ERP Journey: Atop the Peak of ERP Integration, North Coast Looks Back

Recently a large North Coast customer told one of our salesmen that he was going to give us a week's vacation to "get things right." He didn't need to add that it would be an unpaid vacation. Fumbled customer service during the week after our new ERP system went live was the one thing we had feared most. We also received customer compliments on our Web commerce site and expressions of understanding such as, "You guys are doing a lot better than a competitor who recently went through an ERP conversion." Still, the negative customer feedback rings in my ears.

The week after go-live resembles a newborn colt just getting up on its legs. Logically we couldn't measure our success by one statement or even one wobbly week. But after 26 months and tens of thousands of hours of analysis, development, implementation and training, our customer's comment made me reflect on what we have accomplished.

Two years ago, we decided to replace our 20-year-old legacy system. It was increasingly unable to meet the demands of our customers and vendors, and it was in danger of being orphaned by new owners of the company.

Its replacement had to allow us to cut costs, react profitably to business opportunities and improve customer service. We needed a vendor partner that would endure.

This was first published in November 2006

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