Integral Logistics Management — Operations Management and Supply Chain Management Within and Across Companies

9.3.2b Factors That Influence the Range of Implementation of ERP Software

Intended learning outcomes: Disclose factors that influence the range of implementation of ERP software. Differentiate between important factors and less important factors.

Continuation from previous subsection (9.3.2)

Figure shows a selection of the factors that might influence the range of implementation.

Fig.         Factors that influence the range of implementation of ERP software. (From [Mart93]).

The company features (total number of employees, influence from the group level, company type, and branch of industry) had just as little influence over the range of implementation as the data processing equipment used (hardware, operating system, or cost of software). The selected ERP software also had no influence over the range of implementation, although it did appear to matter whether it was the first implementation of such software or a replacement for an existing package. This result is particularly interesting in view of the opinion that, “Every ERP software package is good.”

Of the project features, the importance of “ownership” of the project was key. The most successful projects were those in which responsibility was held solely by the Organization and Data Processing Department, rather than by a specialist department or two or more departments. This is one of the most unexpected results of the survey. It can be explained by the fact that, in an SME environment (small- or medium-sized enterprise), responsibility for the ERP software probably lies with employees in the Organization and Data Processing Department, rather than the specialist departments.

The number of levels of the management hierarchy that receives training is also very important. Training must be received by at least the top level (board) and the bottom level (group leader). It is also important to adopt a professional procedure for evaluating standard software (visiting reference customers, vendor tests using the company’s own data, analysis of the current situation, list of requirements) and clear project management (appointing employees for the project, establishing a control committee and project team). In contrast, the number of project teams, team members and represented departments, and the project leaders and the amount of time they are able to devote to the project are less important.The average acceptance of the ERP software, which is derived from the in­dividual acceptance scores, also has a significant influence over the range of implementation.

To summarize, the survey shows that, for the acceptance and range of implementation of ERP software, the characteristics of the software are important with regard to two points. First, individuals must believe that it is suitable for their own work and that they will retain freedom of choice in their work. Equally important is the support provided during implemen­tation, the employee training, and the quality of the project management in general. If these requirements are fulfilled, it is possible to gain acceptance for and implement any of a num­ber of ERP software products, which ultimately leads to the view that “Every ERP software package is good.” This opinion is normally expressed by those who work with the ERP software every day and is not necessarily applicable to people who only use it sporadically.

Course section 9.3: Subsections and their intended learning outcomes