Each company is driven differently and so has to identify the objectives for using the ERP package and the results it wants to achieve by using such a package. It has also to list the strategic needs our data must serve. Sometimes the vendors promise too much but there is little by way of implementation. Some companies may not have any computerized system at all and not even a PC on MD’s desk. Some have a semblance of MIS at the least. ERP wants is to be on line. ERP cost must be actually considered. It is not just the cost of the software package. We need to consider the cost of money that we must pour into the organization to initiate changes in different parts of the organization as per the demands of the ERP package. Sometimes, it takes a lot of money to keep ERP running considering the networking costs for different sites. When networking costs are high programs like SAP’s R/3 are not preferred tough they incorporate 1,000 best business practices around the world.
ERP must be developed for small enterprises. Even a 100 crore company is considered small for ERP purposes by the vendors. Some software like Mfg / Pro has low networking costs, and works on a dial up network.
Vendors must understand the client’s needs, his critical result areas, and the process the organization will adopt in future. The global package must be adapted to the local needs. India is a conglomerate of states with different distribution costs and varying local taxes. Oracle through a good package, has not been adapted to the Indian needs.
The functional core of an ERP package remains the same all over the world. Around this core we must put layers that are market specific Ramco’s Marshall is compatible with Indian laws. As most of the ERP packages are modular, re-layering as per local conditions is possible.
But it entails some costs. We have to consider how much adaptation an ERP package will need. We must also consider what changes we must initiate in our processes to fit the ERP package. We may learn from the experience of the actual users.
Top management support is a must for the successful implementation of an ERP package.
Oracle does not believe in adapting ERP beyond a point since then it hinders implementation.
A cross functional cross hierarchical ETP team for implementation is created ERP is first tested at the laboratory level. A pilot project is run to realize the bottleneck.
Various training programs are available for ERP training. NITIE also conducts such programs. Team SAP Academy Program (Bangalore and Mumbai) is designed to provide structured training in current SAP 6R/3 business applications. Successful candidates will be certified as SAP Certified Consultants. There are four application tracks each focusing on a specific function area. Candidates can only opt or any of the fur tracks. The four tracks are:
1) Material management
2) Production planning
3) Financial accounting
4) Sales and distribution.
The course covers:
1) SAP R / 3 Overviews.
2) Specific Business Process and Functions
3) Project start up and ASAP Overview
4) Introduction to Indian Version
5) Short case study in a simulated environment to understand cross functional aspects.
6) Certification examination.
Is the Organization ready for ERP?
There are many cases ERP disasters worldwide an some of them have also started appearing in India,. The basic question is to examine the readiness of the organization for ERP. There is no known case of any organization which could acquire competitive advantage on account of a ready made ERP solution available from a vendor. We have to spell out our metrics in quantitative terms i.e. to reduce order dispatch time by 40 per cent or receivables by 50 per cent. Such quantification of expectation is necessary to justify the necessity of an ERP package. Even future business requirements must e taken into account. ERP itself has its one life cycle; and this varies from organization to organization. There should be process reviews. Just willingness to spend a particular quantity of money for buying an ERP package does not amount to top management support. We have to consider the changes that must be brought about before ERP can be implemented. In some organizations a full blown ERP package may not be necessary. We can do with a localized solution in one particular area. The applicability of ERP to organization’s goals should be seriously considered.
Those who implement ERP need better compensation package. A successful ERP program requires staff retention policies, not only during project implementation stage but also through the life cycle of the system.