This month’s Industry Week’s Manufacturing Business Challenge discusses a manufacturer of commercial and industrial lighting fixtures that embarked on an enterprise wide software implementation. Need I say more?
Our very own, Monique Rupert (vice president of professional services) offered her solution to the case-study challenge. And to our great delight, so did Kevin Hume, a principal at Tompkins Associates. Does the following situation sound familiar?
One year ago my company embarked on an enterprise wide implementation, selecting an ERP system and a suite of software to address our primary business functions. This decision was not made lightly. Lestornia Lighting is a $120 million manufacturer of commercial and industrial lighting fixtures and components (e.g., sockets, lampholders, wiring harnesses, reflectors).
We've grown incrementally over the past two decades, and our business practices and processes — and the information technology (IT) that supports them — has grown piece by piece as well. I finally concluded that the Frankenstein IT infrastructure we had cobbled together needed to be destroyed. Now I greatly regret my decision. Literally from the outset of our enterprise implementation, the scope of functionality, customizations, and departments and personnel engaged in the effort have spread like wildfire.
Lestornia expected to be operating with our new systems six months ago; now we cannot get a projected date for when we will hit the switch. The escalation of costs specific to software licensing and the implementation have blown beyond anything I'd ever imagined. And with the infectious spread of applications and department-specific functionality and customization, our training and maintenance costs are doubling by the day.
I swear that every person in the company is working on this system and software implementation in some way or another, and no one is focused on making lighting products or focused on our customers. I am afraid that this project will, quite simply, kill Lestornia before we ever see a dime of return from our investment. How can we subdue the new monster we've created?
Share your stories of hard lessons learned...