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Why did you feel a need for an ERP system?

February 2007 - IAS Turkey - Tekstil ve Konfeksiyonda Gorunum

CANIAS ERP - Vural Eralp Tevfik Vural Eralp, Financial Director of Mercek Holding which uses the software of IAS Yazilim, answered our questions regarding to the benefits of ERP to the companies.

Tekstil ve Konfeksiyonda Gorunum: Why did you feel a need for an ERP system?

Tevfik Vural Eralp: The cutthroat competition taking place in the apparel industry has made it necessary for companies to review their business processes and to make the necessary changes to stay alive, such as moving away from inefficient activities and unprofitable ventures, and moving towards productivity and profitability. For the most part, companies are able to make such moves with the use of management reporting that is both accurate and timely. An evaluation on an enterprise scale is only possible through management information systems found within ERP system environments.

T.K.G.: Did you conduct any preliminary work as part of the process for ERP product selection?

T.V.E.: Prior to the selection, there was a three-month period that we spent, on research and for presentations of vendors for demonstrations of their products. Following an internal study to determine our requirements, we compared our expectations with the capabilities provided by various ERP products, while being attentive to those areas where customizations would likely be required.

T.K.G.: What are the reasons you decided to go with CANIAS ERP?

T.V.E.: We met with about 10 vendors during the product selection process. Then we formed a short list of 3 vendors, received full day presentations on their products, and visited their reference customers to see the products in everyday use. We also visited the vendors themselves to learn more about their corporate make-up and financial viabilities, as well as their vision and their staff. At that stage, we concluded that, aside from meeting the expectations of our management and end-users, CANIAS ERP also made a strong showing with the vision displayed by its management, its viability as a company, and the qualifications of its workforce.

T.K.G.: Did you have clear-cut goals at the beginning of the implementation, such as those relating to production, costs, and productivity, and if so, where are you currently with respect to those goals?

T.V.E.: In the document describing the project implementation, we put in definitions and goals as criteria to be used towards determining the performance of the ERP system. These goals are meant to evaluate the effectiveness of our business processes, productivity and profitability. We expect to obtain the initial results related to these goals within the next 3 month period.

T.K.G.: We frequently hear of the prolonged and problematic stories relating to ERP system deployments at textile companies. Please describe your experiences with CANIAS ERP deployment, including the duration that the implementation project took.

T.V.E.: A large implementation project such as that for an ERP system becomes even harder with the inherent complexities associated with the business processes of the textile sector, along with the ever-changing customer requirements and high employee turnaround. Due to their scope and length, ERP implementations are, by definition, large projects. For such projects to be successful, proper planning, preparation and implementation are necessary, with a close scrutiny of the results. For our project, the planning, preparation and implementation phases involving the primary modules were forecast as 6 months, and these modules were put into production use on schedule. An additional 3 months were allocated for extra customizations and the implementation of secondary modules. The planned activities were completed within the allocated time and the new processes have been put into use.

T.K.G.: What have been the critical factors for your success in the ERP implementation you have just completed?

T.V.E.: The most critical factors include a willingness on the part of the organization to embrace changes that support its strategies, and an absolute consensus within the organization in the implementation of such changes. While ERP systems are flexible in nature and can be applied easily to diverse sectors, they also bring about accompanying changes and renovations for their end-users. It would be a mistake to pronounce (to the organization) that nothing major will change as a new ERP system is deployed. On the other hand, obtaining successful results from an ERP system requires certain conditions to be met. Primary among these is obtaining the required data from its source, accurately and in a single operation. This requirement necessitates all users to adhere to a certain discipline to make it happen. Providing training to the users of the system, eliminating the weak links in the chain, establishing the business processes and informing the users of the cause and consequences associated with the use of these processes, are some of the critical factors effecting success.

T.K.G.: What would be your advice to textile or apparel companies that are thinking about deploying ERP systems?

T.V.E.: It is an important decision on part of a company to invest in an ERP system and change its internal processes. A strong project team should be put together for the implementation, and the required resources (personnel, tools, project quarters, financing) should be provided. The project team should define in a clear-cut manner what will be accomplished, which existing applications will be carried forward, and which ones will be permitted to be changed. ERP product selection should be performed with meticulous attention to detail, and the product chosen should be one that meets most of the organization's requirements while being flexible at the same time. On-site visits should be made to one or more reference customers of the ERP system vendor, and the systems should be observed in action. The boiler plate version of an ERP system will not meet all the needs of an organization. Customizations will be necessary to match it to the requirements of each organization. It is imperative that these be accomplished in the shortest time and with ease. Additionally, the contracts and maintenance agreements to be signed with an ERP vendor should clearly describe their scope, the responsibilities of the parties, and such topics as future product releases.

Finally, it should be pointed out that an ERP implementation is not something that can be accomplished with company personnel putting aside some time during their normal daily routine and making progress in piecemeal fashion. An ERP implementation requires allocation of resources and meticulous effort. Additionally, at the conclusion of the implementation, significant changes to the internal processes of the organization will emerge. Such changes require hard decisions to be made. For the implementation to succeed, upper management must display full consensus in their actions, must provide guidance and support as well as motivation.

Source : Tekstil ve Konfeksiyonda Gorunum
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