ERP Eeny Meeny Miny Mo!
Is This the Right One?
“We need to find the perfect project manager,” said Scooter Peigh, the CEO of the growing frozen food maker, “Just Like Mom’s.” Sales had risen from $80M to over $120M in the past year, and the systems were straining to keep up with the pace.
Viv Oncé, the head of Strategy (and a jack-of-all-trades), was affectionately known around the company as “Mom.” She did not expect this new growth to abate. Their new baseline for top-line sales at $120M was set, and this year they’d probably get to $140M. In addition, they were expanding their channels from grocery to convenience stores and club stores. They were getting big!
Yet they were using QuickBooks and all sorts of home-grown systems to manage Trade Spend and Warehouse Management and Sales.
Every month the CFO, Penny Weisse (she was always being ribbed about her name!), would spend hours reconciling the disconnected system. Finally, in exasperation, she would just post a reconciling number. This famously became known as the ‘Penny Plug!'
Scooter Peigh loved his people. He thought of them as one, big, happy family, and he didn’t want to challenge their ways, but he did want to harmonize the systems. Become smoother. Plus, he wanted to know the status of sales, inventory, and shipping every day. He didn't want a guestimate every month.
It was time for a change. Big time.
Who would lead the charge? Where to start? No one internally had the knowledge and experience to make a systems selection. And the software folks who called every month would simply push their own products. But Scooter wanted the best ERP solution, and now. This would be their one-time-in-a-decade effort and, as they say, ‘mission critical.’
"What we need,” said Scooter to Viv, “is a new face who has been through the evaluation and selection process many times before and who is not pushing software.”
Viv nodded in agreement. “I’ll find us ‘The One,’” she said with surety.
So, Viv started to make calls to companies she had heard of and those to whom she’d been recommended. Each one was eager to present a proposal and wanted to come out right away to meet.
But Viv was not ready to meet the contenders. She was strategic, after all. She was confident in knowing that she did not know enough. First, she would put a selection chart together and, only after she knew what they were looking for, would she invite each to propose.
Viv made a list of the qualities that were important. Eight big ones.
Scooter looked over at the computer screen facing Viv. “Nice chart, but why are you making THAT a criterion?” He pointed to number 7.
Viv looked up at him and smiled. “You’ll see,” she said. “Look, we are going to evaluate 4 companies, and those that get 70% will be our finalists."
“I understand 1 and 2 but explain to me the rest,” said Scooter.
“Well, #3 is because I want this to be a company that is part of our ‘trusted circle,’” Viv started.
Penny popped her head into the room and said, “Be sure that they are not too expensive!”
Scooter smiled. Their Net Income had doubled, and they had the money to do this right the first time.
“Penny Weisse,” Scooter said jokingly, “we’re not going to be pound foolish either!”
They all laughed, and Viv said, “Look, we don’t need to spend a fortune. Let’s see how crazy the fees will be without cutting corners.”
“Yes, and we want the selection done by the end of next quarter. That’s number 6.” Penny pointed to the grid and then frowned. “Hey, we’re not going to have to pay for them flying out to meet with us, are we?” Penny asked, clearly wanting to add that to the list.
“OK, Penny, I’ll make that a criterion, too!” chuckled Viv.
Scooter stood up. “Great, go through your evaluation, and after you whittle it down to two finalists, then I’ll want to meet the prospective Project Manager even if only by screen-share. I want to be sure that I can understand him or her; I don’t want a nerd leading the project. I want an experienced businessperson.” Scooter was excited.
“Yes, indeed, we’ll bring you in for the final selection.” Viv smiled. Her strategy for getting the project managed professionally was working. This was a sign that change was happening, and perhaps they could keep pace with top-line sales!
Mom does know best!
Are you considering new ERP solutions and want a true business partner to work with you to evaluate and select the Right One? Call us. We are The One.