News & Views

News & Views is published monthly by 180 Systems. Our objective is to provide recent articles to our readers on business technology topics. In some cases, our blog contains a title with a hyperlink to a source article, a quote from the article and our comments. In other cases, we have provided a blog without a hyperlink for original content by 180 Systems. We encourage you to post your own comments. You can also access our blog by topic.

How do you know your implementation project is on track?

ERP, Project Management

You may be hearing that all is well from the executive sponsor and project manager but you still have heard enough horror stories to keep you awake at night. We suggest the following approach:

  • Conduct a confidential survey with staff doing the work. You may be surprised what they say.
  • Look under the covers of the project schedule. Find out whether resources are overbooked and their calendar with planned absences are included. Make sure that you get the variance between budget and actual + estimated time to complete which is not calculated but based on the estimates of the resources doing the work.
  • Review the test plan. This is where the rubber hits the road prior to go-live. You will want stats on all the test scenarios – how many completed, passed, failed or postponed. You will also want to make sure that testing includes an end-to-end test that will simulate what the system will do when you go live, and it needs to include everything – reports, integration, and controls for all processes.
  • Contact 180 Systems for an independent assessment.

What come first – an ERP system (the chicken) or lean management (the egg)?

Business Process Analysis, ERP, Software Selection

Lean management is all about eliminating any waste by identifying each step in a business process and then revising or cutting out non-value added steps. The question is whether this should be done prior to selecting an ERP system. Proponents of doing it first assume that the implementation of an ERP system would be merely improving the automation of the existing process and better to eliminate the waste first. However, this approach (sometimes called repaving the cow paths and extending the chicken and egg analogy) is not best practice. The implementation of an ERP system is the best opportunity to implement lean processes. As well, eliminating waste can often be done efficiently with technology so why design and implement a business process that could potentially be part of an existing ERP system? ERP systems have also evolved and do incorporate lean techniques. But ERP implementers don’t always know enough about Lean to optimize business process. You need to either make sure the implementer can implement Lean methods or find yourself a Lean consultant to help with the implementation. One of our clients recently turned to Focused Improvement Consulting to make sure that lean management is applied to the implementation process.