Today we are faced with the decision of which enterprise systems provider should Harley Davidson (HD) select. We understand from the case that HD is at the pinnacle of launching a major supply chain restructuring initiative. Over the course of two years, a cross-functional team has been involved in mapping existing processes and clearly outlining a go-forward strategy. Two points we cannot argue are: one, the team has established a clear supply chain vision based on fact and logic and two, the system implementation is absolutely critical if SMS is going to be a success. It is therefore extremely important HD select a partner that will spend the appropriate time on training, has the right functionality and will integrate with HD
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Once I was sure each provider had essentially the same functionality I would shift all my attention to the soft skills, such as culture, training, support. By making the soft skills the tie-breaker, we are putting more weight on the fact the provider is going to deliver against their “functional promise”. It is easy to get roped into great functionality, but functionality is useless if the staff doesn’t know how the system works or the project isn’t delivered on time, or the provider isn’t there for post-production support.
My argument to senior management would start off with the hurdles we face, which are 1. “Trying to convince somebody to change their processes and procedures” and 2. “HD’s natural proclivity to continuously improve”. It is therefore more important that the provider is able to integrate with HD’s staff than provide flawless systems functionality. As such, it is my recommendation HD selects Provider 1 supported by the following facts.
1. Offers functionality on par with providers 2 & 3
a. Short on web-functionality but they have a solution for that and are willing to work with us
2. They “clearly acknowledge Harley Davidson’s values” (pg 11). Provider 1 understands that their system is not the silver bullet HD needs, rather, it is a piece of the puzzle that needs to be integrated within the HD culture. That said, it is my impression provider 1 will work with staff