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ERP CHANGES THE WAY BUSINESSES OPERATE

It improves productivity guarantees the accuracy of the information

By SHABBIR H. KAZMI
June 30 - July 06, 2003 

The concept of leveraging internal information to improve operational issues and achieve strategic goals is nothing new. But the tools for that effort have never been more robust, and the stakes have never been higher. To not only survive, but to prosper in today's business context as global leaders, executives must correctly anticipate, adapt to, and manage a diversity of shifting market dynamics.

How exactly does one do that? The answer lies in seizing control of what has become the single most powerful resource in business from the 1990's onwards information. Complete, reliable, real-time control of accurate information from across the enterprise lies at the heart of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. But the success of those systems is predicated on the integrity of the data that goes into them. Plotting a course to the successful implementation of a robust ERP system in conjunction with a powerful automated data collection system can be an intricate but revealing process. Its rewards are manifold: increased productivity, enhanced customer satisfaction, better decision making and greater profitability.

The right ERP resource, then, is more than just a smart addition to ERP. It is a mandatory component. Because, without reliable data, every ERP system, no matter how robust, will be deficient at best, a failure at worst. For executives making multi-million dollar decisions about their companies, the mandate is clear align your data collection and ERP implementation decisions proactively.

Recently a company which has had its operations in Pakistan for over 50 years made a critical transition to the ERP; Pepsi Cola International, Pakistan, one of the largest and most successful consumer companies the world over choose Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning Solutions which provided them with a one stop solution for all their process, financials and manufacturing requirements. The challenges Pepsi faced were manifold primary amongst them was that the company was seeking a standardized solution which would in turn reduce reporting time, give them accurate insight of all their process and get consolidated data from their Manufacturing Unit in Hattar (approx. 400 km from Lahore).

Selection of consultants for this project very critical and A.F. Fergusons, a leading IT Consultancy firm in Lahore was appointed as ERP consultants. A.F. Fergusons   provided various trainings for the entire management and the factory personnel in Hattar.  "The consultancy team worked very closely together and the implementation has been a great achievement", said Imtiaz Zaidi, General Manager of Concentrate Operations at Pepsi. He further added that Oracle will be used on-line for all live transactions during all stages of production till the dispatch of products to customers along with complete costing.

What Oracle presented to Pepsi was, single integrated suit of applications; tasks which were done manually are now being done electronically saving a lot of processing time. On the manufacturing front, the ERP solution deployed provided Pepsi with a uniquely configured solution. Since a lot of work went into the manufacturing operations, it is critical to have access to accurate information.  Having the tasks automated not only raised productivity, but also guaranteed the accuracy of the information churned out.

On the financial front, the staff was given three-months training on Oracle Financials, which is a pivotal module. Oracle Financials allows one to consolidate information from any chart of accounts, any calendar, any currency, and any source, at any level of detail in a secure and integrated manner. The biggest difference was in the reporting turn around time from four to three working days.

As the power of the marketplace shifts to the customer, more pressure is placed on the manufacturer to deliver a wider variety of products, of higher quality and in a shorter lead time. In many ways, Enterprise Resource Planning has become the critical element of this highly competitive, technology-driven world. Basically, ERP is multi-module application software that helps a business manage the important parts of supply chain operation - including product planning, parts purchasing, inventory control, interaction with vendors, delivery of customer service, and orders tracking. Finding a way through the maze of technological and operational issues that an ERP raises is a requirement, both for minimizing the vulnerability of the business and for maximizing its investment in such integrated systems. Companies need to realize the importance of the role ERP plays in increased productivity and efficiency.