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ERP Tragedy - Challenges of Implementing a 21st Century System at a 20th Century Company

ERP Tragedy - Challenges of Implementing a 21st Century System at a 20th Century Company

The ERP system was first rate, the right choice at the right price, but the organization, and specifically the office staff, were resistant to change. Over 100 years in business, this company had longstanding employees who were dedicated and respected.

But they were not interested in changing the way they’d been handling finances, customer service, and order fulfillment. They wanted to walk the paper invoice over to their manager, get his personal stamp of approval, and then walk back to manually enter the data into the computer.

That’s how they’d always done it. They wanted to leave their desks to use a stand-alone credit card terminal and thus abandon their phones and the possibility of satisfying new business. They faxed paper orders to the warehouse, where too frequently the wrong order was slapped onto the box and shipped erroneously.

All of this inefficiency was going to be solved by the system we had helped them select. Invoices were going to be received digitally and delivered through the system to the appropriate manager - wherever she might be - for her electronic approval. This information would then be fed to the warehouse where the product could be fulfilled and then efficiently delivered.

But the increased speed, efficiency, and opportunity for growth that would have resulted from implementation of the system was threatened by the fear and resistance of employees unwilling to change.

We were stymied. Sound familiar?

Symptoms of a 20th Century Company

  • Inability or reluctance to use common tools such as Microsoft Excel

  • Reliance on hard copy reports instead of computer-generated management dashboards

  • Continued use of Fax transmissions

  • Producing and filing multiple paper copies of documents instead of storing data electronically

  • Promoting a need to be “flexible” for customers as a justification for not implementing best practices

  • Reliance on the intuition and experience of key individuals instead of accepting that automation can improve both operations and customer satisfaction

  • Reluctance of users to make the necessary commitment to testing and training

  • Reliance on an IT department with legacy skills and an unwillingness to learn new tools

  • A workforce with no talent diversity. Staff perform repetitive work without understanding or caring about the overall impact of their job to the success of the company

A tragedy! With a remedy.

Remedy for an avoidable tragedy

  • Define the right project team and give them decision-making authority

  • Ensure management is engaged in defining future business practices

  • Assess the skills of the staff as it relates to the new system

  • Make sure all parties communicate regularly during implementation

  • Make training a normal part of staff’s scope of work

  • Give staff the assurance that the system will be to their benefit

  • Post a success dashboard throughout the project

If this case study sounds like your environment, the good news is that your challenges for a successful implementation of a 21st Century solution are solvable.

Call us to learn how these challenges can be overcome and to get your system up and running this year!

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