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Plans Change – A New ERP Plan 04/29/2009

Posted by TBoehm30 in ERP.
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The only constant is change. (Isaac Asimov).

So once again we have changed our general approach to this project. We are now going to go big bang at each location. Each of the 4 business units will get both accounting and manufacturing for a single go-live. We are even going to space the go-lives a couple of months apart to give the accountants time to catch up after their first month-end close.

This puts the schedule out to June 2010. While I think that schedule is too long, it makes the whole project possible in the eyes of everyone in control. A positive attitude toward success will work wonders for these people.

This gives plenty of time for initial learning of the system, process modeling, maybe some process improvement, documentation and then training. We will do several Conference Room Pilots to test the system, test our process, and challenge the users. These pilots will be the key to success. If they go well, then we will know that go-live will happen on time. If any of them go poorly, then we will have our tasks mapped out for us on what to fix.

By the time we get to our Dry Run at the end, we should have everything scripted out, our key users trained, the data formatted, and everything ready. The final Dry Run before go-live will give us a chance to test all of our last-minute processes. We will then take a go no-go vote to make sure everyone is confident of success.

The new schedule puts our 1st go-live in September. We only have a few months to be ready for that one. We have started the configuration and setup sessions to begin learning how to setup the system. Soon we will have our first process modeling session. That will give us our first real homework in defining the system. If people can do their assignments and really spend some time thinking about how it will work, then we’ve got a chance at completing on time.

The fourth quarter is out of bounds for go-lives. So is January. Because of the amount of work for closing, end of the year responsibilities, and worries over projects like SOX compliance, we will not go-live during those four months. That means that the number two go-live will be in March. That should be plenty of time to fix all of the ongoing issues with the September go-live and get them up and running on schedule.

The accountants were worried about doing their first close on the new system at the same time as a go-live, so we spaced the go-lives two months apart. The second business unit goes live in February, so the third business unit will go in April. That allows March to be used for the first close.

This plan should lead us to success. It is long enough to accomplish all of the milestones, while short enough to please management. It is not so long that the people will get tired of the project, but long enough to give them time to work on this project and their day jobs. It is important that their day jobs don’t get ignored. Manufacturing products is what pays the bills.

They know that and that it’s a global world out there and Technology makes it happen.

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