Beyond Implementation. Maintenance of the ERP System:
Implementing an ERP System in a Micro Enterprise:
Feedback Article after attending a Webinar presented by an IQ Retail staff member on Delivery and Collection Errors.
This Webinar was required to assist IQ Retail dealers with fixing database errors caused by historical data update problems. The problem fields are (Qty) Quantity fields, specifically the Delivery Qty and Collection Qty fields and their influence on Sales Order Qty, Purchase Order Qty and Work in Progress Qty.
There are two parts to the fix, the first part is a simple one, to run the rebuild utility that recalculates all the fields based on the correct source data in the system. To avoid further corruption the second part of the fix requires manipulating the historical data to include a new field GENCODE in the relational tables for Invoice items, Credit Note items, Delivery and Collection items.
This is solved in the demonstration by using DBsys.exe to extract the data into Excel and then Excel to populate this unique identifier, enabling Credit Notes that are passed on historical Invoice data to update the Qty fields correctly.
The presenter is very thorough and explains the solutions in enough detail for the audience of dealer network participants. There are small errors that happen with the data in the presentation but he is clear about explaining why the errors happened and was able to fix the demonstration data errors quickly and then experienced enough to remind his audience of where he was prior to the digression.
During the actual webinar he handled questions efficiently, and was able to solve immediate queries without allowing the question to digress from the direction of his presentation.
It was a long session of one hour twenty-four minutes and yet he kept his audience’s attention by bringing in other problem points requiring similar solutions.
The webinar was functional and to the point, I can now sort out the data errors of the Delivery and Collections module in the IQ Retail (ERP) Enterprise Resource Planning System. The quiz at the end to prove understanding and attendance was welcome as the dealers that made the effort, received an extra 10 points in their rankings with the IQ Retail Company.
Sourcing an ERP solution for a Micro Enterprise:
Steve Lund is knowledgeable of the subjects presented. He described his career as that of an innovator and always being at the edge of technology. However, the subject matter that he has combined in the webinar is vast. Definition of the terms used would have facilitated audience understanding the terms in the context of the webinar. Smart contracts (Lakhani & Iansity, 2017) was mentioned as an important part of the technology used, yet never defined leaving the audience struggling for context.
(Lund, 2018) describes his work with the shipping company Maersk, in which he uses blockchain technology and smart contracts to keep track of 200 processes that a ship has to go through in a voyage from one harbour to another. He describes blockchain as ledger entries in an universal ledger of computers. In the same way that the ledger can be worked back, so the block chain has all its transactions since inception making it an incorruptible tool due to its built in audit trail. This streamlining increased by 15% the number of ships that can be managed as well as a reduction in costs of 15%.
These blockchain transactions are stored in the cloud and using machine learning and artificial intelligence, (Lund, 2018) is able to produce current and applicable Business Intelligence that is used to make critical decisions in the running of the Maersk shipping company.
The importance of Blockchain cannot be overstated, it is being compared to the internet revolution. Together with Big Data, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and the Cloud it has come of age and is ready to be applied to problems that only these technologies combined can solve.(Karafiloski, 2017)(Lund, 2018)(Lakhani & Iansity, 2017)
The principal point critical to the survival of any business was expressed succinctly in the introduction where (Lund, 2018) used the company Toys R Us as an example of a company that allowed technology to get ahead of itself and again in his final words, he warned that companies not keeping ahead of technology will cease to exist.
Karafiloski, E. (2017). Blockchain Solutions for Big Data Challenges. IEEE EUROCON 17th International Conference, (July), 763–768. https://doi.org/10.1109/EUROCON.2017.8011213
Lakhani, K. R., & Iansity, M. (2017). the Truth About Blockchain. Harvard Business Review., 95(1), 119–127. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2005.11.001
Lund, S. (2018). The Convergence of Blockchain, Machine Learning, and the Cloud | Steve Lund | TEDxBYU – YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSbceOWZvJg
Branchless Banking – Take The Branch With You using Mobibranch.
White paper original can be found at:
Critique of a journal – The authors have chosen to do a case study using Odoo ERP.
Link to the applicable Journal –
Unit 3 Lecture: 2
What is (ERP) Enterprise resource planning systems and how can it help improve business.
ERP replaced legacy systems that did not integrate with each other with modular, fully distributed systems. Each module performing a separate departmental function yet all integrating with each other into a common database.
With a standard system like SAP or Oracle, the theoretical improvements to the business are:
- Should be faster and standardized allowing consistency in technology and common interfaces.
- Better control and better customer services using the best practices built into the system.
- Database sharing so there is consistency in data across all departments.
- Fewer personnel requirements as there is streamlining of tasks.
- Better communications as all personnel are on the same system.
- The system ‘as is’ may not fit the company.
- If modifications to the standard system are made, new releases cannot be installed without incorporating those changes in the new release.
- Expensive to make changes, the more changes that are made, the higher the costs. Hidden costs.
- Use the system ‘as is’ and make the company fit the system.
- Resentment of personnel as they have to change procedures without good reason resulting in a lack of ‘buy-in’.
- Competitive advantage may be tied into differences to the ‘standard best practices’.
- Only finding out how inflexible the system actually is after having made the capital investment.
A successful ERP installation requires that the company employ the best consultants prior to deciding, consultants without a vested interest in any one product. Once the decision has been made and management, as well as staff, are 100% behind the venture, the company should employ the best experts in the system chosen to thoroughly train users.
The company could employ in house or external system developers to assess requirements and develop a bespoke system. Usually, this is more expensive and takes more time than a standard modular system, however, if the strategic advantage of the company depends on something that a standard system would not cater for, there are few alternatives.
What are the most significant things I have learned during this session?
The rate of failure of ERP systems and the risk that companies take in investing in the wrong system.
Unit 3 Lecture: 1
What is (EIS) enterprise information systems?
Enterprise information systems are systems that control how a company operates. There are silo/functional systems and there are process-based systems.
Silo/functional systems are stand-alone and do not integrate either in function or in application.
Vertically there are 3 Silo levels:
- The lowest being the transaction processing which happens autonomous and separate from each department.
- The middle management level – once again autonomous in its own department. So one manager for accounts, another for production and so on for all the departments. Not involved or aware of each other’s functions.
- The top management – may have the responsibility of multiple silos and receives individual reports from each silo manager.
Horizontally, there are as many silos as department responsibilities.
Systems that fall into the Silo mode of company operation would be legacy systems (possibly prior to 1980) that were built for a particular department’s function. The system may also be proprietary or built in the house making it very difficult to modify and maintain.
Businesses could have elected to be based on a Silo/ functional business strategy and perhaps systems followed company strategy.
Process-based systems are integrated systems usually sharing one database. Process-based businesses are based on everyone having responsibility for their function but aware of exactly what is happening everywhere else in the company.
In an integrated process-based manufacturing system, a process flow example would be: A customer order is placed, the point of sales operator captures the order and immediately credit control is alerted, if credit is approved, bill of materials will be extracted for stock availability, manufacture is alerted, product is produced an invoice generated. Behind the scene, sales figures, debtors, creditors and the ledger, as well as many more areas, are all updated.
Amazon is an example of a process-based system with two types of operation.
Customer orders a product, it is in stock and it gets shipped out, the customer is invoiced and pays.
Customer orders a product it is then sourced from a supplier and only after it arrives in stock, can it be invoiced, paid for and shipped.
What are the most significant things I have learned during this session?
That a company could elect to be a silo/functional company and that it was not forced to be so by legacy systems.