Author Topic: My experience with ERP Software has been awful  (Read 3478 times)

jmechanical

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My experience with ERP Software has been awful
« on: February 09, 2016, 06:08:59 PM »
Does anybody here identify with the subject statement of this thread?

I am a mechanical engineer and have worked in manufacturing for almost 10 years now. I have used three different Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software in that timeframe (Vantage by Epicor, Visual by Infor, and most recently Syteline by Infor) and they are all extremely clunky and difficult to use.

To enter in a Bill of Material (BOM) for a component I need to type shit into over 20 different fields across 7 different screens. These screens all look like shit and have tiny icons or fields in difficult to find locations. There are a bunch of extra fields for shit we never use. I feel like sometimes I spend more time entering in the BOM for a component than I do actually designing the component.

In the current climate of simple free smartphone apps I feel this is completely ridiculous. The fitness software app on my phone is so much more intuitive and has so many analysis tools, it gives me pie charts and trendlines and all these statistics. If I want a graph or statistic of something at work I need to figure out a way to extract the data from Syteline and bring it in to excel to make a chart or calculate something.

I have talked to my IT department about my woes with this software, but they claim their current workload won't allow them to do anything about the shitty ERP software we use.

I mostly just came here to vent. There are a bunch of engineers here on this forum, does anybody feel the way I do?
« Last Edit: February 09, 2016, 06:14:55 PM by jmechanical »

deborah

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Re: My experience with ERP Software has been awful
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2016, 07:02:38 PM »
Before I retired I had a bit to do with ERP software. As well as being clunky, it was all terribly proprietary and expensive. The problem is that the accounts department usually are the ones who dictate what ERP software an organisation has, and they love columns etc. and don't care that the users find it a pain in the neck. And the IT department just has to implement what has been dictated. I'd go to the accounts department.

randymarsh

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Re: My experience with ERP Software has been awful
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2016, 07:06:58 PM »
I think a couple different issues affect ERP and why they have a reputation for being POS.

1. Companies don't train employees. "Here ya go, figure out how to do tasks here that you used do through email, on paper, etc."

2. Companies that use ERP systems are typically large organizations. The culture doesn't encourage "cool" or easy to use software. It encourages compliance, rules based processes, authorization hierarchy, etc.

3. Companies force their custom business processes into off the shelf software. They buy Epicor, but won't buy the extra module or they refuse to change a process to better fit what the software is already set to do.

I did a project in school on ERP systems and I thought Epicor looked like it would be the easiest to use compared to SAP or Oracle. Not really saying much though!

Things are slowly changing. Check out Workday. It's SaaS and looks/functions like a modern web application.

ERP implementations are often ridiculously expensive for mid-size or huge organizations. My textbook had stories of companies spending millions of dollars only to cancel the entire project after 6 months! Or they completed the project...2 years after they planned. So once a solution, any solution, is in place, it tends to stay.


Daley

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Re: My experience with ERP Software has been awful
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2016, 11:37:36 PM »
My personal dalliances with ERP software over the years has steered more towards the FOSS end of the spectrum where I could roll my own server with OpenERP/Odoo, OpenBravo and ERPNext (I liked Odoo the best), and they've always been reasonably useful and not too complicated with the steepest learning curve just getting the org and all the departments initially set up. Never really tried any of the proprietary, overpriced stuff like you've cited, but they sound terrible.

BlueMR2

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Re: My experience with ERP Software has been awful
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2016, 10:09:44 AM »
ERP is a tough problem.  Every company wants things done a different way and there's so much data that needs to be collected.  Buying an ERP product means you've got a hungry new machine that requires constant feeding.  Building your own ERP is nice because you can leave out the stuff you don't care about, but it can be expensive (both in time and money) and you run the risk of missing out on some best practices that you're just not aware of.

I'm both implemented and built ERP systems at various companies...  :-)

AZDude

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Re: My experience with ERP Software has been awful
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2016, 01:10:15 PM »
Quote
I have talked to my IT department about my woes with this software, but they claim their current workload won't allow them to do anything about the shitty ERP software we use.

Management is probably having them do more important things like change the color scheme of the intranet or make all their apps somehow work in both modern browsers and old IE versions that are not even supported by Microsoft anymore. Basically anything where there is either a simple fix(use Chrome, not shitty four year old version of IE) or a fix is not needed(color scheme can stay the same, etc...).

Fixing actual problems and contributing to productivity gains is something we only get to do in our free time or during the summer when management goes on vacation.

Kimara

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Re: My experience with ERP Software has been awful
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2019, 05:40:51 AM »
Just my 2cents.

Installing, updating and maintaing ERP systems is fundamental to many business' operations.

However; they tend to treat it very casually as "it's just software".

Migration and updates are frequently without a full assessment of requirements, resources and objectives, let alone a plan for how to dealwith possible failures. It is a lack of Engineering.

I'm in the muddle (no typo) of an upgrade project where the project manager apparently doesn't have a plan or schedule. At least not one visible to the key players in the project. The project manager's only plan seems to be for eventual blame attribution.

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

The ERP system can only ever be as good as the forethought and diligence put into its selection, implementation and maintenance. Any business that relies on an ERP system must invest a great deal of attention into that system.

brute

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Re: My experience with ERP Software has been awful
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2019, 05:58:30 AM »
I've spent a decent amount of my life making bolt-ons for ERP systems that allow people to just enter what they need to in a simplified screen, then the software takes care of the updates in the background. It's saved companies tens of thousands of man hours. Most screens take about a week to develop. But eventually a new CFO comes in and decides that this custom stuff is stupid and has to go. About 6 months later, we're back to re-building all the stuff because it's the only way to get work done...

Rogue

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Re: My experience with ERP Software has been awful
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2019, 07:16:31 AM »
My experience has been mixed so far - only 5 years experience with the HR side of an ERP, PeopleSoft. I'm at a large company, and they've had PeopleSoft for over 20 years. The bulk of what we use is customized to the point that there were new things coming out that we couldn't use because they changed some foundational parts of the system to fit with their needs at the time.  There was some neat stuff that we were able to build, but our developer team (they handle code/databases/etc., my team is more setup/configuration/requirements/testing) is aging out and they haven't been able to find or train proper replacements in PeopleCode.

We got a new HR Exec a few years ago who wanted us to go through an RFI for a new system. That took about a year, then fizzled, then the HR Exec hired HR Sub-Exec to do the process again but this time include a few other parts of the business to see if we could get multiple areas on one ERP. A year and a half later, we are now about to start the work to implement Workday (HR plus two other major segments). The project is slated to take about a year and a half; HR Sub-Exec said it's "aggressively realistic". There are a number of potential obstacles outside of the project that could end up pushing everything back another 6 months to a year. In total, 4+ years from start to finish.  Before we can start though, we need to figure out how we can get 30-some people across departments from the company and 30-some consultants into the same space for an extended period of time.

Workday certainly looked the part in the demos (so many demos), now we just need to see if we can actually set ourselves up to use it properly.  I'm going to be the one making all the pretty charts and graphs.  HR Sub-Exec has been trying to set our expectations for the implementation work by saying, in a roundabout way, "It's going to suck."

I'm looking forward to learning and adding the experience to my resume so that if my current company doesn't throw money at me during or after implementation (they'll be paying millions for consultants, to randymarsh's point), some other company will as more companies seem to be looking for Workday experience.

To the OP, our overall goal/directive is to make the ERP a good experience for the users, so there's at least one company that's trying to look out for people.  Lot's of "Think about the Employee Experience [waives hands and tosses HR glitter in the air]," like they *just* figured out people like it if you make it easier for them to do their job.

ketchup

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Re: My experience with ERP Software has been awful
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2019, 08:26:39 AM »
We're a Lotus Notes shop.  Yes, in 2019.

If you've used Notes, that's all I have to say. :(

J Boogie

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Re: My experience with ERP Software has been awful
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2019, 08:44:27 AM »
With you on that one. Much of our new product documentation takes place in Lotus Notes and I'm at a F100 company. We just started using outlook 3 years ago, our email was on notes before that.

We have a custom/proprietary ERP for our US region that is totally kickass from a UX and data extraction standpoint. Conversations keep swirling around about our new ERP and I am often worried it'll be harder to use as we have transitioned to SAP in many countries and that is a PITA. But I understand its strictness and uniformity is helpful in the long run.

I work as a packaging analyst, so my work is about 80% BOMs.


Gondolin

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Re: My experience with ERP Software has been awful
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2019, 10:17:07 AM »
Quote
Much of our new product documentation takes place in Lotus Notes and I'm at a F100 company. We just started using outlook 3 years ago, our email was on notes before that.

Sounds like we work(ed) at the same company. Canít be that many F100s who got suckered into signing 20 year contracts with IBM. What hell that was.

kschuck

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Re: My experience with ERP Software has been awful
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2019, 02:01:04 PM »
I actually am an SAP architect for my company, helping transition sites to SAP while also trying to improve processes for sites that are already live. Although I could complain as well about the added complexity/outdated UI, I shouldn't because it certainly helps keep me gainfully employed and on the path to FI :)

Most ERP systems are built to be as compatible to the most amount of companies/industries as possible - meaning loads of useless fields/tables/programs so they can sell as close to an out of the box solution as possible.

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