As part of Ultra’s independent ERP consultant team, I spend my weeks out in the field teaming with Ultra’s manufacturing and distribution clients on business process improvement, ERP evaluation, selection, and implementation projects.
One of my more recent client engagements is with a mid-market distributor of plumbing supplies based in the Western US region. This 75-year old family owned company operates with a total of 14 branches throughout the entire Washington state including Alaska. They employee 150 people.
About the Project
The distributor engaged Ultra to lead business process improvement, technology selection, and implementation. Most recently, our team led the Project Management Office for the implementation.
At the outset, the company teamed with Ultra due to our industry expertise, strategic experience with project and change management and significant knowledge of ERP vendor strengths and weaknesses.
The leadership of this company understood that the project was too complex and resource-intensive to go alone., so it was key to team with experts for an overall plan and activities to identify potential risks and mitigate those risks before they could become obstacles which could disrupt the flow of the project.
A Focus on Success
To help drive a successful outcome for this distributor, our team made sure the project was focused on business process transformation and industry best practices to get to the desired future state.
From the beginning of the project, it was key to see that the desired future state and business transformation goals were built into the process.
In addition, having independent insight into a variety of vendors allowed the distributor to leverage our neutral experience to identify the best-fit solutions for their organization.
One of the key challenges the company was facing included resistance to change when it came time to standardizing processes and selecting new technology.
For lasting change, the ERP project emphasis must be on people and processes. Success follows from a structured, purposeful approach aimed to help transition people, teams, and organizations from their current state to the desired future state.
Ultra was called in to help mitigate these “people-related” issues with great success. Read more about change management and ERP lessons learned.
We often emphasize that there is a “Human Element to ERP.”
Ultra feels very strongly that change management is not just a phase. Instead, change management must be woven into the fabric of methodology and built into the project plan and team culture throughout every phase of a technology project.
As a first strategy, it was key to clearly articulate the case for change. We led the team to communicate project scope, rollout strategy and implementation schedule as the ERP project got underway.
We made sure the entire enterprise fully understood project scope, rollout strategy, and the implementation schedule.
BPI, evaluation, and selection of a new system are now complete. We are in the Stabilization period and will close this project with Steering Team sign off very shortly.
The entire team now understands the importance of change management – which involves communications, planning, training and truly what it means for the business to “own the system.”
As part of ERP process improvement services, this organization now understand that change management helps reduce any resistance. Both individual and organizational values affect how a change is received in the organization and both were addressed in order to be successful.
As with any complex project, resistance to change is the norm, not the exception. Expect it, prepare for it and manage it to minimize the impact that it can have. Ignoring it and hoping it will go away is not an option.
Expect resistance to change, prepare for it and manage it to minimize the impact
It involves introducing best practices throughout the entire organization to increase efficiency, improve overall business performance and maximize the ERP system’s value.
As you can see from this “Stories from the Field,” putting importance on change management pays off. We’re committed to the success and health of this distribution company – with services focused on change management.
Have questions about change management and ERP? See these change management resources including blog posts, case studies and white papers for examples of innovative approaches to change management.
Contact Ultra Consultants to start your technology-enabled transformation.