Question and Answer on ERP Implementation
Briefly discuss the business problems they were trying to address with the implementation of ERP? What was wrong with their existing IS?
As soon as the data, processes and systems from each company were inherited by Bombardier Aerospace various complications and problems were seen as the two systems were not compatible with each other. The existing IP was not able to cope with the changes and challenges ongoing in the company.
Additionally, the existing IP called Bombardier Manufacturing System (BMS) was not able to cope with the inter-site dependencies, ongoing pressures on the costs, rapid introduction of new products along with the high demand for integration of business. It was an aging system and was hampering the future developments of the business.
The data handling in BMS was awful and alarming in a way that the future prospects of the company seemed impaired. Due to poor data management, many initiatives seemed to be hindered. Overall the existing IP was a weak sponsorship model with an outdated vision and unsatisfactory involvement of the employees. They wanted to adopt a system that would increase the effectiveness of overall operations of the system. (Bingi, Sharma & Godla, 1999).
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Although the implementations of ERP proved to be expensive it intended to support the operations of Bombardier Aerospace and considered as the best way to adopt a strategic vision. ERP implementation could help the company to focus widely on the processes that support the manufacturing, finance, procurement and the engineering data as well. It intended to support the data handling carefully.
It was estimated that an ERP system could interface around 63 other systems. It was estimated that the ERP system would correct all these problems and can identify the key performance indicators that would help to enhance the business. Hence, ERP enabled them to adopt a vision along with the utmost involvement of the employees. The project was brought about with utmost dedication and help the company to have a realization of the project goals.
What business transformation strategy (ies) applied in achieving the desired state of “One Company”?
The Business Transformation Services (BTS) started the organizational team management where the employees were given the freedom to share data and valid information across all the divisions and products by making use of the single system. The tried to adopt the technology as a business transformation to concentrate on the progress of the company and to avoid the failures and other setbacks.
The employee stayed active along the whole process so that they could shift total focus on process and the upper level of management was itself available during all the times of the concerned project. Further, the communication was set as the key to the proper implementation. After their first setback in the implementation of ERP, the company considered hiring a consultant firm which along with the developmental team for ERP could establish the vision organization had in their mind of "One Company." They prepared a business transformation strategy. The project teams demanded experienced employees as only a few employees have proper and adequate knowledge.
The management team relocated the employees so that the employee could put their best foot forward and work full-time. The ratio of employees to consultants switched from 1:10 to 10:1. Along with which a detailed design was made to meet the requirements of the company. Additionally, for handling the change management issues and activities, a stand-alone team was formed. Their work involved assisting in functional business preparation, managing the project communication. Additionally, they were asked to train the user as well.
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Discuss the issues/problems/challenges identified during the ERP design and implementation phases?
One of the major issues identified during the ERP design and the implementation phase was the reduction of the clerical tasks that were performed by the employees of Bombardier Aerospace. It was estimated that a more analytical focus could be provided to them by automating their manual tasks. This automated system would also be effective in reducing the number of papers used in the business systems with the ultimate goal of having a workplace with no paperwork.
The employee was not sure of the big change and due to this, they were reluctant about this implementation. Thus, Bombardier has to go through a great deal of consideration to plan for rolling out of ERP again. The large ERP systems were highly complex, expensive and often results in lower than expected performance. The implementation of ERP took more time as expected along with higher costs. It was even seen that most of the ERPs implementations had under-delivered business value.
The company needed to address the major problems and to provide Best Practices framework. Moreover, the company could not manage the changes in ERP. The main issues with the management are process delays, inconsistency in prices and multiple bills for the material, etc. After the first rollout of ERP, some other issues were faced by Bombardier Aerospace like the specialized information and knowledge were concentrated on very few individuals and the insufficient measure present in the company for the users to own various ways. Further, the content of discipline along with a proper schedule had to be modified. Finally, the implementations were expected faster along with a wider scope. But the management had to work out by defining proper goals and objectives once the ERP has been implemented.
What communication challenges were faced by the BMIS project team? What improvements would you suggest to them?
The strategy of growth used by Bombardier Aerospace by acquisition has turned the company into a “textbook silo organization". Due to this, the systems could not communicate properly. This ineffective communication resulted in additional costs as the firm had to take care of every system. Due to which the key problem that the company faced was inadequate integration within the company. The capabilities of BMS has thus limited themselves.
These ways introduced Bombardier Aerospace created various communication barriers making it difficult to share important data among the various manufacturing departments and facilities. And as the growth of the company increased, it resulted in further complications in the communication system. Hence, Bombardier Aerospace needed an answer for the establishment of a communication method between the systems and an additional option that can help it to become an efficient centralized system. This, consequently, will help to solve the insufficient integration issue among the legacy systems. (success story: bombardier accelerates its SAP rollout, n.d.).
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Few improvements that can be included in Bombardier Aerospace are:
(i.) Bombardier Aerospace should prepare facilitation of informational flow among the business functions and also manage the connections with outside stakeholders. Bombardier Aerospace should, therefore, come up with a defined process so that the transformation from the existing IP to ERP is an easy move from the point of view of employees. Thus, the interaction will be effective and result in better tram management.
(ii.) Bombardier Aerospace should hold time to time department meeting to interaction with the employees, produce a newsletter or have impromptu updates from the employee. The Bombardier Aerospace should keep each and every employee in the loop and should check the improvements with ERP implementation. The management should be honest with the employees and ask for their feedback and suggestions regarding any important issue. Every employee involved with the firm should be heard because in case their opinions are unheard then it leads to disengagement.
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What ERP implementation best practices were overlooked initially in their pursuit of ERP implementation? How did they overcome by the time they started implementation at the Saint-Laurent plant?
ERP implementation best practices that were overlooked initially in their pursuit of ERP implementation included the insufficiency of Bombardier to define clearer goals and objective for each system along with proper ERP implementation. This affects all the systems and departments effectively, and there is a high probability of achievement of ultimate business goals. The management could have a better and crystal clear vision. Some other best practices include:
Understanding the processes and crucial requirements of the business;
- Build a business case for ERP
- Ensuring proper management for achieving ultimate goals
- Involvement in organizational commitments
- Recognizing the importance of early preparation
- Concentrate on the migration of data during the implementation stage
- Providing proper training and change management
- The significance of ERP implementation. (NetSuite.com, n.d.)
The implementation of ERP at Mirabel as well as St. Laurent plants turned out to successful, but all the expectations were met at the St. Laurent. Because during the second round of implementation, Bombardier has arranged the situation well with higher support from management and a clearer vision in mind along with adequate training to the employees. Good success in the case of St. Laurent was due to the correction of all the mistakes that were seen in the Mirabel plant and were improvised in St. Laurent.
Thus, it can be concluded that the management should endorse the implementation of ERP, and they should be very active during the meetings, follow-ups, progress reports, etc. During the implementation of ERP at St. Laurent, the Vice-President was also seen promoting the software. Thus, the model was strengthened after noticing the mistakes made in Mirabel. During the implementation of ERP in St. Laurent, the management team was seen to communicate properly across all the systems. The management was cordial and was reinforcing the meetings and follow-ups in time along with addressing the concerns immediately.
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Bingi, P., Sharma, M., & Godla, J. (1999). Critical Issues Affecting an ERP Implementation. Information Systems Management, 16(3), 7-14. http://dx.doi.org/10.1201/1078/43126.96.36.19990601/31310.2
NetSuite.com, Do you know the best way to implement an ERP system? Learn more with this best practice guide.. Retrieved 19 February 2016, from http://www.netsuite.com/portal/resource/articles/erp/erp-implementation.shtml success story: bombardier accelerates its SAP rollout (1st ed., p. 3). Retrieved from https://www.worksoft.com/files/resources/Worksoft-Success-Stories-Bombardier-Accelerates-Its-Success-Rollout.pdf
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