ABSTRACTThis report covers in detail the implementation of an ERP system by Unilever Plc towards the harmonisation of its global operations. The report narrows down its discussion to the implementation of the ERP system by highlighting the various challenges faced during the implementation process. A methodological approach is adopted towards describing the implementation process step-by-step from feasibility studies to the post implementation stage. Additionally, this report highlights the merits and limitations associated with ERP systems as well as the scope within which the ERP system should be implemented in the organisation.
The complexity of ERP systems render the project implementation task very difficult as it is very vital to understand the system software, business workflow and organisational information needs. This report provides various project management tools that are crucial in directing the project towards the achievement of its objectives. TABLE OF CONTENTS1.0 Project Background2.0 Literature Review2.1 Historical Development of ERP’s2.2 Implementation of the ERP2.3 Risk Factor in ERP Projects3.0 PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLS3.1 CUSTOMER NEEDS ANALYSIS3.2 FEASIBILITY3.3 ACTION PLAN3.4 PROJECT SCHEDULE3.4.1 Milestones3.5 WORK BREAKDOWN STRUCTURE3.6 PROJECT COST3.7 QUALITY CONTROL3.8 RISK MANAGEMENT3.8.1 Risk Identification4.0 ADVANTAGES OF ERP SYSTEMS5.0 LIMITATIONS OF ERP SYSTEMS6.0 DISCUSSIONS6.1 ERP and Competitive Advantage6.2 ERP and Improved Performance6.3 Project Implementation Period6.4 Reasons for Undertaking ERP7.0 SUMMARY8.0 CONCLUSION & RECOMMENDATIONSINTRODUCTIONERP’s within organisation seek to harness information flowing within an organisation towards the realisation of its objectives.
Values, norms and cultures underlying an organisation have to be factored in the adoption of ERP software to protect the organisation culture. On the other hand, the unlocking of the ERP’s information and automation capabilities depends on the quality of implementation and level of integration along the different functional areas.
However, due to the magnitude of the organisation’s operations, the implementation of an ERP project within the organisation has to be carefully planned with set timeframes to ensure efficient resource utilisation. ERP systems are made up of four broad elements namely; software, change management, the customer mind frame and process workflow (Gunasekaran 2007, p21). Apparently, the fifth element, methodology seeks to ensure integrated and systematic implementation of the four elements to ensure harmony. This report seeks to provide a conceptual approach towards understanding the complexity of ERP systems by discussing the various ERP components and their integration.
1.0 PROJECT BACKGROUNDThe adoption of ERP system within the company focuses on the 4P’s marketing model that ensures the sustainability of the revenue streams. Developed in the 1980’s, the initial model that comprised of price, place, product and promotion was extensively used through to the 1990’s but modified to replace the price and promotion with process and performance (Khosrow-Pour 2006, p17). The modified marketing model became a business model that provided the groundwork for the adoption of ERPs within organisations.
As a result of globalization, increased competition is evident among firms operating in the manufacturing sector across the globe. Resultantly, organisations are adapting to the global trend by increasing their competitive edge in order to retain their profit margins. Altekar provides that, towards this end, organisations are working towards ensuring efficient resource utilisation whereby the management seeks to fully utilise the available resources while reducing the costs incurred in production (2006, p48).