Retailing in antiquity[ edit ] Marketplace at Trajan's Forum, the earliest known example of permanent retail shopfronts Retail markets have existed since ancient times.
The following steps have been the product of years of learning by different customer approaches and implementation methodologies and should be considered before, during and after any ERP implementation. These steps do not purport to be a definitive list or the exact recipe for success, but by reading and acting on only a few of the suggestions here will ensure your implementation goes smoother than it otherwise would have done.
Understand your incumbent system The decision to purchase a new ERP system has been made, but why? There are many reasons a new ERP system will be sourced, but it is important to understand that the implementation of a new ERP system will not simply create a return on investment or solve the issues of the business.
These come from the process improvements; the ERP system is a tool and improving the way a business uses the tool can reap benefits. The process of implementation does not start with the initial inviting of suppliers to fill invitations to tender, it is when the company define the goals that the new ERP system will set out to achieve.
It is the goals that are critical, and should be referred back to during and after the implementation process to ensure focus is retained. If there is no clear goal, the process of selecting a product and vendor will be a futile process, whilst the overall situation may have improved this will bear no resemblance to the investment of time and money made, and in many cases the business would have been better off not changing.
Setting and defining these goals can be driven by the current system. The business may have outgrown the system, or the system may be non-compliant or non-supported, but whatever the reasons the system and the processes inside and outside of the system must be understood.
User-centric improvements focused on usability and deeper integration of analytical capabilities is at the core of leading systems. Additionally these figures need to be recorded over a period of time in the old system and then compared to a similar timescale in the new system after a period of stabilisation to try and prove any improvements; many businesses never record these figures and can never go back and justify an actual improvement even if one exists.
The success of your future implementation lies in the process and data of your current system. Study your current system at length and learn from it to take forward the elements you do well, change the ones you do not do well and enable you to statistically prove the success of the new system compared to the old one.
There may be industry verticals supplying specific software to meet the needs of your business, or a tailorable ERP system may meet the needs of the business, but the key is to investigate, find out what your competitors, vendors and customers are using.
Many businesses send out invitation to tenders listing hundreds of questions filled in by potential vendors based upon an assumed set of answers to open questions. Whilst these may assist in narrowing the choice down, the choice of software alone cannot be based upon these.
It maybe that the software choice can be narrowed down, if it cannot get businesses in to present the benefits of the software they supply. Once you can decide on the software to meet the needs of the business you need to choose the correct vendor, not simply the vendor who helped you define the software choice.
Does the vendor have the ability to transform the business to help achieve the set goals? If they cannot the likelihood is they are not the correct vendor.
However there are other methods that can be employed to judge the suitability of the vendor. References must be taken, preferably with site visits and face to face contact. Can the customers acting on behalf of the vendor stand in front of you and tell you why you should choose the product and the vendor?
This endorsement will show how the vendor and customer act in a relationship, and this is a key concept to understand if you wish to purchase from the vendor, because if you do you will soon be in the same position as the reference extolling the virtues of the supplier.
Ask about the implementation methodologies; what standards are used and are these industry recognised, proven and successful in the field delivering tangible results? Any vendor seeking to develop a long standing successful relationship with you as a customer must be able to assist you in reaching your aims, and will be able to prove they have done this in the past and have the tools and resources in place to deliver a successful project.Leyla Acaroglu is a leading sustainability strategist and an expert on lifecycle and systems thinking in design, production and consumption.
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