ERP introduction in logistics (Röhlig)

An ERP implementation is always a challenge whose impact on the organization and employees should not be underestimated

An ERP implementation is always a challenge. In order to anchor the lived world in future digital processes, organizations, processes and working methods must be rethought and introduced while the existing ERP is still in use and the new one is often not yet available.

Living "between the worlds" is a multiple burden for everyone involved. And it is not uncommon for the chosen ERP technology to be a stumbling block for the goals set.

In this specific case, we were asked to conduct a review of issues that had been identified as critical shortly before the rollout of an SAP TMS solution.

Procedure in the project

Following a detailed situation analysis and the identification of fundamental "showstoppers" as well as previously unidentified alternative solutions, we used a roadmap to prepare the fields of action and specific decision options and explained them to the management team.

As part of further stakeholder discussions, the fields of action were prioritized on the basis of the prepared decision papers and specific implementation projects were decided, staffed and launched.

Beyond the scope of the pure ERP implementation, unused potential in the areas of enterprise application integration, enterprise data model and analytics was identified and addressed for later implementation.

We were also able to identify new business potential as part of the analyses, which we were able to develop as part of further mandates.

What makes an ERP implementation challenging?

The introduction of an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system in logistics can cause a number of problems, including:

  1. Complexity: Logistics departments work with a variety of systems and processes, including transportation management, inventory control, supplier management and invoicing. The introduction of a new ERP system can increase complexity as new processes and systems need to be integrated.
  2. Data quality: An ERP system is only as good as the data it processes. If the data quality is poor, this can lead to incorrect stock levels, inaccurate delivery dates and poor customer service. The introduction of a new ERP system can affect data quality, as data from old systems has to be transferred and interpreted in a new way.
  3. Training: The introduction of a new ERP system often requires extensive training of employees to ensure that they can use the system effectively. This can be time-consuming and expensive and can affect productivity during the implementation phase.
  4. Integration: An ERP system must be integrated with the logistics department's existing systems, including WMS (Warehouse Management System), TMS (Transportation Management System) and SCM (Supply Chain Management). Poor integration can result in data not being synchronized, leading to errors in inventory management and delivery.
  5. Costs: Implementing an ERP system can be expensive, especially if customized solutions are required. Maintaining and updating the system can also incur additional costs.
  6. Changes to business processes: The introduction of a new ERP system may also require changes to the logistics department's business processes. These changes can be time-consuming and have a negative impact on employees who have to adapt to the new processes.

It is important to consider these challenges when implementing an ERP system in logistics and ensure that the benefits of the system justify the costs and difficulties of implementation.