“When you bring in professional help up front, you win right out of the gate.”
When you commit to this mindset from the beginning of your JD Edwards implementation process, you’re guaranteed to reap the benefits of professional expertise, skills, and experience long after your initial enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementation project is complete.
Read on to get the low-down of how one of our JD Edwards Financial Management consultants navigated complex JD Edwards implementations across company divisions and helped their core team maximize JD Edwards (JDE) functionality.
The Client in Need
Our client, a government-contracted manufacturing company, acquired another business unit that still relied on an outdated legacy system to manage their workforce operations. Following the acquisition, our client was in need of a professional who could not only help them navigate internal JD Edwards EnterpriseOne implementations, but one who could also configure the system in a way that set them up for success across business departments over time.
At one of the company’s locations, the Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne system was leveraged to keep track of financial statements, documentation, and data. At the acquired company’s site, employees relied on an outdated system that continually lost track of important financial information. The client needed a way to integrate the two systems without compromising the structural and functional integrity of each separate business division. They needed help, and they needed it fast.
The Expert Consultant
Our consultant, a JD Edwards Financial Management guru, was the perfect fit for the job. First, his calm, cool, and collected demeanor brought a wave of peace among the employees and helped them see the “bigger picture” in all the implementation and integration chaos. And, his extensive industry knowledge and more than 25 years of experience in JD Edwards implementations, including business process analysis, design, and configuration, made him a shoo-in for this project.
“I’m in the trenches with you. Implementations like this require me to lock elbows with the project team to get the job done.”
This client-first mindset is what leads our consultant to success time after time, regardless of the size, scope, or scale of the project at hand. His comprehensive JD Edwards experience in areas such as inventory, purchasing, manufacturing, and sales order processing make him the perfect fit for any JDE project. And, our consultant remains committed to the client from the first day of the project to the last, documenting processes, designing solutions, and filling in any technical or functional gaps along the way.
Main Phases of JDE Implementation Methodology
Our consultant knows one thing for sure.. If you don’t plan for success, you’ll never reach your full potential. And, while that could be applicable to many different industries, occupations, or areas of life in general, he approaches it from a financial planning perspective.
Here’s a look into the stages of planning for JDE implementations he outlined for this client:
- Gather required materials: This step requires gathering necessary requirements for the project (i.e., documents, financial statements, and other data), meeting with company leadership to outline business objectives for the project, and understanding how financial reporting is done. These tasks must be completed before the consultant can outline the project phases.
- Outline design structure: Outlining the design structure involves considering both the design of the project itself and the overall organizational structure, including new departments or employee roles. By allowing key leaders to give input and explaining the full project design, employees, managers, and company executives are able to “buy in” to the project and their systems.
- Design project objectives: This step involves using previous financial statements and important data to design departments, charts of accounts, and overall reporting structure.
- Brief project teams: After the project design process is complete, the consultant now needs to brief their project management team so they know what to expect when the start date rolls around (i.e., project size and scope, employee participation, project objectives, etc).
How Did Our Consultant Solve Project Challenges?
Lack of Business Participation
Lack of ERP software ownership and mismatched priorities were two main issues our consultant faced throughout this project. In order for the whole project team to succeed, each department needs to take ownership of the ERP solution, work with other departments outside of their own, and continue doing their daily jobs in the process. But, this was not the case for much of the client’s project lifecycle.
Our consultant navigated this issue by first building relationships with JDE system users to understand their job duties and typical schedules. Once he understood things from the user perspective, he then did everything he could to align key meetings and trainings with their schedules to ensure all necessary users were present.
Maneuvering through an acquisition and a new JDE implementation is no simple feat…for any project management team. But, with the help of our consultant and his proven methodology for project success, this client found a way.
Our consultant first realized that “finance is not limited to just finance.”
He quickly recognized that understanding how financial management practices relate to all other company departments is critical to overall success. With this, he used JDE interoperability tools (aka “z-files”) within each module (i.e., sales, distribution, purchasing, etc.) to make data conversion between systems and departments easier. He also built customized conversion files to create menus and reports that properly fit the client’s business needs.
He then worked with the inventory costing and purchasing departments to move off of a weighted average cost (WAC) system to a standard cost system to simplify costing and process standardization in the JDE system. With two divisions previously operating on different ERP software, our consultant had his work cut out for him when it came to building and navigating system functionality.
Our consultant also made sure users knew 1) where to go to pull transaction data, 2) how to look at the data, 3) how to create distribution and pivot tables within JDE, 4) how to run reports using CSV format, and 5) how to leverage JDE functionality to get the job done. Once the users realized they weren’t losing all Excel functionality to the new JD Edwards system, they were on board.
Navigation of Remote Work
On one hand, remote work made it easier for team members to put their heads down and get to work on their individual project tasks. But, on the other, it also made users comfortable with being “here but not here” on team video calls and meetings.
Our consultant combatted this issue by asking specific questions and requiring engagement from members on each call to ensure people were actually present. He also set up and participated in meetings with many different areas and teams within the company to ensure that 1) everyone was doing their job properly, 2) the project was going according to plan, and 3) company operations were cohesive and integrated among divisions and departments.
Internal Power Struggle
As is the case in most large organizations, the overall company culture struggles sometimes, especially when power struggles are present between users, system administrators, and company executives. In a case like this one, our consultant oftentimes had to “lay down the bridge and let them walk over it” to help get users on the same page.
His methodology remained the same regardless of if he was putting out fires between individual users, managers, or higher-level executives. He stayed committed to building relationships, finding out what they were struggling with, and showing them a better way — all without using a “trump card” or bringing in higher-level personnel right out of the gate.
Tips and Tricks for Consultant Success
- Slow to judge, quick to solve.
- Building relationships early maintains trust down the road.
- Find out what the client is doing and show them a better way to do it.
- Show, don’t just tell.
- Have a goal to learn something new with each project.
- Maintain an open mind, no matter what.
- Lean on internal employees to combat difficult employee situations.
- Always put the client’s needs before your own.
Getting Started with Our Consultants
Need help implementing JD Edwards in your organization? Our team of consultants (like this one) has you covered. Just need an extra hand optimizing business processes within your new JDE ERP system? They can handle that too.
Your company. Your needs. Our expertise. That’s the name of the game at Surety Systems.
Contact us today to learn more about our JD Edwards implementation services and get started with one of our top-notch consultants.