Hidden Pitfalls of Automating Manual Processes during your ERP Implementation

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I love to go into companies and help them eliminate manual processes.   Often the quickest return on ERP investment is from eliminating spreadsheets, Product labels, Manufacturing Travelers, and other manually created documents. 

It seems like a quick and easy payoff – build a report or template pulling fields from MS Dynamics GP and “Voila!” no more need for the time consuming manual document.    But in reality, it often isn’t that simple.  There are some hidden pitfalls.  

Let me tell you a true story to explain.  Background:  This client is implementing MS Dynamics GP Manufacturing.   Production floor staff will be printing product labels, as needed, using the data on the GP item card.  Up until now, product labels were manually produced by the shipping staff ahead of time and brought to the floor for application to the boxes during production.  

Floor Staff:  Hey, this Item Number isn’t correct!  We can’t have  “123456 (ALONE)” on the item label!

Customer Service:  But that is the item number in GP that we put on the orders.   “123456 (ALONE)” is what we have always used.

Shipping staff:   Yeah, that is the item on the shipping paperwork too.   But I have always put just “123456” on the item labels.

I call these “manual on-the-fly” translations.    I have found that EVERY manual system is full of these sorts of hidden translations.  Typically managers and other departments are totally unaware of these “changes” of key data during the manual reporting.   Now, don’t get me wrong, GP has lots of functionality to solve these problems.   (In this case, we used the Generic Description from the Item Card on the product label.)  But it is critical to discover these issues early in your implementation process or…  you will encounter a big giant pitfall during your Go Live when your new report is “wrong”!  

So during your ERP implementation, do look at automating your manual documents, but don’t forget to talk to the people creating the documents about hidden changes to the data. You will thank me later.

By Software Solutions Group, Inc - Upstate New York Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner

1 thought on “Hidden Pitfalls of Automating Manual Processes during your ERP Implementation”

  1. good point. How ever dont' you think its the responsibility of the business analyst to uncover all these hidden translations. also I also get process approved from the managers of each dept.

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