How does this technology support existing or new business objectives?
Modern information system applications in manufacturing companies must be directly related to the broad strategic vision of the company. This may even include extended enterprise partners in the value chain. We consider this as the starting point for investment decisions in technology applications and seek to drive the functionality from this point.
Tactical Implementation Review
How and where will this affect business processes?
The tactical perspective must take into consideration the full impact on the defined organization that will use the information presented by the system application. The functionality must be viewed from the perspective of the “out of the box’ version (the suppliers vision) and the actual business requirements of the users. The primary focus must be on business processes and how they will be supported or revised. If processes are being changed thought must be given to user training requirements and the broad impact.
Measure and compare costs to benefits.
Most manufacturing information technology applications can be very expensive. There is no reason to exclude cost justification and ROI measurement. Examine the benefits and understand the full costs to install and support the system. Continue to measure how well the system is doing after the initial installation to see that costs and benefits are being met.
Develop a detailed requirements definition.
The requirements specification is used to accomplish at least two objectives. The primary objective is aimed at internal system user participation to gain a full understanding of the expected and required system use by the users. This is also the time to refine user ideas and wish lists to a performance expectation that will be broadly accepted across the organization. The second objective is to present a document to the vendors that is succinct and identifies specific tasks and requirements of the system. Details here will save a lot of headache later when changes have to be made or the buyer must settle for less than what was expected.
Define Participants and Their Responsibilities
Ensure each participant understands how and where they will be engaged.
There can be many companies and many people participating in the definition and deployment of major systems. It is important that roles and responsibilities of each participant be properly identified and managed to ensure that important parts are properly dovetailed and supported.
System Implementation and User Training
Meet or exceed schedule and training plan.
The schedule and training are two areas that require but do not always get the attention necessary to fully support a successful system implementation. Our process sees this step as critical to achieving the ROI that justified the decision to make the investment. Delays and inadequate user training can substantially delay the expected business process improvement. Company culture can see this negatively, again decreasing the chances for success.
Ensure conformance to plan for each process step.
Manage the progress against the above process steps. This is an outline of participant expectations and plays a crucial role in maintaining adherence for group members. Keep in mind also that most systems do not satisfy everyone when first installed. Recognize there will be issues and develop a plan that will address any and all performance questions. Inclusion in each of the process and performance measurement tests must also be a part of the system requirements for the application provider.