With increasing competitiveness in the aerospace market, senior management at Bombardier felt that moving to an ERP system was necessary. This new integrated system would allow efficiency and effectiveness throughout all operations.
These large systems are very complex and often result in a performance that is below expectations. In the early 2000's, Bombardier underwent multiple rounds of ERP implementation, the first of which, was thrown out mid-way after $130million had already been spent. Bombardier then hired a consulting team to help get senior leadership on board and create a project plan, which was wen Bombardier Manufacturing Information System (BMIS) was born and soon after, successfully implemented the integrated manufacturing system in two plants.
With the improvements of the Mirabel and Saint-Laurent plants, Bombardier would like to further analyze their implementation efforts and look at a Best Practices approach to ERP implementation in order to enhance their project. Understanding how a Best Practices approach could assist with an even more successful round of ERP implementation will help senior management evaluate their situation.
The first work in order in a Best Practice approach to the ERP implementation would be to define clear goals and objectives. A new ERP system will affect many different departments and business processes in many different ways. It is vital to establish goals and objectives, along with a strong management support, if Bombardier would like to achieve the overall goal.
The second best practice is ensuring that you are choosing the right software. Software must match the organization's informational needs, process, functional requirements and workflow. After much consulting, Bombardier chose to use SAP and implement the BMIS system for manufacturing facilities as management felt it was the best option for the organization.
Another best practice is to prepare for business transformation. Completely changing the way information flows throughout an organization is going to, in turn, change the roles of employees and business processes. During the ERP implementation, Bombardier must dedicate time and resources to change management. They must establish a clear process to help workers though the ERP implementation.
In order for business transformation to go smoothly, there must be training and support resources. A new ERP system requires highly qualified consultants who are experienced in implementation and training at any time when a problem or question arises.
Bombardier will also need to create a concise implementation plan and timeline. A critical part of implementing an ERP system is deciding the steps and when and how to overcome each step. Deciding to switch over to a new system during critical periods of business may be detrimental to the organization.
Lastly, Bombarier will need to allocate the necessary resources financially, managerially, and with training and change management.
The transition with the ERP implementation at the Saint-Laurent plant went significantly smoother than the transition at the Mirabel plant. This is because Bombardier made the necessary changes with process, management, clearer goals, and better training. The mistakes made during Maribel were corrected and executed smoothly at Saint-Laurent, and with each implementation, the process can constantly be improved.
Some were not as eager to implement the new project as the VP of Operations at the Maribel plant. Attendance at meetings were dwindling and IT was complaining about the lack of information for training materials. When implementing at the Saint Laurent plant, Bombardier plant managers were much more involved. Their intense involvement resulted in a clearer vision and increased motivation and understanding. Employees were provided with visual aids/presentations that convinced employees that there was a need for change and should be used at during every implementation from this point forward. These presentations described how Bombardier was doing in relation to its' competitors and how the new ERP system will improve the company and its' profits.
The proper training was also not implemented during the Maribel implementation. Training was insufficient too far in advanced prior to implementation and employees could not remember everything they had learned when the BMIS system was launched. At the Saint-Laurent plant, training was re-vamped and employees were more satisfied, however, both plant employees felt that support left too soon after implementation. For the next implementation, Bombardier should ensure support to be available for an extended period after the system goes live.
I think gaining the employees trust and agreeance is vital to the success of any project and should not be taken lightly. Keeping them up with training and changes will only positively contribute to the bottom line, morale, and work ethic.