Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

The Review of Business Information Systems Volume 7, Number 335Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)System Implementation:Promise and ProblemsMehmet C. Kocaklh, (E-mail: Mkocakul@usi.edu), University of Southern IndianaDana R. Willett, University of Southern IndianaAbstractThe experiences of the two businesses presented here correlate well with the success factors identified in the literature related to implementation of enterprise resource planning systems. The importance of successful ERP system planning and deployment becomes evident when considerationis given to the resources companies devote to these projects and the advantages promised and often realized as a result of business process improvement through ERP. As enterprise resourceplanning continues to evolve, its importance seems likely to grow. This evolution will allow ERPto expand to serve smaller and smaller businesses and businesses with more specialized enterpriseresource planning needs. To truly serve these institutions, ERP deployments must become morereliable through the further refinement of success factor analysis.1.0 Introductionnterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems change the way businesses do business. With promises ofhuge savings and competitive advantages, vendors sell at least $15 billion of ERP systems each yearwith expected market growth to $50 billion in annual ERP sales in the next three years, (Bingi, 1999).More than 50% of the Fortune 500 corporations today have already implemented ERP systems, (Grove, 2000), and70% of the Fortune 1000 firms already have or will soon have ERP systems installed, (Bingi, 1999). Further, newlydeveloped ERP packages target small and medium-size business with assurances that these software systems willbring big-business efficiencies at reasonable rates, (SAP Solutions, 2001). World Wide Web sites for ERP vendorshost page upon page of business success stories attributed to ERP system implementation.Such successes are measured in more than dollars and cents. If adequately supported by top management,have a good strategy and well-thought-out processes, ERP can reduce costs, shorten cycle time and improve customer satisfaction for any business. In addition, it will help a business globalize its operations, expand its supplychain and customer relations base and move into hot new areas of e-commerce, (Wah, 2000).ERP saves time, too. City accountants in Pasadena, California say financial documents that took up to tendays each month to process, print, and mail take only a day to post on-line with the local governments new ERPsoftware, (Ferrando, 2000). Reports from IBMs Storage Systems division indicate that their ERP system helped reprice all their products in five minutes versus the five days required for the same job before the enterprise systembegan operation, (Bingi, 1999).As with many silver linings, however, there are dark clouds-tales of ERP implementations gone wrong athuge and sometimes devastating costs. One study indicates that only one in every three enterprise application initiatives is successful, (Buchok, 2000). In the nearly ten years since the first ERP system deployments, several companies have blamed major business problems on failed or troubled ERP roll-outs. In November 2000, Petsmart Inc._________________________Readers with comment or questions are encouraged to contact the authors via email.EThe Review of Business Information Systems Volume 7, Number 336attributed a poor quarterly earnings report to an enterprise system that caused unusual inventory losses, (Mearian,2000). Hershey Foods Corporation counted too much inventory and a 19% dip in quarterly sales after ERP hassles in1999, (Songini, 2000). Crown Crafts Inc. reported a 24% drop in fourth quarter 1999 earnings after the companysays an ERP system caused manufacturing disruptions and missed shipments, (Gilbert, 2000). Likewise, W. W.Grainger Inc. identified over $23 million in reduced earnings after nearly a year of struggle with an enterprise system that Grainger managers said undercounted inventory in six warehouses, (Stedman2, 2000). Also, add Volkswagen AG to companies with ERP difficulties. Repair shops and Volkswagen drivers waited weeks in early 2000 forspare parts deliveries while a team of ERP consultants worked to get software snags out of the way, (Stedman1,2000).Nevertheless, companies continue to consider ERP return worth the risk while asking vendors, consultants,and in-house implementation teams to ensure that an ERP deployment will not cost more than it must. To that end,enterprise system vendors work to improve software offerings, consultants tweak deployment methods, and ad-hocERP implementation teams search for guidance in industry benchmarks and proven success factors. To facilitate thediscovery and analysis of such success factors, a summary of published information about them appears below, asdo the results of interviews with the leaders of two ERP implementation teams. The experience of these two teamsprovides further anecdotal information about ERP system initiatives in small and medium-sized businesses with dissimilar human and financial resources while emphasizing the commonalities in their efforts.2.0 ERP DefinedAt its best, an enterprise resource planning system unites a business and all its functional areas under acompany-wide information system. The ERP software integrates formerly isolated silos of automation and data under a common database and user interface. Information becomes available on-demand to assist in the coordination ofbusiness tasks as diverse as human resource management, accounting, manufacturing, distribution and supply-chainmanagement, (Bingi, 1999). Through analysis of case studies, Rajagopal Palaniswamy and Tyler Frank discoveredthat companies that have implemented ERP have made improvements in cross-functional coordination and businessperformance at various levels, (Palaniswamy, 2000). As business begin or continue their reorganization aroundprocesses by using more cross-functional teams, the importance of a seamless enterprise information system grows.Similarly, these seamless systems comfortably cross national boundaries to help businesses compete in anincreasingly global economy. To be successful, a global enterprise must have accurate real-time information tocontrol and coordinate the far-flung resources, (Bingi, 1999). Under a well-managed ERP system, multiple currencies and languages are supported, relevant taxes calculated, and country-specific import/export rules are automatically handled, (Bingi, 1999). The bi-directional and immediate flow of data between the information source (shopfloor in Mexico City or help desk in New Delhi) and management helps create a more dynamic company that isflexible, fast, and responsive to changing market conditions and consumer demands. These dynamic companies arethen better prepared to capture global levels of manufacturing efficiency, (Palaniswamy, 2000).Indeed, a focus on manufacturing efficiency is central to the purpose of the earliest and most popular ERPsystems. Current enterprise resource planning software emerged from other very popular information and controlsystems collectively called manufacturing resource planning (MRP II) systems. MRP II software helps companiescapture information related to sales, production, inventory, and schedules to facilitate the control of the manufacturing and distribution process, (Palaniswamy, 2000). ERP systems improve upon the MRP II model by integrating data across the enterprise and making it available through a consistent user interface, (Bingi, 1999). Real-time accessto this data allows the business to respond more rapidly to a customer base that, in many industries, demands greatercustomization of productsmanufacturing is more made-to-order than made-to-stock, (Palaniswamy, 2000).To accomplish its goals in a variety of business environments, however, ERP systems must be customizable products, too. ERP vendors know that even among direct competitors, internal processes vary. One automobilemanufacturer may use FIFO for inventory accounting while another uses LIFO. Budgets in one business may use actual costing figures while another uses a standard costing system. Enterprise system developers allow for these differences by building sets of adjustable parameters into the software program. These parameters store values that canThe Review of Business Information Systems Volume 7, Number 337be individually set to describe a companys unique method of operation, (Pinkus, 2000). Allen Pinkus, a vicepresident of an ERP development firm writes that the major sets of ERP parameters are as follows: System parameters, which define how the system is configured, the functional components it can run and the various technical considerations.Organization parameters, which define the structure of the company using the system-thatis, the various departments or business processes and their interrelationships.Integration parameters, which are usually oriented to linking the financial modules tomanufacturing and logistics and to the people who deal with analytical results.Functional domain parameters, which determine high-level aspects of sales, purchasing,manufacturing and other modules.Functional transaction parameters, which define how specific functions such as sales quotations and blanket purchase orders will look and operate. (Pinkus, 2000)Once a company loads its data, the parameters control the flow of information throughout the system. Employees enter business data once and it appears or is available where appropriate throughout the enterprise. Therefore, poorly established parameters bottleneck the flow of information and bad data races through the company asquickly as good data. This underscores the importance of taking an appropriate amount of time and care setting parameters and loading the initial data set. Recognizing the critical nature of this step in the implementation process,ERP vendors offer worksheets or questionnaires to help companies set parameters accurately and they sell kits thatassist businesses in transferring legacy data into the new software. Quality ERP systems also include parametercross-reference checks, consistency validation techniques, error detectors, and system behavior simulators, (Pinkus, 2000).Offering these kinds of tools, consulting services, and, of course, software systems, five ERP vendors dominate the market. SAP, Oracle Corporation, PeopleSoft Incorporated, J.D. Edwards & Company, and Baan Company compete with several smaller software vendors for a chance to install ERP systems in a variety of businesses.Combined, the ERP marketers target products for nearly any type of institution-large or small, domestic or multinational, retail or manufacturing. Further, some enterprise software vendors promote products specially tuned to theneeds of broad business segments such as aerospace, automotive, or telecommunications. ERP vendors also offersystem solutions for various computer operating systems and network architectures-from Windows to Unix andmainframe to client/server.Other ERP options tempt businesses, too, by offering flexibility in the depth and speed of ERP deployment.Companies may choose to implement only certain modules of the ERP solution, (Hill, 2000). For instance, a financeand accounting module could be deployed immediately with manufacturing or order processing modules to followlater. In this way, institutions limit their ERP implementation in the short-term with the ability to easily deepen theircommitment later, (Bingi, 1999).Companies interested in speedy ERP deployment, may choose one of the rapid implementation plans offered by many ERP vendors. In some cases, these quick implementations save both money and time at start-up withsome compensating trade-offs. Where a traditional ERP deployment may cost over $100 million dollars and takeone or two years in a large business, successful rapid implementations reportedly save several million dollars andconsume approximately 60% less time, (Konicki, 2000). These savings are balanced by the inability of client companies to customize the enterprise software for optimal performance with their businesses. Thus, long-term cost savings achieved through ERP efficiencies are reduced to only 50% or 60% of what the company could have expectedwith a slower, more traditional ERP deployment plan, (Konicki, 2000).While the wide variety of options in ERP software reflects a maturing technology, enterprise systems arealso evolving. Recently, ERP vendors have introduced modules that let disparate ERP systems communicate withone another. This facilitates supply chain management through the ERP system and beyond the boundaries of theindividual business, (ERP for the Internet Age). In another evolutionary move, ERP developers have ported theirThe Review of Business Information Systems Volume 7, Number 338products to the World Wide Web to allow businesses access to enterprise data on any Internet-connected computer,(Turning a Corner). Moreover, some ERP solutions are offered completely via the Internet through applicationservice providers (ASPs)-outsourcing partners, who manage the software and hardware necessary to host a companys data, (Apicella, 2000). The ASPs promise the benefits of in-house enterprise resource planning systems, withcost savings in software, hardware, and the salaries of employees skilled enough to operate complex ERP systems.While, these developments in ERP systems add new complexities to the decision-making and subsequent implementation process for those companies considering an enterprise solution, the remaining discussion here focuses on enterprise resource planning systems where the software is deployed in-house to manage a business internal data andprocesses.3.0 ERP Implementation IssuesFor over nearly a decade now, companies have learned important lessons as they established and began using enterprise resource planning systems. These lessons, as presented in industry reports and research, sound similarin certain respects. Further, they help identify common ERP implementation issues. Once they are grouped together,these issues fall into four areas:1. The risks of ERP software customization,2. The exercise of due diligence in the implementation process,3. The management of project partners and consultants,4. The alignment of the ERP system goals with business objectives.Even with sophisticated software parameters optimally set on an ERP system created specifically for a certain business segment, it is unlikely that an unmodified ERP package will be a snug fit for a particular company.Consequently, many clients ask their ERP vendors for some customization. Most commonly, companies want tochange the appearance or content of a system form or report. Changing the report format, adding a column, or calculating additional fields of information is quite common and usually the first modification made, (Harris, 2000).Customizations like these may not be terribly complex, but they do add to the cost of and may delay an ERP implementation. Also, any future ERP system upgrades or software patches could overwrite the customization without notification.More complex customization may be required by some businesses where unique business rules or policiesmust be represented in the underlying ERP software code. These modifications carry greater risks due to the intricate interrelationships of the software elements that knit together the ERP package. Customization of core ERP codemay prove fatal to a deployment effort. The majority of failed implementations are due to system code modifications that go beyond the workflow parameter settings found in most modern [ERP] packages, (Hibbler, 2000).Many ERP implementation hassles are not, however, rooted in challenges with technology. Enterprise resource planning involves people, too. An organization goes through a major transformation, and the managementof this change must be carefully planned (from a strategic viewpoint) and meticulously implemented, (Bingi,1999). This planning requires the diligence of ERP project leaders and top management. Lack of diligence oftenmanifests itself in efforts to cut corners by skipping critical planning steps, (Bingi, 1999), or trimming training resources, (Wah, 2000). The importance of training end-users becomes apparent when businesses consider, thepeople at the keyboards are now making decisions that commit the company directly into a live system, (Delsandaro, 1999). Again, bad data speeds through the ERP system just as fast a good data. With an ERP system, every useris a critical user of the software.Yet another non-technical issue concerning ERP implementation involves the management of project partners and consultants. Consultants kick-start ERP for a company by providing critical technical advice derived fromexperience and by training employees on how to get the most from the new enterprise system. Finding qualified assistance for an ERP implementation may be difficult considering the necessary skillsfamiliarity with the ERPsoftware, specific industry knowledge, and good interpersonal skills, (Bingi, 1999). Naturally, the scarcity of theseexperts makes them expensive and, therefore, a resource to be used wisely. As important as it is to get the right conThe Review of Business Information Systems Volume 7, Number 339sultants in the door, ERP project managers must know how to get them out the door as soon as is practical. Expertssay that when users fail to plan for disengagement, consulting fees can run wild, (Delsandro, 1999). Consideringthat educated estimates for consulting fees total one to two times the cost of the ERP software package, poor management of consultants can easily ruin an implementation effort.Likewise, failing to align the ERP system goals with business objectives often dooms enterprise systemdeployments. Some companies mistakenly approach an ERP implementation as a technical challenge to be primarilyhandled by the IT department. Implementing any integrated ERP solution is not as much a technological exercisebut an organizational revolution, (Bingi, 1999). The company must want to reorganize business processes to getthe most out of the ERP system and this desire must be clearly articulated across the institution in order to quell resistance to change in the form of turf battles, (Wah, 2000). These conflicts arise when business managers see theERP system as a tool for stripping away their control and authority over old business practices.It is not enough, however, that the ERP system goals and the business objectives are aligned. The businessobjectives must also be reasonable with regard to the ERP system. Managers looking for rapid return on investmentthrough ERP will likely be disappointed. ERP systems may not begin to show a good ROI until after five years ofoperation, (Wah, 2000). Any expectations for earlier return could damage management support for the ERP systemresulting in the project being inappropriately branded a failure.4.0 ERP Success FactorsIdentifying and understanding the critical issues for ERP implementation helps define factors that must beexecuted correctly in order to get an enterprise system off to a good start. These success factors appear in variousforms throughout ERP literature as tips, hints, critical issues, or just plain advice. When collected, they fall into twobroad categories:1. ERP System Planning Success Factors2. ERP System Implementation Success Factors.ERP System Planning Success Factors include securing the focused attention and support of top management, establishing the willingness of the institution to reengineer business processes, forming the cross functionalERP team, and finding the ERP system that matches specific business goals. ERP System Implementation SuccessFactors include establishing project control, generating and sustaining project momentum, severely limiting ERPsystem customization, creating ERP system performance measures, and ensuring quality user training. While thesesuccess factors are organized here in an original manner, the success factors themselves are paraphrased from thework of Richard Alvarez, Prasad Bingi, Joe Comerford, J.W. Dysart, Jayanth Godla, Steve Konicki, SharonMcDonnell, Andrew Osterland, Maneesh Sharma, Louisa Wah, and Sam Wee as cited below.The items listed as ERP System Planning Success Factors are not necessarily organized by their importance. Rather, securing the focused attention and support of top management is listed initially because it is likely tobe the first step performed as a company begins the process of planning for an ERP system. Once top managementbegins actively backing an ERP project, work on this factor, however, is not complete. Upper management supportmust be sustained throughout the ERP planning and implementation process. Indeed, what makes ERP projectschallenging is that in order to be successful, it is critical to address all of these factors at the same time, (Wee,2001).A companys top managers must make the ERP implementation one of the top four or five priorities for thecompany to achieve project success according to research conducted by Benchmarking Partners, (Wee, 2001). Thispriority attention sends strong signals throughout the institution that cooperation on the ERP project is expected andthat success is anticipated, (Comerford, 2000). Top management needs to constantly monitor the progress of theproject and provide direction, (Bingi, 1999). To effectively monitor, executive management should be providedwith enough information to give them a complete understanding of the project, (Alvarez, 2000).The Review of Business Information Systems Volume 7, Number 340This understanding of the ERP project should evolve into the second success factor listed under systemplanning: establishing the willingness of the institution to reengineer business processes. Quality ERP systems feature business processes that are often considered to be industry best practices. Therefore, when a companysprocesses differ from those modeled in the ERP software, the company should at least consider reengineering itsway of doing things. Process reengineering should be done before beginning the installation of the ERP software,(McDonnell, 2000), and continue after users learn more about how the new system works, (Wee, 2001).Ideally, users will be involved in the ERP implementation project from the beginning. Creating a crossfunctional ERP implementation team comprised of the companys best people helps smooth the ERP system selection and implementation process, (Wee, 2001). The best team members understand the overall needs of the company and are well aware of industry best practices and company processes, (Bingi, 1999). User involvement from various functional areas of the business at the beginning of the project ensures that lines of communication are open andthat information about the ERP project is shared. Once the rollout of the new ERP system is ready, the implementation team also helps to build acceptance of the new system by sharing what they know about the benefits of ERPwith co-workers.The changes brought about by the ERP system implementation will more likely be positively received ifthe system selection is based on what helps the business achieve its objectives. The process of selecting the rightERP system begins, then, with taking the ERP project out of the technical arena and putting it into a business perspective, (Osterland, 2000). Executives and consultants who have worked with ERP recommend that an organization clearly define what it wants ERP to accomplish, (Dysart, 2000). With these goals in mind, selection of the rightERP system for a particular business becomes easier. Each member of the ERP implementation team has a clear ideawhat evaluation criteria to use as a reference for rating the various vendor offerings.Once an ERP system has been selected, the project moves into the implementation phase. The first of theERP System Implementation Success Factors is establishing project control. From a project managers perspectivethis involves controlling internal politics and controlling the various implementation partners hired from outside thecompany (consultants and vendors), (Osterland, 2000). Stated another way, project control centers around communication-manage expectations at all levels of the organization so everyone knows whats ahead, whats expected ofthem, and how the change will impact their work lives on a daily basis, (Wee, 2001). The ERP implementationteam should help control internal politics by keeping channels of communication open throughout the enterprise.Clear, complete contracts with consultants help manage expectations and will likely assist in keeping costs down,too, (Osterland, 2000).The second success factor in the implementation phase helps keep costs in line, too: generating and sustaining project momentum. Successful ERP deployments require a balance between two leadership qualities-speed andeffectiveness. These opposites can coexist in an ERP project, writes Sam Wee, if you move quickly enough toensure that people dont lose their focus and motivation, while at the same time you move slowly enough to managechange, get buy-in from staff and communicate, (Wee, 2001). Swift decisive action controls costs by limiting expensive consultant time wasted on change management, by improving efficiencies through greater user productivitybased on rapid buy-in, and by driving down lost time due to miscommunication.Momentum is also preserved by severely limiting ERP software customization. Stated simply, customization adds complexity, which increases the danger of a botched implementation, (Dysart, 2000). Any modification tothe ERP system increases costs now and again later because customizations have to be reprogrammed after everyERP software upgrade or patch. If selected properly during the planning phase, the ERP software should come closer than any other ERP system to fitting the businesses way of doing business. Overwhelming anecdotal evidenceindicates that ERP software customization often leads to a failed enterprise system deployment.Even the success of a smooth ERP system implementation may go unappreciated if performance measuresare not put in place. Some of the early positive effects of ERP may go unnoticed without appropriate benchmarks.These performance indicators also signal when the ERP system is not performing as it should and may need adjustThe Review of Business Information Systems Volume 7, Number 341ment, (Osterland, 2000). Establishment of these performance measures also offers a focal point for employees whoare encouraged to learn new systems and software where achievable goals are apparent.User training on the new ERP system represents the last success factor in the implementation phase and itis the most persistent factor in the long-term success of enterprise systems. Consultants note that businesses frequently budget too few dollars for training, (Konicki, 2000). Some ERP experts estimate that 30%-40% of undertrained workers will not be able to handle the demands of the new system, (Bingi, 1999). Surveys and computerbased training tools help identify employees who need additional ERP instruction in order to get the most from thenew system, (Callaway, 1999).5.0 Two Businesses Plan and Implement ERP Systems: Common Success FactorsSuccess with the planning and implementation factors just described helped Anchor Industries and RexamClosures deploy their ERP systems. The ERP implementation project managers of these two companies reflected onthe challenges they encountered and tactics they employed while working through the ERP planning and deployment process. Both feel their attention to specific success factors helped them avoid problems and ensured a smoothenterprise implementation. While these companies are distinct in their organizational structures, resources, and approach to ERP, both businesses ultimately identified common success factors and managed these factors to success.Anchor Industries Inc., based in Evansville, Indiana, is a privately held custom fabric product manufacturer. Their sales offerings include tents, canopies, awnings, and safety pool covers, (Anchor Industries Home Page,2001). With one manufacturing facility in Bradenton, Florida and another in Evansville, Indiana, Anchor creates andsells approximately $40-$50 million of products to government entities, corporate clients, and individuals. Anchorsuccessfully installed and uses J.D. Edwards World software for enterprise resource planning. Project manager ,Anchors IT director, led the ERP implementation project in 1999.Project manager, an operations/forecast analyst at Rexam Closures & Containers, directs an ERP systemimplementation effort at Rexams Evansville plant and was involved in a successful ERP deployment in anotherRexam facility in the United Kingdom. With a corporate headquarters in London, England and 25 plant sites aroundthe world, Rexam manufactures packaging for the beauty, beverage, healthcare, and food industries. The publiclytraded company (REX.L) generates $4 billion in sales annually. Rexam has implemented J.D. Edwards OneWorldERP system software in the United Kingdom with the intention of completing a similar deployment in the Evansville facility by January 2003.Both Anchor and Rexam began considering implementation of an enterprise resource planning system afterthe MRP II systems they had been using began showing signs of age. With potential Year 2000 (Y2K) issues relatedto the MRP II system, replacement or upgrade of the manufacturing software became a business imperative for Rexam in the U.K. and Anchor in Evansville. The potential problems with date-based software errors connected withY2K made the need for a new enterprise system an easier sell to top management in both companies. The bothproject managers worked throughout the ERP planning and implementation process to keep upper management informed and involved in the deployment.Once top management support was secure, both project leaders formed cross-functional planning and implementation teams. One project manager recalled that, user buy-in was recognized from the beginning. he wasthe only IT person at Anchor during the deployment and that he needed help from the companys power users,(skilled users of the old MRP II system) to help select the new ERP system and to help train others to use it. Tenpower users from various functional areas of the company joined the project manager on the ERP team and beganinvestigating potential enterprise system vendors. At Rexam, Project managers team included eight members: twofrom finance and accounting, one from order processing, two from manufacturing, and two from IT. The RexamERP team met two times a week for the first two months to pare a list of 15 potential system vendors down to eight.The Rexam team further vetted vendors by developing a document (with the help of an ERP consultant)that contained a specific set of business problems, data, and process requirements. Only three vendors were allowedThe Review of Business Information Systems Volume 7, Number 342to offer complete system demonstrations before J.D. Edwards was selected. The Anchor ERP team created a uniform evaluation tool based on business needs determined by the various functional areas of the enterprise. The evaluation tool was used to review the various ERP vendor offerings and to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of each proposal. One project manager commented that the evaluation tool kept the ERP team focused on the business issues related to the new system and allowed the team to more easily select the right ERP software for Anchor.As both businesses moved into the implementation phase of the project, they used several tactics to succeedwith the project control factor. At Anchor, Project manager restricted the use of consultants on the project by limiting them to helping ERP team members get up to speed with the ERP software faster. Internal politics at Anchorwas managed by clear communication through the ERP team to the various functional areas of the business. TheRexams ERP team served the same purpose. The Rexams ERP deployment benefited from project leadership bythose with project management experience as opposed to purely technical (IT) skills.While neither project manager specifically mentioned project momentum as a factor they considered intheir ERP deployment, both companies moved quickly to implement the new systems. Once J.D. Edwards Worldsoftware won at Anchor, the system was running within 13 months. Using a similar timeframe, Rexams U.K. operation implemented the J.D.Edwards OneWorld ERP system during 1999. The U.K. plant moved quickly by choosing to eliminate customization of the ERP system-using what they call a vanilla version of the software. Anchoreschewed customization, too. Before the ERP system began operation there, only a small change was made to allowAnchor to print their own business forms rather than using J.D. Edwards pre-printed, forms because of expense involve.Neither company discussed the specifics of performance measures used to evaluate the ERP systems, butboth noted that the value of the implementation was and is being measured in business terms. The ERP system atAnchor has significantly improved the flow of information through the business and has changed 40%-50% of internal processes. The process improvements at Rexams U.K. facility since the ERP system began operation. Further,the OneWorld software is on track to pay for itself in two years through savings in business operations.As a success factor, both project leaders mentioned training. Considerable time and money was devoted topreparing employees to use the new system. Project Manager suggests that businesses take a core team and trainthem intensively and let that team help train others in the enterprise. At Anchor, they used this approach with mixedresults. Some users, he says, were left behind and had to be retrained. He praises computer-based training tools as away to allow some ERP users to learn at their own pace. One project manager also adds that training is never complete as long as there are additional opportunities to leverage the ERP system for better business performance. 6.0 Suggestions for future researchFuture areas for research related to Enterprise Resource Planning Systems include examinations of the impact on the balance sheet for implementation, successes of businesses converting to or adding Customer ResourceManagement Systems, and a longitudinal look at successful maintenance and compliance techniques for ERP systems. Literature review indicates that few businesses have opened the books for research into the impact of ERPimplementation on the balance sheet. An exploration of how actual accounting data may compare to perceptions ofthe success of ERP would also be enlightening.References1. Alvarez, Richard S. Strategies for Successful Implementation of an Integrated Enterprise Suite. SyllabusFebruary 2000: 42-45.2. Apicella, Mario. The Hands That Move Your Business. InfoWorld 26 June 2000: 44-45.3. Baan Industries Home Page. 22 April 2001. http://www.baan.com/industries/index.htm.4. Bingi, Prasad, Maneesh K. Sharma, and Jayanth K. Godla. Critical Issues Affecting an ERP Implementation. Information Systems Management Summer 1999: 7-15.The Review of Business Information Systems Volume 7, Number 3435. Buchok, James. Failed Initiatives. Computing Canada 14 April 2000: 10.6. Callaway, Erin. Power Trainers. Inside Technology Training February 1999: 18-22.7. Collier, Nikki. Personal interview. 10 April 2001.8. Comerford, Joe. Plan the Complexity Out of ERP Implementations. Business Journal 18 February 2000:26-27.9. Delsandro, Christopher R. Enterprise Resource Planning Software: The Hidden Costs. 3 August 1999. 22April 2001 .10. Dysart, J.W. Planning for Real-Time Information. Banking Strategies May/June 2000: 6-8.11. ERP for the Internet Age. Modern Materials Handling August 2000: 43-45.12. Ferrando, Tom. ERP Systems Help with Integration. American City & County August 2000: 12.13. Gilbert, Alorie, and Jennifer Mateyaschuk. A Question of Convenience. InformationWeek 21 February2000: 34-36.14. Grove, Robert. Beyond ERP and SCM, Enter the Supply Web. Business Times 14 July 2000.15. Harris, Russ. Customization Versus Standardization: Striking a Balance in ERP Software. Machine Design 20 July 2000: S64-S66.16. Harvey, Steve. How Much for Midrange ERP. Planet IT 27 September 2000, 22 April 2001.17. Hibbler, Fredric. ERP Systems: Worth the Pain. Wireless Week 26 June 2000: 57.18. Hill, Suzette. ERP: Its All in How You View It. Apparel Industry October 2000: 22-26.19. Konicki, Steve. Fast Deployments at a Price. InformationWeek 23 October 2000: 77-83.20. McDonnell, Sharon. Squeezing More Out of ERP Computerworld 2 October 2000: 56-57.21. Mearian, Lucas. CEO: SAP Installation Caused Problems. Computerworld 27 November 2000: 20.22. Osterland, Andrew. Blaming ERP. CFO January 2000: 89-92.23. Palaniswamy, Rajagopal, and Tyler Frank. Enhancing Manufacturing Performance with ERP Systems.Information Systems Management Summer 2000: 43-55.24. Pinkus, Allen L. ERP Systems for Coatings Manufacturers Must Have Grizzly Bear Parameters. Paint& Coatings Industry November 2000: 94-96.25. SAP Solutions. 16 April 2001. .26. Songini, Marc L. Halloween Less Haunting for Hershey This Year. Computerworld 6 November 2000:12.27. Stedman1, Craig. ERP Problems Put Brakes on Volkswagen Parts. Computerworld 3 January 2000: 8.28. Stedman2, Craig. ERP Woes Hit Grainger Again. Computerworld 10 January 2000: 8.29. Turning a Corner. Economist 29 July 2000: 63-64.30. Wah, Louisa. Give ERP a Chance. Management Review March 2000: 20-24.31. Webster, David. Personal Interview. 22 April 2001.32. Wee, Sam. Juggling Toward ERP Success. ERP News 25 February 2001.September 9, 2001.The Review of Business Information Systems Volume 7, Number 344Notes

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