FERRARIS, FIATS AND FORTUNE 500S

Why we don’t buy Ferraris when all we need (and can afford) are Fiats ? 

It makes little sense to buy a Ferrari when you need to trudge daily along bumpy, pothole-ridden roads. The average person does not need a Ferrari. The average person cannot afford a Ferrari. If by chance he does get a Ferrari, in all likelihood he will not be able to maintain the Ferrari.

 

Alas the average man and the Ferrari are not meant to be.
In the context of enterprise resource planning systems, big firms like SAP offer Ferraris expensive, fancy and completely unsuitable for the average SME. Oracle and SAP have single handedly caused catastrophes of biblical proportions for their clients. Nike and Hershey’s may have been able to survive apocalyptical losses of $100 million but an SME most certainly cannot.

A Fiat is more affordable. A Fiat is more suitable. Most importantly, the average man can maintain a Fiat in the long run. Once an ERP system is fully deployed, it stays in place for 10 to 12 years on average. 

In India many firms use outdated IT systems in their offices to coordinate their business functions and resources. India is the hub for small and medium businesses and a cradle for start-ups. The majority of the country’s workforce is employed by small and medium enterprises – not the Fortune 500s. Business is set to boom and overtake China by the end of 2030. Despite the dynamic development, firms have failed to adopt more efficient and standard practices that results in them continue to lag behind. 

The ERP solutions by the big firms in the ERP are too extensive, too complex and too confusing for SMEs. The processes, modules and programs designed are geared towards the requirements of large conglomerates and Fortune companies. For the system to be suitable for the average firm, considerable changes and customizations are required – which further drives up the cost of the ERP. It is akin to buying a Ferrari only to replace all its parts one by one and its engine with that of a Fiat’s. By all means, it is a poor decision at best and the catalyst for an absolute catastrophe at worst.

Many local IT and ERP providers are gaining ground as a results, because they build their solution specifically for small and medium enterprises at a fraction of the cost and with a much faster implementation cycle. Once you order for a luxury sports car and then proceed with the desired customizations it is already months past.

If you buy a Ferrari you can expect to wait a long time for it to finally be in your garage – with the necessary paperwork, regulatory compliances, formalities and customizations. If you buy a car from your local dealer, you can expect it in your garage within a week or two at most. Small and medium enterprises need a provider with local knowledge who can give adapted solutions. SMEs as a results are better off hiring Tier II and Tier III vendors who are based locally as they possess in-depth understanding about the relevant industry and business environment. The ERP systems that are provided by major IT firms are too extensive, and complex and do not have the flexibility to adapt their services to local conditions. Given that the large IT firms give standardized solutions throughout the country with their centralized support system, they lack the ability to adapt their service to very specific local needs of the SMEs. Partnering with Tier II firms who give local support service tends to be the wiser, better choice for SMEs.

It is essential that the modules in the ERP system are designed with the day to day processes and relevant industry specifics in mind. Vendors like ExpandERP provide business solutions specifically for SMEs and are specialized in export and manufacturing solutions. An SME thus has a solution that perfectly addresses their business needs with greater support at a fraction of the usual cost.

Tier II firms design sturdy affordable cars and have an extensive service support. Tier I firms prove state-of-the-art, customized luxury cars but at exorbitant rates and with limited support system. SMEs require a relatively sturdy, standard system that can handle the firm’s daily challenges and go over the bumps without breaking down. The tier II solution or the Fiat gives a smooth ride, good mileage without breaking the bank of the buyer. It is advisable to leave the Ferraris to the Fortune 500s and ride away in the Fiat and save the tears and headaches.

References:

https://www.cio.com/article/2429865/enterprise-resource-planning/10-famous-erp-disasters–dustups-and-disappointments.html

https://erpsoftware.swktech.com/blog/3-famous-erp-disasters-that-still-scare-us-today

 

Contributor: Vidushi 

Is ERP Worth It?

Implementing an ERP system tends to be a complex and costly process which leads many to wonder – is ERP worth it and will it really help?

Enterprise Resource Planning, commonly abbreviated as ERP, refers to a business management system that is comprised of various integrated software modules that help to manage and integrate the business functions in an organisation.

Since the late 1980s large companies such as IBM and Microsoft recognised the need of implementing an ERP system to ensure the smooth flow of data and information in face of the ever growing and complex business and technological environment. In order to make the best decision in a timely manner, businesses require efficient inter-organisational data flow.

Take for example Nestle USA. In 1997, the company decided to roll out an ERP system to integrate its various business operations in the country. The implementation would take 6 years, with a budget of approximately $ 200 million. While this may seem like an exorbitant amount, by 2002 the company reported savings of $ 325 million, increased integration within different regions, reduced training costs for employees, and more accurate demand forecasting among various other benefits. In terms of monetary investment alone, the move certainly panned out well. These benefits combined led to greater efficiency, competitiveness and an overall organisational ‘culture of continuous improvement’. Several other companies also share similar stories.

Greater integration and transparency within a company lead to increased productivity, better decision making, reduced operating costs and improved internal communication. Even the customers reap the benefits of successful enterprise integration – increased customer service, satisfaction and order fulfilment are one of the many benefits reported.

Not all businesses are capable, or even suitable for implementing a complex and costly ERP system; however, with the introduction of many out-of-the-box ERP soft wares that are very reasonably priced even small enterprises can reap the benefits of this system. It is apparent that in order to stay competitive in the market, greater efficiency provided by ERP systems and soft wares is necessary.

To be competitive, to be relevant, to be efficient – ERP is essential.

Contributor : Vidushi

GOLDILOCKS AND ERP DECISIONS

ERP Decisions

Goldilocks, SMEs and the quest for ‘Just Right!’

“Goldilocks was wandering through the forest when she chanced upon a house. Famished and tired, she entered and was delighted to see three bowls of porridge to quell her hunger pangs. She tasted the first bowl and exclaimed that it was too hot. The second bowl’s porridge was far too cold. The third bowl however was just right for her and she soon gobbled it all up”

Small and medium sized enterprises are the proverbial Goldilocks of the business world. While Goldilocks strolled aimlessly through the woods in need of food and nourishment, these firms wander through the business world, in need of a solution to help them cope and compete in their industry.Goldilocks had to taste all the bowls of porridge to find the one that was ‘just right’ for her. Much in the same way as Goldilocks, firms also have to go through all the available options to determine which solution is ‘just right’ for their needs.

Just as Goldilocks was famished and in need of nourishment, a firm in today’s hyper competitive environment requires enterprise resource planning solutions to address its needs and hunger for growth. The solutions offered may be ‘too hot’ with far too many components, complexities and costs that would burn the firm. A ‘too cold’ ERP system without the necessary modules to meet the requirements of the firm is not a desirable solution either. An SME can neither have a ‘too hot’ solution or a ‘too cold’ one as both would hurt them and their prospects for growth.

So what is the ‘Just Right!’ solution?

1)The porridge that is ‘just right’ is sufficient in quantity to alleviate Goldilocks’ hunger, nourishing enough to help her grow and at a temperature that renders the meal palatable.

2) Similarly the ERP that is ‘just right’ has all the modules and programs necessary to meet the firm’s current and more pressing business needs, while the system aids the company’s future growth plans – all at an affordable cost. The ‘just right’ ERP should meet the firm’s current pressing needs and the future more complex needs for growth.

3) Most SMEs would find that their Goldilocks solution is a mostly standard ERP system with minimal to moderate customization and costs. Cloud-based enterprise resource planning programs are suitable for these firms as they are affordable and have the scope to be easily modified to meet the firm’s growing needs in the future.

“After finishing the porridge, Goldilocks felt tired and went over to the living room and found three chairs. She sat in the first one and exclaimed “this chair is too big!” The second chair was too big for Goldilocks as well. The third chair appeared to be just right in size for Goldilocks but as soon as she settled in, it broke apart completely!”

When Goldilocks is tired she goes over to a chair, settles into one that appears just right in size. The chair and Goldilocks both come crashing down. Firms with an enterprise resource planning system that opt for the bare minimal support get the same experience. Much like how the ‘just right’ chair was anything but, firms need to be wary of ERP solutions that provide the bare minimum and provide no flexibility or scope for adapting to a growing business.

     As a firm implements the system and starts reaping benefits from the ERP, it starts to increase its efficiency, productivity and growth. The ERP system and vendor should provide adequate support to aid the firm with any troubles it meets along the way. Programs that update automatically and keep the system running on the latest, most efficient system would be ideal for SMEs. A vendor that provides regular support services and is specialized in providing industry-specific solutions would be suitable as they can anticipate the firm’s needs effectively and intuitively as a result of their experience. It is essential that the ERP system and vendor must be capable of increasing the number of modules and services when the scope of the business changes – otherwise the firm may suffer the same fate as Goldilocks.

“Goldilocks feeling sleepy, proceeded upstairs and found three bed. She lay on the first and found it far too hard. The second was far too soft. She tried the third bed, and it was ‘just right’ and she promptly fell asleep.”
   
   Just like Papa Bear’s bed, which was too hard for Goldilocks, a large vendor’s solutions may not be suitable for small and medium enterprises. The big names of the ERP industry are more experienced in addressing the needs of large conglomerates. Their programs, modules and systems are all designed meet to the needs of the Fortune 500s and SMEs often find their solutions uncomfortable. Mama Bear’s bed, being far too soft, was also not right for Goldilocks. Similarly, ERP vendors that are too inexperienced or just offer a few individual modules may not be able to provide quality solutions for the firm.

 Vendors that are specifically focused on providing solutions for SMEs would be more suitable for compared to the ‘big players’ like SAP and Oracle. An out-the-box solution with minimal modifications is enough to meet all the current and future needs of most SMEs at a fraction of the cost of the big firms.

   Much like Goldilocks, firms can experiment with their ERP programs and vendors before settling into their ‘just right’ systems. Firms can draw some wisdom from Goldilocks as well – that is to not settle for anything that is not ‘just right’. When choosing an ERP system firms must keep in mind that it is a long term decision. Unlike Goldilocks, once they choose their bed, they will be lying in it for quite a while.

Contributor : Vidushi

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