ERP System Implementation Management
Effectively manage your implementation to ensure the results and control the budget
IntegrateIT has extensive experience in the implementation of ERP solutions. Our projects cross many different clients within the manufacturing, distribution, and logistics industries. We’ve solved a great many business problems for our clients during the last 15 years. We made pretty much every mistake you can make and recovered from the them all. We’ve been blessed to have worked with some truly progressive clients over the years and have created some exceptional business processes in partnership with them. We have seen the best in processes and worst in processes. And we bring ALL of that knowledge to every single implementation we do. Our experience makes the difference.
Over the years we have developed a method for implementing ERP solutions in small to mid-sized companies. We refer to it as “The Five Phases of Implementation” and are pleased to share it with you.
System Implementation Overview
The Five Phases of ERP Implementation
Well implemented ERP systems share certain characteristics that we are pleased to summarize here for you. We believe that following this phased approach produces the best overall implementation results. The five phases are as follows:
- Detailed Analysis
- Base Data Construction
- Process Simulation (Pilot)
- Go-Live Preparation
- After-Live Support
A proposal to implement significant systems should always include a detailed analysis phase. All vendor proposals are made from assumptions that require verification prior to beginning data construction within the new system. During the detailed analysis phase we verify any assumption that was made during our proposal in order to ensure the proposed implementation path is correct. That way, if any additional process gaps are discovered they can be properly dealt with.
If we propose software customizations they will have a two-part budget: one for analysis and specification creation, and the other for programming hours. Outcomes from the detailed analysis phase include:
- Detailed implementation roadmap
- Gap analysis
- Programming specs for system enhancements
- Confirmation of proposed implementation and programming budgets
Paving the Road
A proper detailed analysis will “pave the road” for the balance of the implementation process. You should ensure all key personnel are available during this phase and that you have instructed them to communicate fully. Failure to provide critical information during the detailed analysis phase can cause surprises later in the implementation.
Base Data Construction
ERP123 will require certain base data that supports the system processes you wish to implement. This may include some or all of the following:
- Functional Area Setup Modules
- Terms and Conditions Tables
- Rate related tables
- Item Master and related support tables
- Customers and Suppliers and related support tables
- Chart of accounts
- Bills of Material
Setup modules provide global controls that govern the overall behavior of ERP123 in each functional area. Support tables include system categorizations, terms-related, payment methods, currencies, pay rates, work center and overhead rates. We work with you to ensure the settings in all of these tables and modules are ideally suited for your site.
The Item, Customer, and Supplier Master modules are where the majority of the root system data and controls are stored. Accuracy of the data in these modules is paramount if you want the system to function consistently and predictably. Often, we will assist by uploading data in cases where data volume makes it difficult to manually enter all of the required data. It is always wise to perform a certain level of manual data entry as part of the implementation so that documentation can be created on the proper data entry procedure for your site.
We recommend that the data construction phase be split. The first part should occur rapidly at the beginning of the project so that the second phase, Pilot Simulation, can commence as soon as possible. Pilot Simulation requires representative samples of the data and is used to help sort out how the final data should look. The majority of the data should be loaded after the Pilot Simulation confirms the correctness of the samples.
In our opinion the pilot simulation phase is the most critical of all implementation phases because it provides the opportunity to streamline and simplify the go-live transition. The intent is to completely exercise the business process at the highest detail level to ensure that every aspect of the proposed system will work as intended. During the pilot it is normal to make adjustments to the data, output forms, and reports to improve the performance of the proposed system to the desired level. The end result is that the system will more tightly support the designed business processes. Known process gaps will be assessed and their solutions verified. Occasionally, the simulation process will also discover gaps that were not be foreseen during the detailed analysis phase. This gives the implementation team time to close them prior to putting the system into full use.
In addition, the pilot simulation phase also provides the client with their first full view of how business will be conducted within ERP123. It may also deliver some of the required training and knowledge transfer. Process documentation on proper use of the system should begin to be developed during the pilot so that it can be utilized during the user training phase that is part of the Go-Live preparation.
Failure to perform adequate process simulation prior to going live may mean that issues that should be discovered do not actually get discovered until the early stages of the go-live phase. This impedes the transition to the new system and make the process “more painful” for your organization.
Going live with ERP123 will require that users have sufficient training and that the System Changeover process has is properly executed.
The most effective user-training is done in conjunction with the process documentation that was ideally prepared during the pilot simulation phase. Any direct user training will normally be delivered as close to the go-live date as possible to maximize user retention. In addition, the ERP123 “Test Company” feature provides a “playground” environment where users can simulate their work processes and explore system functionality. Some clients prefer direct user training utilizing onsite consultants over other available methods.
In addition to direct user training ERP123 also offers the U-Train Multimedia video library that comprises 450 Windows Media videos broken into functional sections. These videos provide extensive overviews of system processes and available functionality. Watching these videos is a great way to learn the basics of ERP123, to refresh your staff on system concepts, or to assist you in training that new hire on ERP123
System Changeover Process
System changeover involves synchronization of operation and financial data between your current systems and ERP123 on the go-live date. We will break this into Operation and Financial Synchronizations.
Operational Data Synchronization
This involves synchronizing ERP123 data with the business situation at the go live point. This will normally involve the following synchronization points:
- Open sales orders including backorders
- Open purchase orders including backorders
- Opening inventory balances
- Open jobs
Financial System Synchronization
Full synchronization of the financial system is not as time critical as the Operation Synchronization at go-live but full balancing of the AR and AP sub ledgers should occur quickly after the balance of the inventory system has been fully activated. Again, data can be entered manually or uploaded volume warrants it. Typically, the following data is required:
- Opening inventory GL (generated from opening inventory balances)
- Open Accounts Receivable (AR) invoices
- Open Accounts Payable (AP) Invoices
- Uncashed Cheques
- Item Cost Synchronization
Once these values are in the system it is customary to balance the “Control Accounts”. Once the control accounts are balanced then an opening Journal Entry for non control accounts will synchronize the account balances for the remaining GL accounts. You can easily generated GL history by doing a series of history journal entries. Optionally, history data can be uploaded to ERP123 (GL Detail).