December 02, 2013 by Godfrey Huguley
In the last few decades, technology has made the world even smaller with communications and data moving instantaneously across the global internet. At the same time, companies, supply and delivery chains, and markets continue to expand globally. Even with today’s technology, some companies struggle to achieve real time visibility across their supply chains because of expanding footprints, add-on growth, and conflicting technologies that actually push their companies farther apart, rather than bringing them closer together.
This is the case for a global airline manufacturer whose acquisitions of outside manufacturers brought multiple ERPs into the company…leading to challenges and communications barriers across divisions and locations, and creating distance across the company.
Multiple ERPs in a single company is not uncommon and can arise from a variety of reasons – one cause is legacy systems from acquisitions, as in this case. In other scenarios, different ERPs are needed because the requirements of individual business units vary and a best of breed approach seems more functional. Or finally, a variety of ERPs may be needed because different regions require different approaches. Regardless of the reason, the problems caused by the use of multiple ERPs across one company are all similar.
Because each ERP system houses its own data, it often leads to differing data structures and challenges consolidating the information. This complicates the reporting process, potentially requiring the addition of manual steps to rationalize the data across sources to deliver a consolidated view of the company’s status. Working with multiple ERPs also requires your staff to be familiar with multiple user interfaces, data structures and reporting formats.
While in an ideal world, it might seem best to move all new acquisitions to one consolidated ERP system, the costs, need for differentiated solutions, potential for a multi-year deployment, and level of complexity and man hours required can often make this a less than ideal solution – greatly slowing down or even eliminating any projected ROI. Instead, think about how to bring the information your ERPs contain and the functions they perform to you. Consider what shared information you really need at your fingertips, and look for a solution that can align and consolidate this critical data.
Implementing collaboration software with a data integration layer that can speak to all your various ERPs as well as other internal and external systems is one solution. It allows you to bring your internal planning, procurement, finance, and transportation/ logistics into one dashboard…interacting in real-time with data and functionality that lives in your various ERPs at various locations.
And if you choose a platform with 24/7 mobile access, communication becomes truly instantaneous. Having all this information in a single console provides a more holistic view of your business functions as well as a wider view of your supply chain. A final benefit of this solution is that it simplifies bringing additional ERPs, divisions or even outside partners into the fold.
See TAKE Supply Chain’s eBook: 10-Minute Guide to Increasing Supply Chain Visibility for suggestions on increasing visibility across your supply chain.
With acquisitions and mergers an ongoing reality for modern business, smart and growing companies are putting together a plan to manage not just one-off situations, but to provide smooth onboarding for any new addition to their infrastructure.
The airline manufacturer I spoke to is considering using our OneSCM® collaboration solution to help bring all the data and reporting they need into one consolidated view, while at the same time laying the groundwork for future expansion.
I really enjoy speaking with supply chain professionals around the country and working to find solutions that support growth and drive success. If you have a supply chain issue you would like to discuss, please email me at email@example.com.