Can we do it? Yes we can!

4 October 2018, Manufacturing, 3 min leestijd

I’d already said it in my previous blog: I don’t like the 'you ask, we run' sort of projects. I think they’re a thing of the past. Implementing an ERP system and then closing the door behind me after completion, I simply don’t believe in them. That outdated way of working conceals a big fallacy, i.e. you do not implement ERP systems on a project basis. Today's ERP systems are designed to help you constantly innovate and improve. And today no entrepreneurs see the improvement of their business simply as a project. Take a look at our approach.

The Deming quality circle for ERP implementations

I’m a strong believer in the operation of Deming's quality model: Plan - Do - Check - Act. Set goals, execute them, check if they are achieved, and give guidance where necessary. And I think that, for most ERP implementations, the first two phases normally go well. The system is implemented, agreements are fulfilled, hands are shaken, and the supplier and customer are happy to part ways. But what about after that? Who checks whether the goals that have been set are actually achieved? And who follows this up if it doesn’t happen, or if new objectives become clear?

Here I think that there is an advisory role for the supplier. Call it aftercare. I’d even dare to go further. As a supplier, we also have to focus on pre-care.

ERP system implementation according to the Ctac model

At Ctac we do it according to our own model that consists of four steps:

  1. Strategy: what are the long-term goals and vision of the organisation
  2. Processes: what does the desired new way of working look like after implementation
  3. Architecture: which system is needed for those future processes
  4. Organisation: is the organization capable of running the project, how do we get the organization involved in the change

Entrepreneurs who take these steps seriously before the actual implementation will immediately see the benefit of them: the light at the end of the tunnel is clear to everyone. And this also facilitates the implementation process. There will be fewer surprises and, where choices still have to be made, the goals that have been set will accelerate this decision process.

Often the project stops after the implementation, when actually, it is only then that the actual value creation occurs. Have the objectives been realized? How do you get the most out of the system, how do you keep improving? For me, the added value of my work is to think about this, to continue to advise my clients. It makes the circle of Deming round again. Which once again proves that an ERP implementation should not be seen as a project: it is not finite.

Can we do it?
The manufacturing industry is struggling with the speed with which it has to adapt to change. Not only developments within technology, but also increasingly higher (personalised) demands from customers require the capacity to respond rapidly. Adjusting the response rate is a good example of a strategic goal (1). With the right ERP system, a production company can increase its predictive capacity. This requires processes (2) with which one can respond more quickly to those changes, but with which one can also anticipate. For example, machine learning is indispensable for a smart factory. Then comes the architecture (3). Which system supports those future processes? And finally we look at the organisation (4): is it able to change? What does the company need for this?

… Yes, we can!
SAP S/4HANA Cloud for the manufacturing industry is based on best practices and continuous improvement. New functionalities are added every quarter, giving a production company an even better insight into its processes and identifying bottlenecks before they manifest themselves. This means real time insights and the space to innovate. And with that you not only keep track of the changes in the market, but also your innovative competitors. You might even stay ahead of them. Because yes, you can.