It is a rare occurrence when an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementation meets its initial project objectives, timing or business process goals. Either the implementation fails due to inadequate or dedicated implementation support and engagement (financial, operational and management) during periods of company growth or insufficient resources during periods of economic decline. Often the need to accommodate business process changes and clean up the transactional data can contribute to missed go-live dates, missing shipments and indirectly to the sale of a company.
I was recently interviewed by John Blake, President and Founder of Sales Breakthrough Solutions from Perth, Australia as a result of a Pronto ERP system implementation by Scope Systems, an Australia-based ERP partner for Global Advanced Metals Pty (GAM). For those unfamiliar with the company, GAM world leading integrated tantalum supplier, with 2 mines in Western Australia. Tantalum’s primary use is for production of electronic components, mainly capacitors and high-powered resistors used in cellphones, computers and automotive electronics. GAM had recently purchased the two upstream processing plants in Boyertown, PA and Aizu, Japan from Cabot Corporation and had decided as part of the transition to replace their existing JD Edwards ERP system with Pronto, an enterprise class ERP system developed in Australia that specializes in the extraction industry but is not well known in the US. Scope Systems, the Australia-based implementation partner that had implemented Pronto for the GAM mining operations was also supporting the Japan implementation.
It was April 2012 and the primary project objective was clear: to implement Pronto by August 2012 otherwise significant financial penalties would accrue as a result of extending the JD Edwards/Oracle licensing. The Pronto implementation was significantly complicated by the presence of a third system, BPICS, an INFORS ERP application which served as the transactions processing hub for the Boyertown plant and interfaced with JD Edwards front end. Given the compressed implementation schedule, it was determined that BPICS would not be replaced in this phase of the project and programming interfaces needed to be built between Pronto and JD Edwards.
FACTS was thus engaged to project manage the implementation in Boyertown, PA and Japan to meet the time deadline. At the get go, any successful outcome was not assured when I initially met with the original US implementation partner to find they had not begun any substantive implementation work nor as I found out, had the programming capabilities to create the Pronto-BPICS interfaces itself.
The fact that the Pronto ERP implementation was successful at both Boyertown and Aizu plants is a testament to the dedication and engaged support of the full implementation team composed of Scope Systems, GAM-US/Japan personnel from senior financial and IT management to its plant operations staff with significant help from Cabot Corporation. The interview with Sales Breakthrough Solutions describes my project experiences with GAM/Scope and the critical elements of managing a successful IT or any project.