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About ERP Systems

Simple Algorithms & ERP

Michael Roman - Wednesday, June 26, 2013

In his book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel H. Pink writes that there are two types of problem solving tasks, algorithmic and heuristic. An algorithmic task is one in which you follow a set of established instructions down a single pathway to one conclusion. A heuristic task is the opposite. Precisely because no algorithm exists for it, you have to experiment with possibilities and devise a novel solution. For example, working as a grocery checkout clerk is mostly algorithmic while a design engineer’s work is mostly heuristic, that being to come up with something new.

I mention this because I remain puzzled at the less than stellar performance most small and mid-sized manufacturing and distribution companies achieve when attempting to implement an ERP System.  Most of these organizations mistakenly approach an ERP Implementation as a heuristic task when our experience shows it to be a simple algorithmic task.  Possible reasons for their ineffective approach are well documented and not surprising:

  • Lack of leadership and commitment from the C- Level Team
  • Improper understanding of the necessary processes
  • Inability to muster necessary resources to address the issues
  • Lack of properly identifying tasks
  • Inadequate deadline setting for completion of activities

Education resolves most of these issues and is at the heart of what Manufacturing Practices, Inc. achieves when assisting with an ERP Implementation project.  After the initial assessment and agreement on the process, Manufacturing Practices implements a simple, proven method for success.  The process starts with education of the Top Management team and development of a statement of goals and an agreed upon approach with the project details.  A statement of the problem by Top Management to the users follows that activity, and then a statement of the goals by Top Management to the users follows that.  The Top Management team then explains why user education is vital to the success of the project.  User education follows the next week and ends with a discussion of the project plans.  The execution of the project plan follows and is monitored during implementation.

The Manufacturing Practices approach has been a successful, replicable, and simple process used by more than 60 implementations and re-implementations of ERP Applications.  The number one reason for this success is that EDUCATION about what an ERP System will do both for and to the company happens before we accept an assignment.

For an in-depth look at what a typical ERP implementation looks like, read my new book, The Turnaround. It is available on Kindle, and here is the link:

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