How Manufacturing ERP Software is like a NFL Football Season
In honor of the football season coming to a close (Go Niners!), I wanted to take a moment and reflect on the components that make up the best football teams. The key factors that make a winning team successful, and push them all the way to the coveted Super Bowl title, are surprisingly similar to the considerations you need when preparing and running your manufacturing ERP software. Let’s take a look at what I mean:
Let’s consider the football preseason equivalent to the time when you test out an update to your current ERP system or install a whole new ERP software solution. The point of a preseason is to get to know what is new with your “team” and practice how the new team members (aka business processes) fit together into your current organization.
In preseason, the coaches try new schemes and plug in new players to see what works well and what needs improving, just as manufacturers try different BOM configurations, input new data and try out different business processes.
In the preseason, you are also evaluating the talent (your staff) and how it all gels together as you progress down the implementation ladder. Are the individual players buying into the team culture and philosophy? Have any of the players shown leadership skills? Are you using the experience of the veterans to nurture those coming up? Who needs to be given more time and attention later (who needs additional ERP training)? Plus the difficult decision of who gets cut and who to develop further.
And what are the team goals beyond simply, "We want to go to the Super Bowl?" What is the plan to help your team reach those goals?
Then there is the regular season, after you’ve gone live with your ERP software or the newest update, where it is time to perform and continue to improve, evolving perhaps as new members of the team come up to speed. It’s all a learning process and an opportunity to put what you learn into an actual game. There may be a new head coach or other new members of the coaching staff as time goes on. Certainly there will be new rookie players and possibly free agents coming in that need time to adjust.
In the grand scheme of doing business in today’s global manufacturing environment, what does your regular season schedule look like? Are there ebbs and flows in your sales cycle? How many road games are back to back? What about your competitors? You certainly have a high level of competition in the NFL, but some are clearly ahead of others. How do you game plan for this?
I could go on and on with this football analogy, but let me get to the point. ERP software implementation and execution is similar in all the above points. It is about creating goals and objectives. It is about having a plan to reach those goals and objectives. It is about putting your company in a position to beat the competition and get to the top while remaining profitable. Using inadequate equipment or processes is detrimental to your business culture and the team suffers!
Most success stories have this in common: They plan to succeed, not fail. They do the right things for the right reasons. Magic can sometimes work for you, but more often than not, you (and your football team) are only as good as your preparation allows.