ERP Success- Fifty years ago, Jeff Carr was working at IBM’s New York headquarters, helping to develop the early ancestors of today’s critical manufacturing software, the sparks that would ignite today’s digital industrial revolution. One of these projects was the first Material Requirements Planning system for an equipment manufacturer. Instead of pen and paper, planning and scheduling could be done electronically. Over the decades this morphed into Enterprise Resource Planning, or ERP, software.
Carr believed that despite IBM creating the marketplace, it would not succeed in its MRP strategy, but he thought he could. He started his manufacturing software company in 1975, which flourished in the 1980s. After selling the company in the 1990s, he formed Ultra Consultants, which specializes in advising manufacturers and distributors on how to get the most out of their ERPs.
Basically, ERPs centralize all the critical data manufacturers need, from supply chain to financials to operations, distilling these numbers into understandable reports and real-time dashboards, empowering management to make better decisions. Ever since the Industrial Internet of Things came around, the flow of data, and the importance of leveraging that data, has never been more critical. But getting IT and OT aboard, finding the financial and human capital, and coming up with a solid game plan are just a few reasons the C-Suite may put off getting or changing an ERP solution.
“Most CEOs don’t want to do an ERP project,” says Carr, who has worked with more than 1,000 manufacturing and distribution companies. “They don’t want to get anywhere near it because everybody keeps talking about how difficult it is.”
Carr, Ultra’s CEO for the last 25 years, blames bad press. And it’s true Avon Products outright abandoned its $125 million ERP from SAP in 2013, but six years in technology is like four product lifetimes. Carr says vendors have made things easier, and companies have learned from their mistakes. He believed ERP failure was a myth.
So the ERP consultant with half a century of experience called in a colleague with about 45 years under her belt: Cindy Jutras, president and founder of research and advisory firm Mint Jutras. She has worked with ERPs for more than 30 years.
Together they have about a century of experience, and together, with all that wisdom and IT knowledge, they were determined to get to the truth.
The Survey Says
Mint Jutras sent out a survey last November to a paid research panel of 315 respondents, all in leadership roles at manufacturers and distributors that exceed $25 million in annual revenue, and all of whom have deployed an ERP.
The key findings of the survey, called “The Real Facts about ERP Implementation,” was that two-thirds of respondents graded their ERP implementation as “successful” or “very successful.” The survey found 31% thought their ERP project was at least a partial success, while 2% thought they were “not very successful.” Only one out of 315 thought their ERP deployment was a failure.