We’ve offered a few blog posts on the topic of recovering from ERP failure.
To recap, Ultra views a project recovery effort as a strategic process to remedy past failures the organization experienced with a previous ERP project. This might have involved evaluation, selection and implementation, a combination of those phases, or none at all.
Too often we see companies that see a software demo, buy the system and then struggle to implement, if they get the system up and running at all.
The first post in the series “Heading into ERP Project Recovery? Keep These Tips in Mind” made the case that effective ERP project recovery puts the focus on business process improvement methodology, including change management.
The second blog post in the series offered additional insight to those recovering from a failed ERP project, stressing the importance of setting a foundation and specific methodology for success.
Today, I share a real-life recovery effort now underway, and how it’s possible to recover from ERP failure.
About the Recovery Project
A process manufacturer recently asked us to guide an ERP project recovery with a more strategic approach –addressing the shortcomings of the past to proactively handle the weaknesses from the ERP failure.
The company is a US-based process manufacturer serving component manufacturers including customers in the military and aerospace sectors. With nearly 300 employees, the manufacturer operates out of four locations and is in the process of adding a fifth facility.
With both Make-to-Stock and Make-to-Order processes, the original ERP project was launched to help them replace an end-of-life ERP system. The legacy solution could not scale as the company headed into expanded business volumes, nor could it manage product consolidation activities. The process manufacturer relied on a variety of stand-alone systems and manual methods, and was looking to improve reporting and operations with the new ERP system.
ERP Failure: What Happened?
The previous selection project failed mostly due to the organization not fully embracing a business process improvement approach, and jumping the gun on assessing vendor offerings.
As an example, key functional areas needing improved processes were formulation tracking and shelf life management, planning and scheduling as well as tracking aerospace, military and environmental requirements. Instead of focusing on fully documenting and mapping the current and future state in these functional areas, the team jumped directly to vendor demos without a clear vision of how a new ERP system would add value.
As one of the managers noted, the project got “lost in the weeds” in features and functions without a clear sense of the correct path to business performance improvements. As he so aptly noted, “we didn’t know what we didn’t know.”
Fortunately for them, they did not make any purchase nor did they get anywhere near ERP implementation, since they realized early on that they didn’t know how to go about the process of selection.
A Focus on Business Transformation
For this coatings processor, it was critical that the project recovery focus on business transformation as opposed to simply looking at ERP systems. By teaming with Ultra, the organization was led on a true business process improvement journey.
Our team led the organization with an overall goal of leveraging enterprise technology to achieve business process transformation.
We helped create a vision of the future state from the current state and helped define the business value for the project. We were able to pull multiple functions together into a single discussion and had multiple divisions speaking to the same solution: something they said had never happened before.
The ERP consultant team focused on business process mapping in key functional areas, such as formulation tracking and shelf life management, tracking aerospace, military and environmental mandates, planning and scheduling and other areas which needed streamlining and reducing wasted effort.
This more strategic approached helped alleviate the shortcomings of the past. It also established alignment of expectations with management, improved the efficiency of the team, eliminated process waste, and reduced the time to benefit for the project.
Heading into ERP Project Recovery?
Work smarter. See 5 guidelines for choosing an ERP consultant.
ERP projects fail for a variety of a reasons, as my colleague Salli Churchill showcased in an archived blog post entitled “What a Failed ERP Implementation” looks like.
As we saw in this case, when functional areas and departments don’t have a chance to confer with stakeholders to set ERP requirements, clearly defining expectations, milestones, or resource requirements based on the scope of the project – a less than ideal outcome follows.
Whatever the scenario, many manufacturing and distribution teams we encounter look to the Ultra ERP consultant team to guide ERP project recovery to work smarter the second time around. Contact Ultra to learn more.