BUSINESS PROCESS IMPROVEMENT

You Know It’s the Right Time to Select a New ERP Solution When…

As independent ERP consultants, we are often asked about the right time to select a new ERP solution.

Over and over again, we’ve seen the many red flags that tell manufacturers and distributors it’s definitely time to upgrade from an aging legacy ERP system.

And we’ve seen the problems ERP teams can run into if the process isn’t properly planned and organized to include true business transformation.

Is it the Right Time to Select a New ERP Solution?

In many cases, we hear teams discuss compelling business reasons for changing ERP systems, including improving the level of integration between their current ERP system and other mission-critical applications such as CRM, supply chain portals, quality, and other applications.

Others report problems with vendor support for outdated systems or that their current system won’t scale to meet their planned future growth.

In this era of Baby Boomer retirements, some enterprises find that the staff familiar with special workarounds of the legacy system installed 20 years ago are ready to retire and take their insider knowledge with them.

Some teams tell us they are concerned about protections against security issues that their outdated systems don’t address.

Ultra has guided hundreds of successful ERP software selection and implementation engagements. Over the years, we’ve identified some of the challenges enterprises face that tell us it’s the right time to select a new ERP solution.

Based on hundreds of successful ERP projects serving as an independent guide, we’ve heard common challenges that indicate it’s the right time to select a new ERP solution.

Review this list of comments from some of our clients and discover if it’s time to consider a business transformation project that includes new technology.

  • The biggest frustration with our current ERP system? We have too many 3rdparty applications, which means we have a hassle with custom programming and manual workarounds.
  • It’s a spreadsheet nightmare – we maintain data in multiple places and in multiple formats, with little version control.
  • We just found out that our software vendor is no longer going to support our system. We have 12 months to find a replacement.
  • Our old ERP doesn’t do everything we need it to do, so we’re doing double entry, we’re still creating paper reports, and shop floor information is already obsolete when we try to use it. We have way too many manual steps.
  • We have a lot of custom coding in the old system and our IT manager is about to retire. Then what?

If any of these scenarios resonate with you, it’s time to consider a new ERP solution that fits your current and future requirements.

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Challenges with a Current ERP Project

In addition to problems with legacy systems, we are often called into salvage technology projects with new ERP solutions that have run amok.

ERP project teams are often understaffed, have insufficient resources, don’t have management buy-in and are not looking at the big picture of business process transformation to enable growth and to reduce or eliminate wasteful process steps.

It’s a challenge for teams to see the big picture of business process transformation to enable growth and to reduce or eliminate wasteful process steps.

We see teams frequently hoping to merely exchange an old software solution for a new one and expecting monumental business improvements.

Here are some of the comments we’ve heard from ERP teams assessing the right time to select a new ERP solution:

  • We didn’t have the right team for the entire project – we ran into issues that created cost overruns and disruption to our business.
  • We selected the right software but had to re-implement a year later because we needed preparation to be successful and that was never done.
  • Even though we selected a robust system, we basically mimicked our existing wasteful processes. We did not evaluate our current state to uncover all possible opportunities and inefficiencies to be addressed during the project.
  • We didn’t take the time to ensure all business needs were identified to help us improve not only what we were doing at the time of the project, but those we would likely face in the future based on projected growth and expansion.

We know that if new technology isn’t coupled with steps to achieve real and lasting business process improvement, the project will not be a success.

Making business process transformation the goal of your project, with new enterprise technology, requires creating a vision of the desired future state, based on the current state.

It’s been our experience as business improvement consultants that education about the new system and what it will mean for each department must be emphasized at every step of the ERP implementation plan.

Whether you’ve decided it’s the right time to select a new ERP solution or are stuck in an implementation project that isn’t reaping the benefits you hoped for, contact Ultra to get the most out of your technology investment.

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Jeff is the founder of Ultra Consultants, a well-known voice in the ERP consulting industry and an expert on ERP solutions for discrete and process manufacturers. Over the last 40-plus years, his companies have helped more than 2,000 organizations improve their business processes, select ERP software and implement advanced solutions.

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