3 stages of manufacturing ERP data migration

There are several categories of data that can significantly affect the success of any manufacturing ERP system. Carefully testing each category of data and managing ERP data migration efficiently can dramatically reduce the risk of system failure.

1. Configuration data migration

Configuration data is often company-wide and related to every module; sales, inventory and others. You set the number of decimals here. You set the formatting there. If you want manufacturing jobs to be five digits starting with 40001, this is where you make that definition. This is often the simplest stage of ERP data migration and might be set manually using the legacy settings as a model. Test the settings carefully as the legacy system might have a different field or value definition to that of the new manufacturing ERP. Linking component serial number data from one ERP to component lot number from another would lead to failure. This is an exaggerated example, the differences between your systems may be more subtle.

2. Master data migration

Master data will significantly affect the way your manufacturing ERP behaves. There are settings at customer, supplier, employee, part, operation and resource level. These can be tricky. The person who wrote the field definition is probably not a manufacturer and has likely never even worked in a manufacturing plant; this often translates into cryptic default field names.

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During implementation, you might find a setting that reads in exactly the same way as you planned to operate your ERP in your plant. But in testing, you discover this setting works in tandem with another setting in another module to create a system behavior completely unexpected and unacceptable. Setting a sales order fulfillment to automatically generate a certificate of compliance might be exactly what is desired but later you learn that you also forced automatic generation of part lot numbers you did not want. There can be millions of possible setting permutations which mean some have never been tried and tested by you or your consultants; even the ERP provider can be taken by surprise.

Carefully testing each category of data and managing ERP data migration efficiently can dramatically reduce the risk of system failure

You will discover these problems in testing. The results of a transaction are not as expected. You document that a setting should be imported differently next time. With the next round of testing, that setting is corrected but another transaction fails because another data set reacted to your changes. So you are testing both transactions and ERP data migration at the same time. If you fail to take both these areas of testing into account, your implementation schedule will dramatically underestimate testing requirements.

3. Transactional data migration

The final category of data is transactional. These are sales order shipments and purchase order confirmations. Every shop floor user starting work on a job/operation creates a transaction and another will be recorded when that job is complete and the number of units completed is recorded. These transactional data are voluminous. They could go back years in your legacy system. Because of this, queries and reports can run slowly which might be considered a minor failure unless you are able to filter the data carefully.

While you are migrating data for each round of testing, track the sequence of migration and the length of time each import takes. You will often learn that one data set must be moved ahead of another or system errors will result. The scheduling is important too. When manufacturing ERP go-live is here, you will have a lot of work to complete in a short time. Confidence that ERP data migration will be complete at 7:00 AM means you can have people ready to verify that data one last time and return to work quickly.

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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