In our March 31, 2016 post we discussed how the tool set known as Six Sigma can help firms save a lot of money by enabling continuous improvement throughout their production (and other) processes. We noted then that by utilizing Six Sigma’s tools to reengineer your business processes to the highest standard (of lowest defects) you can then let those processes drive your ERP implementation. In other words, you let your business drive your ERP software, rather than the other way around.
Today we thought we’d enlist some added Six Sigma input from our friends at Panorama Consulting, whose President Eric Kimberling wrote a recent post describing a few key ways that Six Sigma can increase ERP benefits realization. These include:
Six Sigma supports a broader business transformation beyond ERP software. Notes Kimberling, “The most successful ERP software initiatives are those that are managed more as business transformations rather than technology initiatives.” By beginning an ERP implementation with clearly defined and well-designed business processes – a hallmark of Six Sigma initiatives – you allow your business to drive your ERP software implementation.
Six Sigma provides the performance measures required for any successful change initiative. Here Panorama reminds us: “It’s widely known that if you don’t measure it, you won’t achieve it. Unfortunately, too many organizations neglect to define the specific performance measures and metrics that will be used to drive and manage business benefits moving forward.”
Six Sigma makes for a faster and cheaper ERP implementation. While it may sound counterintuitive, the fact is “having clearly defined business processes up front avoids much of the ambiguity, inefficiency and ineffectiveness common in most ERP implementations.”
Six Sigma enables effective organizational change management. Says Kimberling, “Not much helps enable organizational change management, training and employee communications as much as the tangible business processes and performance measures afforded by Six Sigma tools. Well-engineered business processes, thorough process documentation and clear performance metrics all help drive adoption and accountability.”
The process improvements and the ‘leaning out’ that come as the direct benefits of Six Sigma (as defined and discussed in our earlier post here) are the very same thinking companies need to apply to early-stage ERP implementation. Whether you hear that message from us, or Panorama, or anyone else, it’s a message worth careful consideration.