6 Tips for Achieving Global ERP Integration

Integration of systems always seems like a good idea. There are some examples of great success. Henry Ford had his own steel mills and glass factory alongside his well-known assembly line. Integration among the allies helped bring a world war to a conclusion; the armies used a lot of the same weapons and logistics systems. But after thousands of years of history, there still isn’t an abundance of global integration success stories. One might conclude that integration is a good idea that is hard to implement on a global scale. This is especially true when it comes to global ERP systems.

Remember Integration Goes Beyond ERP

Integration in the universe of global ERP systems suggests an ERP used at multiple locations and subsidiaries of a business globally. Integration here goes beyond ERP to include product data, warehouse management, financial reporting, quality controls, and other systems using software that can communicate up and down and across processes and locations. Integration could be the use of more than one ERP systems that can communicate with each other perhaps feeding to one ERP where financial reporting is generated.

Develop a Multi-Year Plan and Secure a Good-Sized Budget

If global ERP integration seems like it would be a winner in your business, start with a multi-year plan and a good-sized budget (this won’t be cheap). Work on one integration at a time. What makes the most sense in your situation? What can be integrated quickly with a high probability of success?

Define Common Workflows Across Systems

Suppose your first global ERP integration is a common worldwide order entry process with your customers placing orders through a common portal. The portal can look the same to any customer and work the same from an outside view. But inside, it might lead to a variety of systems. If you have more than one ERP, you will need to channel the orders into each one while understanding of the limitations of each ERP. But, those different ERPs will probably provide the ability to define workflows. With some effort, you can develop people processes that allow common check offs so that new orders will enter systems with similar rules and your products and services can be booked and delivered.

Identify Systems Where Integration Is Not Possible

OK, that integration is complete? Time to move to number two? Hold on! Before you get too far in the planning of successive integrations look at all the systems you think you want to integrate. Are there any where integration is not possible or not practical? Replacing those systems needs to be a part of the overall integration plan.

And Finally…….Get Started

Keep working over the years. If you can achieve a global ERP implementation with seamless data flow and money flowing in faster than you can count it, you are on the way toward domination of the world!

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Tom Miller

About the author…

Tom completed implementations of Epicor, SAP, QAD, and Micro MRP. He works as a logistics and supply chain manager and he always looks for processes to improve. He lives near San Francisco Bay in California and can be found on the water in his kayak or on the road riding his motorcycle. Contact Tom at customerteam@erpfocus.com.

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Tom Miller