/ Feierabend:digital #12 – Hurdles in digitization projects: Exchange of experience on the introduction of a new ERP system

Feierabend:digital #12 – Hurdles in digitization projects: Exchange of experience on the introduction of a new ERP system

The twelfth “Feierabend:digital” on March 31, 2022, revolved around stumbling blocks in digitization projects. Sebastian Jung, partner manager at weclapp, and Sören Schneider, managing director of the textile manufacturer CorpoTex, talked about such hurdles when introducing a new ERP system – finally back in person. The hybrid format of the event allowed those interested to participate virtually via a live stream as well. Also on board were Mathias Koch from the J+P Gruppe as co-moderator and Mark Pralle, CEO of Fabrik19. As always, the event was kindly supported by the J+P Gruppe and mittelhessen.digital.

The benefits of an ERP system

The term ‘ERP system’ (Enterprise Resource Planning System) refers to business software that covers various areas in the company. From logistics and marketing to merchandise management and financial accounting, such software can be used to plan, control and manage personnel and resources, for example. Thus, there are various submodules, which makes the topic quite complex. From reports about Lidl, Otto or Deutsche Post, one may already know that the introduction of a (new) ERP system can be quite problematic, states Sebastian Jung. This problem is not only reserved for companies of this size, but could also easily affect SMEs.

Increasing frustration in the team

“Depending on which study you believe, two thirds of the projects fail when introducing these systems,” Jung continued. Luckily, the introduction was successful at their customer, CorpoTex from Lahnau. However, they also experienced some hurdles. In order to make this clearer, Sören Schneider started explaining from the very beginning. CorpoTex, which was founded in 2011, opted for a very common, well-known ERP system right from the start. This decision was made in order to find the lowest common denominator with suppliers, for example, and to simplify cooperation.

For the time being, this worked well, Schneider remarked. Bus as the company continued to grow, challenges arose that this system could no longer solve satisfactorily. In particular, working from home was a major problem as access from home could not be guaranteed because of the terminal servers used at that time, which had single-user licenses. The strongly individualized character and the limited update capability of the software proved to be additional problem areas. “In the long run, this inevitably leads to frustration,” Schneider clarified.

The right partner makes the difference

Unsatisfactory customer support finally led to the decision to look for a new, more innovative ERP system. Schneider found out about weclapp through a friend’s recommendation, he recalled. After a needs analysis, CorpoTex placed particular emphasis on a cloud-based and intuitively usable system. The more standardized weclapp software fulfills these points, can also be tailored to individual needs and is at the same time more adaptable and cheaper than other systems, explained Jung. In addition, the software is not limited in terms of the connection of interfaces.

All this enables a comparatively quick and uncomplicated introduction and leads to an overall lower maintenance and training effort for the respective company. Nevertheless, many companies still shy away from this step and stick with older systems for fear of a lengthy and complicated implementation phase, explained Jung. Mark Pralle called it a “major lock-in effect” that is caused by media reports, among other things, and that leads companies to stay with older systems. “The right partner is crucial here,” Schneider concluded, and assured that he had found that partner in weclapp.

The quality of master data and five major hurdles

Something that was particularly noticeable during the changeover was the importance of properly maintained master data, said the two speakers. Initially, unclean master data would probably not be notices, but at the latest during order processing and delivery, problems would often arise that could have been avoided, according to Schneider. Jung pointed out the importance of detailed process documentation at this point. He concludes by summarizing the conversation into five major potential hurdles:

  1. Status quo (What is the current status? What are the starting conditions of the company?)
  2. Examination of and decision for one of the ca. 500 ERP systems on offer
  3. Quality of master data
  4. Process documentation & creation of standards
  5. Sparring partners who can review the existing approach and identify opportunities for optimization

With pizza and an after-work beer, the participants then ended the evening with interesting discussions.

Our guest of the evening weclapp posted an article about this topic as well. If you are interested, you can read it here.

Save the date

As always, we invite you to the next “Feierabend:digital” event. The 13th event will take place on May 19th and revolve around the topic “Hybrid work – opportunities between office, home office and third places”. We will communicate further information about the upcoming event in a timely manner.

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