Having implemented CloudSuite Industrial (CSI/SyteLine) for over 30 years, we often get the opportunity to visit with customers years after they went live with the software. Many of our customers report high ongoing satisfaction with their ERP system. However, there is a sub-set of customers that have experienced declining end-user and management satisfaction with the system. From this group we hear comments like these:
“Our users don’t understand the software.”
“People are using outside systems instead of CSI/SyteLine.”
“We are relying on spreadsheets.”
“I can’t rely on the accuracy of the data in the system.”
What is so interesting about these remarks is that they are in direct contrast with what their people were saying immediately after going live with the software. After a successful implementation, and for some time thereafter, users are saying very positive things, such as:
“I don’t know how we were able to do business before without CSI/SyteLine.”
“It’s so much easier to schedule our floor.”
“CSI/SyteLine is an integral part of keeping everything straight.”
“Information that is needed is accessible and informative to make critical business decisions.”
So, what happened?
When we investigated various customer environments where the user satisfaction with the software had declined some interesting information came to light.
Prior to the decline in user satisfaction was a decline in procedure documentation and enforcement.
The decline in proper procedure documentation and enforcement lead to a decline in training of new users.
The decline in training of new users and upkeep of procedures led to a decline in data accuracy.
The decline in data accuracy led to a general distrust and dissatisfaction with the overall system and the introduction of “outside systems” to help run the business.
Maintaining an ERP system is a lot like maintaining a piece of equipment in the shop. There are regular activities that should be done to ensure the ongoing health of the system. Any system left unattended will degrade over time and finally break down completely.
So, what should be done?
At LogicData, we recommend you assemble the original implementation team and appoint them as your ERP Health Committee, with regularly scheduled meetings in which the team reviews the key functions of CSI/SyteLine, such as:
Is our ERP process documentation published and available?
Have our users been trained on our ERP processes?
Are our users applying what they have been trained on?
Do our process documents need revision due to changes in how the company operates (e.g. new products, acquisitions, new regulations, new customer requirements, etc.)?
Are any users deploying outside systems to do their jobs, such as spreadsheets or Access databases, that should be part of the ERP system?
What problems are our users reporting? Are these due to failure to follow existing procedures, or do they indicate a need to revisit the procedures and improve upon them?
If possible, engage the lead consultant that helped with your original implementation and have him or her attend these committee meetings as well. The consultant’s knowledge of CSI/SyteLine and your business can significantly assist in spotting gaps and resolving issues.
The investment spent in purchasing and implementing your ERP system shouldn’t be allowed to go to waste due to lack of system maintenance. Having your team spend a few hours a month to ensure the ongoing effectiveness of CSI/SyteLine is time well spent.