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About ERP Systems

Will it Work?

Michael Roman - Wednesday, May 15, 2013


I had another one of those “tire-kicking” calls this past week from a CIO (Chief Information Officer) at a mid-sized manufacturing company, wondering if I had a few minutes to answer his very important questions.  I politely said I had a few minutes but reminded him that, as a consultant, my answers have the same value as consulting advice. He laughed it off, and then asked his first question, “What is the best ERP system?”

Brother! So much for subtle hints…

So I quickly pulled up my “List of Standard Answers to General Questions,” and suggested he visit a page on my website (LINK TO PAGE) to find a more comprehensive answer to the question. He thought about it a minute and then asked, “How long does it take and how much money will it cost to implement a new ERP system at my company?”

I bit my lip and told him the simple answer to that question is, “It depends.” He issued a very audible sigh, so I asked if something was wrong. He said he thought I was being flippant. I apologized for appearing so, and explained that it was impossible to answer his question because I knew nothing about his company. That explanation didn’t faze him, and he asked, “How long does it USUALLY take?” I issued my own sigh and said, “I have never recorded an average, because the data is so skewed, it becomes meaningless. My clients work at their own pace and have implemented ERP Systems in spans of time ranging from nine weeks to three years.”  Then I directed him to one of my blogs that answers the question more fully. (here).

Somewhat agitated, he asked, “Can’t you just answer my questions?  They are simple, and should have simple answers.”  I took a deep breath and said, “Sir, since the late 1980s, I have consulted with many small and mid-sized companies, helping them shop for and implement ERP systems, and most of them had little understanding of what a formal business management system will do both for and to their company. It is not rocket science, but it’s far more complex than simple answers to what seems to be simple questions to you.”

He grunted, and I continued. “But, to help you thoroughly understand all the issues and challenges of ERP systems, and to answer most of your questions, I have written a book. And considering the price of an ERP system, the price of the book will be a worthwhile investment because it can answer questions for you, other management team members, your CEO, and everyone else on your team.”

Just before I hung up, I assured him that I would welcome questions that might arise after reading the book. Then I gave him a link to the Amazon website, where the book is available for the low introductory price of $9.99. He admitted that was indeed a reasonable price and agreed to download the book. Hopefully, he did.

By the way, here’s the link to the book (The Turnaround Link).  I’ll be happy to answer your questions as well after you read the book.  Here is a link to use to send your questions (ASK THE EXPERT).

Anonymous commented on 15-May-2013 01:58 PM
Mike, Great post! You are a very patient man. I confess, I have people who ask me questions and when I start with , "Well it depends..." Some people look at me and say, "Oh, there you go again with you it depends...." Very excited to see that your book is ready to go! Margaret Margaret: First, thank you for the kind words. Secondly, Susan, my bride of 40 years would argue your comment about my patience. Nevertheless, I sure miss what you, Bill VanLooy, Nic Harvard, and those others dedicated souls did to contribute to ITToolBox. Nowadays with the consulting, writing, reading, and APICS work, it leaves little time to give "free" advice like we used to deliver through ITToolBox. BTW, look for your name in the book, it is there "prominently" displayed. Also, please let me know if you are ever in the Atlanta area. Would love to finally meet you in person. Mike

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