Diary of an ERP Project Manager: Day 4

Day Eight

Well, we’ve started our blueprinting in earnest, and it’s pretty exciting. I feel like I should be in every blueprint session, but many of them overlap, and I also have other project-related meetings that interfere. I’ve been gravitating toward the sales, distribution, and supply chain meetings when a choice has to be made. I want to say that’s because those are where critical strategic decisions will be made, but if I’m honest, it’s because the Finance and Purchasing discussions are so tedious I wanted to slit my wrists. I mean really. We spent one whole meeting debating how many hours were in a week. Yes, I know 168 is the nominal answer, but it seems there is a lot of philosophical tolerance with that answer, depending on how one defines “full capacity”, “practical capacity”, and “expected capacity”. Apparently, all of that relates to fixed costs are amortized across cost centers. I’ll stop talking about it, Diary; I can sense you looking around for a sharp object to slit your own wrists.

The "Issue Log"

On a process note, we formalized our “Issue Log” and put it on a shared drive. The issue log is our formal document for keeping a running list of unresolved decisions that are routinely reviewed and assigned to an owner as an action item. There was a little bit of debate about who could add issues to the log, and what constituted an “issue”. In the end, we decided to err on the side of being liberal in defining an issue. As a result, the inventory person immediately added the issue that she did not like sitting with purchasing, and Marla assigned me ownership of that one. But there were ones that made you think, too, like “Two different legal entities cannot be in the same plant”, and “the same person being able to order, receive, and pay for materials violates segregation of duties controls”. It makes me realize we were going to uncover a lot of stuff we hadn’t thought about.

And unfortunately, we lost our first consultant today. Daneesh, our procurement consultant, left us. It’s a little bit disappointing, because we spent a lot of time vetting our consulting team, and making sure we had a good fit. In the category of “learnings from working with consultants”, we have added a new item: If a consultant says that he is expecting a visa extension to arrive any day, that means that he expects to be deported any day, which is exactly what happened to Daneesh. When he presented his passport for check-in at the airport today, instead of catching his flight home, he was routed to somewhere on the other side of the International Date Line. So, we’re looking for a new consultant.

Still, I’m pretty excited by it all.

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