Whirlpool's Troubled Enterprise Resource Planning Implementation

1137 Words Dec 3rd, 2011 5 Pages
The trend to successfully implement enterprise resource planning systems (ERP) has resulted in companies investing millions of dollars, only to find out business performance did not improve. Whirlpool, one of the largest home appliance manufacturers learned the harsh consequences of SAP ERP project failure. The company suffered delays in shipping products in the United States contributed by the decision to ignore the red flags, inadequate testing, adherence to the schedule, and an unprepared supply chain. This study will examine why the implementation of an ERP system is not a complete solution and provide recommendations to avoid ERP failure.
Key words: enterprise resource planning (ERP), process-thinking, integration,
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Whirlpool blames record sales and the implementation of new software for the shipping delays.
Whirlpool failed to acknowledge the red flags of the two-batch-processing transactions that were taking too long to feed into the decision support database and customer service system. Whirlpool should have taken the early warning signs into careful consideration approaching going live. The company looked too functionally at the implementation; the problems should have been viewed using a process-oriented perspective. Process-thinking would have evaluated how the problems affect not only one part of the process, but the whole supply chain; most importantly the customers. This decision should not been considered in isolation (Monk & Wagner 2006). Other red flags to pay close attention to include:
• No milestones. Key implementation deliverables and milestones are needed to measure progress.
• Missed milestones and deadlines that are repeatedly missed shows a lack of discipline.
• Shifting priorities and specification affects the project’s time-frame, cost, and risk.
• Infrequent or weak executive sponsorship.
• Staff turnover that is repeated may cause doom for the project.
• Poor incident management and spotty reporting will eventually escalate.

Timing and preparation are critical to the success of a project. Jeff Zimmerman, SAP’s senior vice president of customer

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