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ERP - Information Technology
ERP Classes
Failed System Example - The Affordable Care Act


ERP - Information Technology


ERP/MRP systems and VMP are the tools of the new American industrial age. Against all odds, Manufacturing in America is resurging, powered by the discovery of new energy sources, long supply lines, applied technologies, and increased affluence of global competitors. Like all industrial cycles, this one differs from predecessors.

Technology is more advanced and granular. Digital technology is pervasive, with software applications for virtually any real or imagined situation. Systems unable to integrate mobile technology are obsolete. Speed, as always, is a business goal, but speed without quality is waste. Sustainability is an issue affecting every business decision. Process improvement programs must incorporate resource yield/optimization, and viable ERP systems provide deeper structure for planning and managing resources. Strategy and governance define the direction for the business, how it designs, markets, distributes, and acquires the needed assets to buy/make product. ERP systems plan and control the supporting processes, translating objectives into actionable plans, then tracking execution in real-time.

Since its inception, ERP has grown steadily more complicated, robust, and expensive to purchase and install. Comprehensive systems are still available but new approaches provide industry with advanced and in some cases, more simplified solutions, including cloud applications, modularity, and a return to the simple functionality of MRP. ERP/MRP, like manufacturing, presents exciting new applications for achieving excellence.

ERP Classes

ERP Class - Basics

This class was developed and refined over many years. At first, we followed and taught the APICS Certification class. In private industry, to achieve timely and successful implementations, we needed to accelerate training for new ERP users in project environments. The intent is to provide a conceptual base for those working with ERP.

Seminar - One Half Day

Session 1 ERP Lessons Learned - Foundations

Every enterprise has marketing, production, and product realities that provide its shape. This is a critical consideration in defining the best programs to improve the enterprise. This class is for all types of ERP users including manufacturing, distribution, construction, agri-business, and hospitals. Attendees will learn how to differentiate their enterprise type and select software with the right functionality to meets their specific requirements.

In addition, this class covers the games people play, helping the selection team to know when and how to ask the right questions.

Seminar - One Half Day

Session 2 ERP Lessons Learned - Structured Process

Selecting and installing Enterprise Software requires a structured process. Enterprises have been installing ERP systems for forty years but continue to repeat mistakes. This approach establishes one methodology. This class is for those embarking on a mission critical ERP program. Attendees will learn a structured methodology for software selection and implementation.

Seminar - One Half Day

Session 3 ERP Lessons Learned - Executive Overview

Successful software selection requires an involved and knowledgeable executive staff. This session is for Boards of Directors, Executive Management, Middle Managers, and Project managers. Participants will learn the critical actions that executive management must perform to facilitate the effort and lead to each success.

Presentation - One Hour



Failed System Example - The Affordable Care Act

A prime example of failed enterprise systems is the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare or the ACA). The Federal Government spent more than $500 million developing an on-line system for CMS, the governmental agency managing the ACA. The systems failed for reasons frequently encountered on ERP projects.

The finger pointing for ACA problems was pervasive, primarily aimed towards technical systems aspects, but deeper problems surfaced. Issues covered the full spectrum, including strategic, technical, and operational.

The program violated multiple project management protocols. The mission was deceptive while the strategies contained the seeds of failure. No one read the plan before authorization. The program, lacking buy-in by the majority of the users, was packaged and sold using nearly fraudulent rhetoric, while lacking transparency. Worse, leadership was missing in action. These were conditions before, during, and after the design, preparation, and implementation of the technical aspect of the project.

The selection of the software provider was political, and not subject to competitive bidding.

The ACA was 2700 pages converted to systems/software specifications. A constant flow of new/changed regulations prevented freezing specifications. The systems architecture was reportedly old school. Multiple contractors split the project, adding communications problems and more confusion. A political decision to implement ignored failures of end-to-end testing, lack of load testing, changes in the landing page, inadequate security, and advice of the technical people. One point to remember - it is impossible to build a functional technical information system on unsound premises.

This failed system, even if made functional, will send negative economic and structural shockwaves through every system for years, with quality of health care and personal implications. There will be winners and losers, but patient care is at greatest risk.

The ACA systems breakdown is a highly visible example of frequent failed systems projects. No business segment is immune, and the root causes extend across all industries. Preventing debacles of this type are the precise reason for writing our books, each with a very specific purpose.

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