Conquering it All- The ERP Journey to Success

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In my position within the Marketing Department at SYSPRO USA, I am incredibly lucky to be given the opportunity to spend time out in the field visiting SYSPRO customers, meeting with prospects, brainstorming with Channel Partners and comparing experiences with peers. After every meeting, I try to reflect on each individual company’s experience with choosing, purchasing and implementing ERP software. Some have perfect experiences, while others find themselves overwhelmed and frustrated with the process. Since I’ve never been in the position where I’ve personally needed to evaluate, purchase and implement a software program like an ERP system, I’ve found a way to compare a company’s experience to some of my own in hopes of understanding their journey and easing the process for them. The answer came to me almost instantly.

Shopping for furniture.

Yes, that’s right. Shopping for furniture. But, not just any furniture- a certain “build-your-own” Swedish furniture manufacturer that has a 30,000 sq. ft. store in most major cities around the world. I’m certain most of you have shopped there at some point in your life, so you can each relate to this journey first-hand. Mine starts with a messy room desperately in need of a new dresser.

In order for me to function properly on a daily basis, I need to make sure my home is in order. Organization is key- my daily life runs much smoother if I know where my clothes, keys and essential items are. But, as my wardrobe grew, I found myself lost under a sea of clothes and saw my free time disappear as I constantly spent my mornings searching for a certain blouse. 15 minutes late to work and my lunch left on the counter at home, I knew my at-home business processes were failing and I needed to implement something that would help me be more efficient. My solution? A new dresser.

As mid-market manufacturers grow, they find themselves faced with a similar problem. They have higher inventory levels, more customers and are out-growing their current accounting processes of keeping track of everything on Excel Spreadsheets. They, too, need a program in-place that will help them integrate and properly control all aspects of their business while saving time and money. Their solution? An ERP Software Program.

Now that I knew that I was in need of a new dresser, the next step was to purchase one. I arrived at the store’s showroom feeling confident and prepared but was instantly overwhelmed as I was faced with an abundance of choices. There were many varieties and sizes of dressers, but once I was there I realized I didn’t measure the size of my room and therefore didn’t know where to begin or how to narrow down what would be best for me. Frustrated, I left the showroom and headed home to do research. After an extensive online search, I narrowed down my options to four different dressers. The next step was to head back to the showroom and see the dressers I’ve chosen in person.

Similar to my experience of choosing the right dresser, selecting the best ERP Solution for your company is a vital decision and can be overwhelming. With so many different vendors offering a variety of solutions, it’s important to do research, focus on what your business needs and find out how an ERP System will support these needs. A few months back, we posted a blog entry concentrating on how to select an ERP System in the current economy. Major factors to consider when evaluating your next ERP system include the cost and time it will take to implement the software, whether you prefer in-house support, and the functionality of the application to meet the needs specific to your organization. After narrowing down your vendors, the next step is to schedule a demo to really see first-hand how the software will support your business.

After spending what felt like hours at the store, I finally picked a dresser. It was aesthetically pleasing, fit the dimensions of my room flawlessly, and had several drawers to assist with optimal organization. The next step was to get the dresser back to my house and start putting it together. I drug the enormous boxes out of the warehouse, used every ounce of strength in my body to lay them on top of my car, and (hopefully) secured them tightly. The drive home was a successful accomplishment on its own, but once I got there, I dumped everything out of the boxes and stared at the heap of nails, screws, drawer liners, pieces of wood and book of instructions that lay on my floor. Putting this together would be a daunting task, but I took a deep breath, ignored the instructions (I am, of course, a furniture-building genius), picked up a hammer and matter-of-factly stated, “here we go!”

Within 20 minutes I was ready to throw that hammer out the window. I had pieces of the dresser in the wrong places, crooked nails and uneven lines. I ignored the instructions, didn’t take the time preparing to build the dresser and it showed in the end results. I wanted it done right and knew I needed to start over and follow the proper steps from beginning to end. Taking these same proper steps to learn about the process and system is also vital when implementing ERP.

Much more than just a choice of technology, a successful ERP implementation requires executives to align business strategy, processes, people and technology; it is a business project rather than a technological initiative. At SYSPRO , we often verbalize the importance of implementing properly to achieve the best results. SYSPRO’s STARS Implementation Methodology was developed based on the observed needs of companies migrating from basic software solutions, such as QuickBooks, or those currently using other Tier 2 and Tier 3 Enterprise Resource Planning software systems. SYSPRO observed that a majority of ERP implementation failures resulted from migrating organizations trying to “lay” the new ERP software on top of existing business processes. Therefore, STARS provides a structure to maximize business processes prior to the implementation of SYSPRO ERP software. SYSPRO’s STARS has one of the highest implementation success rates in the industry.

Once implemented, it is important to learn about your new system and create SYSPRO “Champion” ERP Project Teams in order to see the maximum benefits of your new solution and effectively run the program on a daily basis.

Similar to our customer’s results with SYSPRO, I am thrilled with my new dresser. My room is organized, I know where everything is, and most importantly, I save time and am more efficient every day. Want these same results? Contact SYSPRO.

-Erin Blake

SYSPRO is the leading supplier of ERP software to mid-market manufacturers and distributors. SYSPRO has more than 14,500 licensed customers in over 60 countries around the globe. If you’d like an ERP expert to contact you and further discuss how SYSPRO ERP can streamline your business processes, please contact us.

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