know how the system works, the better they can make a contribution to implementation.
  • Go to the appropriate product specific Clients First Video Demo site and watch all of the videos to learn more about what the software can do.
  • Begin clearing your plate of any ‘procrastinated’ projects so that when the ERP implementation begins you have as free a schedule as possible.
  • If an option, ask key implementation team members to take vacations before the project starts to minimize project delays.

4. Training. Training, Training

Training is one of the most important processes in the correct use of the ERP system. Over time people come and go and are moved to new responsibilities. Training needs to be performed for each event. Not just the software training but the business processes that lead and follow that persons responsible process. It is important that the person understands the data being supplied to them and the data they are supplying to the next person.

5. Testing, Testing, Testing

During implementation be sure to test.

  • Each ERP system will have several different ways to do something. Test each one to see which one is correct for you company. Document your findings from the tests. I have seen on several occasions the same testing performed two or more times because the people forgot the findings.
  • Test each product line from Quote to Cash until needed
  • Test any unique internal company requirements. First decide if this is truly an unique internal requirement? After discussions you may find that it is the way it has always been done and nobody knows why. If this is the case get rid of the requirement. Document the findings and how it was handled.
  • Test any unique Customer or Supplier Requirements. Make sure it is still a requirement. Document the findings and how it was handled.
  • Test Security settings. Document the findings.

The following item is for Epicor but many of the items also apply to other ERP packages.

6. Epicor 9 Software Installation/Upgrade Checklist

One of the most important steps of the Epicor Signature Implementation Project plan is to get the Epicor software installed and tested. The install process is complex and needs to be verified before the Epicor install consultant leaves. Once the Epicor install consultant leaves it could be weeks before rescheduling.

  • Before the Epicor consultant is scheduled to arrive and install the software verify the following:
    • Verify Epicor has sent registration key codes to all Epicor modules purchased. If you are missing registration key codes, contact your Epicor Salesman immediately to get all of the codes. When you receive the fixed registration key codes, verify them again.
    • Verify Epicor has sent the correct DVD’s to all Epicor modules purchased. . If you are missing DVD’s, contact your Epicor Salesman immediately to get all of the DVD’s. When you receive the replacement DVD’s, verify them again.
    • Once you have all of the hardware, software and registration codes have arrived you can schedule the Epicor Install consultant.
  • Before the Epicor software installation is checked off as complete. Be sure to verify the following:
  • Verify database software is installed and tested. Download and install any outstanding patches.
  • Verify Epicor modules purchased are installed on server. Third party modules will probably be installed later. Download and install any outstanding patches.
  • Verify Epicor help is installed and working.
  • If embedded education was purchased, make sure the icon exists and verify education is installed and working.
  • Verify the client software is installed on several client computers and is working.
  • Verify someone at your site is trained on installing the Epicor client software.
  • Verify Crystal Reports developer is installed and document which computer it is installed on.
  • Perform prints and print previews on Crystal Reports and Progress reports from a client.
  • Verify Backups routines are created, tested and scheduled to run nightly.
  • Reboot the Epicor servers and make sure Epicor restarts automatically.
  • Get all Epicor Software media together and store somewhere safe and where it can be found.

Following the above list will help insure a successful software installation. As people go through the training process, all of the software will work with the training guides. It is very aggravating when the training guide wants to print something and printing is not working.

Before Starting an ERP Implementation or Upgrade…What to do

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Want to Get a Head Start on Your ERP Implementation/Upgrade?

Your company has bought or is in the process of buying/upgrading an Integrated ERP system. Getting a head start can help keep the implementation on-time and can help you keep your sanity. It can be tough at times to complete your tasks for the ERP Implementation and get your normal job duties completed. It is much easier and faster to perform the following tasks as you are performing your standard routine than it is to set down and document over a couple days from memory.

Although many of the recommendations below should have been done before purchase process, any missed items should be started now:

Meet with key personnel and have them collect the following information:

  • Collect sample documents given to you that you use to make decisions. Just a page or two highlight important fields and make a note of how the data is used. This includes legacy reports, Access databases, Excel Spreadsheets, Word Documents, anything else not listed.
    • Daily reports
    • Weekly reports
    • Monthly reports
    • Yearly reports
    • Other on-demand reports
    • Phone Calls
    • Emails
    • Faxes
    • Handwritten notes, Post-its, Napkins……

(more…)