The cases of Harley Davidson and Bombardier show how both the process of selecting IT systems and software and how the implementation of them can be done. They represent good examples of how careful and methodical approach to decision making can generate efficiency and savings. They also outline several factors that should be considered in the decision making and development processes.
1. The organization has evolved through multiple Merger & Acquisitions (M&A) and operates in a silo architecture phase. Bombardier’s facilities employ disjointed processes and consequently switching from one to the other is not an easy task. It was particularly a major issue when Bombardier would ...view middle of the document...
Therefore, it was a prudent decision to undertake a capital heavy expenditure and integrate the organization as ‘one company’, according to the Bombardier’s vision. A unified company is better able to grow as it is able to manage a lot of earlier data inconsistencies and importantly joins the units together with a common strategic business goal by disseminating and standardizing it over a system that pervades the entire organization.
2. The major problem in the first implementation was the ineffective change management practice followed. The stakeholder communication about the ERP system was not managed properly. There was no shared ownership or strategic alignment of the employees to the vision of the company in implementing this system. The employees were not clearly communicated the reasons for getting this ERP system at Bombardier. While some perceived that it would make life easy, others were skeptical. Managers did not show enthusiasm for the project and in many cases, even abdicated their responsibility to propagate the vision and passed this crucial task to the operational level employees. Some stakeholders amongst employees perceived the project to be a top-down initiative and felt disconnected with the broader vision of streamlining the inventory management, which in fact would have positively affected them. Delays further derailed the projects. Business teams and the project teams did not work with a common objective.
Change management was crucial to success at this stage. To get the people and systems to the desired end states, power users, responsible for training, had to overcome shortcoming in the established training. The increased waiting times decreased the employee participation as there were no clear answers to an unfamiliar system. It also threatened those who feared that they would not be able to integrate with the new processes and feared for their positions. The structure of the training was also inconveniently designed for the employees. It created conflicts with their daily schedules and the inconvenience led to absence and a further disconnect from its utility to their work life. Lastly, the roll out was a hurried affair. The company continued to detect major issues even a long period of 9 months into system implementation. The execution and monitoring and control was not effective and hence it led to the project itself being perceived as a flawed entity, by the stakeholders.
3. The second phase was executed more efficiently as compared to the first phase. The reasons can be attributed to the thrust given by the top management in overseeing the implementation. The Vice-President was instrumental in meetings and user sessions. It helped the employees get confidence about the seriousness of the effort that the management is putting in. The participating delegates in the project were given sufficient authority by the management to be contributive towards the final goal. They were also aware of the entire...