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ERP Success 03/17/2010

Posted by TBoehm30 in ERP, Project Management.
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The project is a success! We have gone live with the new ERP system and are actually using it in day-to-day business. It is tracking the materials used in manufacturing, producing customer invoices, printing checks and keeping the company going.

It was such a great feeling when we had the Go-No-Go vote and everybody voted ‘Go’. The CFO asked the question “Will using the new system create a material harm to the ongoing business of the company?” Nobody in the room could think of a real harm that was big enough to roll back. It was so great to see the projects that I’ve led come alive. The smile on my face threatened to wrap around my head.

In the few days and weeks before go-live we concentrated on the last minute tasks. I helped create a roll-back plan in case things went horribly wrong. I detailed a schedule for the week and weekend before the Monday of go-live. We finished with the validation paperwork needed for auditors. We presented our plans to the board of directors.

Of course we have had a few glitches, that is only to be expected. The software vendor has been extremely responsive in getting issues solved. Sunday night there was an accounting error that prevented the consolidated numbers from balancing with the individual numbers. Around midnight, people started getting worried and wondered if we would need to undo everything and try again in a month or two. We got some insight from a different point of view and had some new ideas to try. By 3AM the problem was solved and we were confident of keeping the new system.

The POs were loaded incorrectly because of a problem with the Units of Measure. We had to have a PO deleting party – only a couple hundred records – so that we could reload. That only took a couple of hours, and the reload worked perfectly.

Our security is still a little too tight and won’t allow everyone to use all of the screens that they need. That is an easy fix, and we have several people who are approving new requests very quickly.

It was the quality of the people, and the amount of time that they put in that lead to such a successful project. Even the CFO stayed around all weekend to help out, bringing us snacks and offering words of encouragement. He never used the old system, but he has already used the new system to approve POs. He is also excited about the ability to create a dashboard view of the company.

The detailed plan of the week was incredibly important in getting ready for go-live. We knew what we wanted to do, when it needed to be done, and had meetings to check off the finished tasks. The static data had to be reloaded during the week, so that the transactional data could be started as soon as we were ready on Friday. We paid all of the suppliers, so we could stop A/P in the old system on Wednesday. By Thursday we had the data ready to be loaded into the new system.

Friday night was when most of the heavy loading was done. I stayed up into the early morning hours getting inventory loaded, Work Orders and Sales Orders loaded and more. I knew that people would be into the office early on Saturday to start validating the data loads.

We spent some time creating a roll-back plan. While we were not expecting anything to go so wrong that we’d have to give up on the new system and revert to the old, we had to be ready for that situation. We figured out what could be undone easily and what would be a major project to roll back. We decided that we had one interface that when switched on, would be extremely difficult to undo. That would be our last milestone.

We knew that the auditors would ask for documentation on the new system. We had a complete validation project to produce the paperwork needed. Of course, this went on a little longer than I would have liked, but finally it was complete enough to say we had done the work. Any follow-up issues for validation can be done later.

All in all, it has been a great project. The people were fun to work with. Everyone pulled their own weight in getting to the finish line. I’ll stay around for a number of weeks more to help clean up some issues, get the security right, and generally provide any support that I can. The software vendor has people coming back for the first month-end close. I don’t expect any big issues there.

I am so happy that we can add another ERP system to the world. This is one more company that can expand their profit through technology. They are ready to take on the global world with the Technology that makes it happen.

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