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iStock_000019179353_SmallThe global design of an ERP system needs to consider standardization, business benefits and the integration of political cultural differences within an organization.

From an IT perspective, before engaging an organization in global design, it is important to define a framework of how IT plans to drive change with the new ERP system and how the system will be supported. In essence, align IT before beginning an ERP implementation. This will often entail hiring additional resources and adjusting the existing IT structure.

Organizations and IT departments often walk into global design without agreeing on a framework for the alignment of the key components. This often results in time delays, cost overruns and frustration.

The items that should be addressed prior to the software implementer’s arrival include:

1.  Establish a balance. With a goal of standardization, take the first step to balance your organization’s landscape. Different departments will have different levels of complexity; therefore, it is best to group departments by complexity to assist in the implementation rollout plan.

2.  Obtain senior management buy-in. Senior management should have buy-in to the following reporting structures:

  • Sales reporting by product lines and customer types
  • Inventory reporting by product lines and customer types (if applicable)
  • COA for consolidation and the level of structure required by head office with a balance of autonomy at the local level

Ensure that these reporting structures are signed off by senior management to avoid rehashing the discussions during implementation.

3.  Address the key operational components of forecasting and inventory management that drive the flow of inventory. This will increase alignment regarding the following questions:

  • How will sales and inventory forecasts be determined and by whom?
  • How will DRP and MRP run between facilities?
  • What will the facility and warehouse structure be?

4.  Ensure accurate data management. Data management is the last core item that will integrate the entire organization. Many organizations have a smorgasbord of data due to acquisitions, mergers and quirky historical management decisions. Data management should involve definition of the following:

  • Who owns the data?
  • How will the data be cleansed?
  • What are the IT and business user roles?

Reporting requirements and data management will provide your foundation for data warehousing. From a cultural perspective, data management will encourage teams to work together and help your organization address issues before the software implementers arrive. By addressing these items before the software implementers arrive, your team can have a clear vision for implementation instead of hashing out your vision in front of the software implementers.

Learn more by registering for our on-demand webinar, Lessons Learned From Best-in-Class ERP Implementations.

Written by Geoff McPherson, Manager of Client Services at Panorama Consulting Solutions.

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