Q: How much work is involved on the company's end to implement new software? In short, what are the typical steps that are taken to get the software up and running?
A: Any time there is a change an effort by the company is paramount. They have an opportunity if they choose to clean-up a lot of data related or process related bottle necks.
Decisions need to be made on what of the existing information can be imported into the new application and then what is best served to be entered clean. Many times a lot of historical data is “garbage data” and is no longer needed. Examples of this are typically old customers or suppliers who have changed names or are no longer used.
It also needs to be decided if the effort is better of served re-entering this information.
Typically no two systems have the same table structures and entry screens even though they may do the same thing. Therefore the clean up may be more tedious and cause more issues in the future then entering the data cleanly.
Most of a company’s work would fall in this area. Once these guidelines have been established there is a training period typically of a couple of weeks and then preparing to make the pre-determined go-live date.
Q: How strong is the ROI (return on investment) for installing new software for better production?
A: In reality and given the current developments in the business environment, having ERP software has become imperative. ERP is becoming part of the infrastructure, and the approach that is necessary to justify the cost and the effort is to be viewed within this context.
In order to achieve cost efficiencies, companies need:
• Better visibility into their inventory of raw material, WIP and Finished goods
• To reduce the time to process sales orders, track production, delivery, invoicing and payment
• To reduce the time it takes to process raw material requirements and outside services purchases and track the delivery and payment
• Better and faster waste tracking and traceability of materials
In today’s fast paced manufacturing environment, none of the above tasks is possible without use of an ERP system. Furthermore, rapid increase of collaborative efforts between companies and their preferred suppliers and customers has created the concept of extended enterprise. This means that many suppliers are now expected to pick up the ball and run with it when their customers receive an order from their customers.
In many cases, these suppliers are expected to handle direct shipments to their customer’s customer and be invisible at the same time. This has created a gray zone of overlap between operations of these collaborating companies. To facilitate such collaboration and speed up the process, the companies are integrating their ERP systems into each other. However if you do not have an ERP system, these tasks become labor intensive and costly.
Q: How long does it take for a company to install and implement a new software platform?
A: For GTE, typically this process takes 6 months from start to finish. This includes a gap analysis, consulting, training, pre-go-live test workshops and switching over.
One of the first exercises is to determine targets. Once these are established, a company needs to determine if this is a good time to re-evaluate certain past workflows and how to improve on them. It also provides an opportunity to re-evaluate old data.
Many times, this is an opportunity to get a fresh start and put workflows in place that a company may not have been able to address because of some limitations the previous application may have had which required them to work within the restrictions.
Globe-Tek Corporation Ltd.
(416) 622-8388; www.globe-tekcorp.com