“I’ve had results with Lean but Corporate pushes ERP. Any advice?” | LEI | Michael Ballé

Question:  “I’m the head of a business unit and have had visible results with lean. Yet, my corporate colleagues refuse to acknowledge this and want to force their ERP and purchasing practices on my division. This is very frustrating – any advice?”

Answer: “I certainly understand (and share) your frustration and, unfortunately, I don’t really have useful advice[…] No easy answers”

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.lean.org

Michel Baudin‘s comments:

Ballé then follows up the non-advice with a 1,079-word essay where, among other developments, he equates the use of ERP with colonialism, leading to the conclusion that there are no easy answers.

Let us assume that the question is from a real manager in a real situation, in a position to make choices with real consequences for his or her career as well as for the company. It deserves an answer.

Following are a few different courses of action that I would recommend for consideration:

  1. Take charge. After pondering the specifics of the ERP initiative, you may conclude that it is in fact not just about planning but is instead a worthwhile effort to upgrade the company’s information technology (IT) overall, based on genuine needs. In this case, you want to get involved at the highest possible level. The best Chief Information Officers (CIO) are not always IT professionals; often operations managers’ understanding of requirements and leadership skills trump IT knowledge. Telltale signs are that you and your peers are consulted upfront, and that the implementation plan, including vendor selection, is not prejudged.
  2. Wait it out. If your judgment is that the corporate ERP initiative is hopelessly flawed, that the company is strong enough to recover from it, and that you want to stay, you acquiesce and do your utmost to prevent it undoing what you have achieved, and until this, too, passes. Such initiatives are often the straight implementation of an all-in-one “solution” sold by a software vendor to executives with no manufacturing background.
  3. Leave. If you feel that the ERP initiative will damage your quality of life for the next two years, and result in a disaster for the company that you might be blamed for, prepare to leave. If you have other opportunities outside the company, take them.

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