After finding that their current ERP vendor could not support Edmund Optics expanded requirements, Jeff Harvey knew they would need to go outside for an ERP system. More importantly, he recognized that he would need an outside consultant to analyze Edmund Optics needs, and guide them in the selection of an ERP system and vendor. Harvey had a relationship with the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP), a sister organization to DVIRC. NJMEP referred him to DVIRC and Harry Landsburg, DVIRC’s director of business process technology consulting. “We had a high level of faith in Harry’s ability,” notes Harvey, “His knowledge of ERP systems was impressive, and he had an understanding of manufacturing that many consultants could not have delivered. Just as importantly, we knew he would be objective.”
Landsburg developed a full analysis of Edmund Optics’ business processes, documenting both the current state of processes and ERP support, as well as the required future state. To do so, he conducted in-depth interviews with key employees, sitting at each individual’s desk to observe, first hand, their interactions with the existing ERP system.
A fully detailed Business Process Narrative was created, presenting Landsburg’s analysis of the existing computing infrastructure, including the computing environment, network and email capabilities, servers, user accounts, database software, desktop operating systems, software and hardware, ERP system users and applications.
Improvements to Edmund Optics’ software-supported business processes were recommended, including system-wide enhancements to database report writing, auditing, workflow, and ERP integration with sales processes, catalog data, and the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Additionally, recommendations were made for enhancing related financial, operational and transactional processes.
These recommendations were accompanied by details on the software capabilities necessary to achieve them, and the future state benefits that Edmund Optics would like to obtain from an upgraded ERP system. These future-state expectations covered everything from product development to catalog and website management, marketing and communications, call center/order entry systems, quotations, compliance, inventory and demand forecasting, inventory optimization, purchasing, manufacturing workflow monitoring and reporting, assembly/packaging, quality assurance, budgeting/forecasting/costing, accounts receivable/payable, human resources and foreign location integration.
Landsburg identified vendors with the capabilities to support the Edmund Optics ERP upgrade, and sent each vendor the full documentation of the company’s current- and future-state processes and software requirements. Four vendors were selected to participate in a Round One evaluation at Edmund Optics. Landsburg then assembled a team of 15 hand-selected employees to serve on the evaluation team.
After viewing the vendor presentations, Landsburg moderated an offsite discussion and blind ballot to narrow down the vendor choices. “Harry acted as a moderator and referee in these discussions,” noted Harvey. “He was phenomenal in helping us look at things from every angle, and in remaining objective throughout.”
Two vendors were brought back to Edmund Optics for two full days of demos, using Edmund Optics’ own sample data to provide a realistic view of system capabilities and functionality. Forty Edmund Optics employees were involved in evaluating the ERP systems. To assure that Edmund Optics’ foreign facilities were involved in the decision-making process, Landsburg videotaped the presentations and made DVDs available to the managers in other countries. A vote was taken among all evaluators, and with the approval of the CEO and core oversight team, SAP All-in-One for High Tech Manufacturing was chosen.
Before committing to SAP, Landsburg helped Edmund Optics to ascertain that SAP could fully support foreign operations. He coordinated onsite visits by Edmund- Optics staff to foreign customers of SAP to gauge the level of SAP support. Once fully vetted, Edmund Optics committed to SAP.