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This consists of defining the critical business requirements and project success factors that establish an organization's objectives. Once this is defined the organization will be ready to begin the process of evaluating software alternatives and administering the entire selection project. Evaluating software tools without defined business requirements leads to duplicate efforts and ultimately a solution that could delay the selection and implementation process (How to choose software: six steps to better selection, 1999).
If a company's purchasing strategy doesn't include the newest information technology, they are likely to trail competitors that leverage these latest methods. But they must be careful before jumping into new state-of-the-art purchasing software. Improperly implementing new supply-chain programs, or failing to process-map a business before starting, can waste lots of money (Harris, 2010). This was an area in which Harley-Davidson did well in their strategy to implement new purchasing software. They did a process map of the entire company so that they could figure out where they were and then determine how they were going to get to where they wanted to be. This is an excellent way to take a snap shot of all the processes that occur within a company. This process also helps to identify and eliminate any waste that is happening.
The basic overall process that Harley-Davidson used to acquire their new purchasing software was good. There were though a couple of things that they could have done differently in order to ensure that the project was a successful one. The worst thing that a company can to is to buy software that doesn't meet their needs and is not useful in the end. This ends up being nothing but a waste of time and effort. A good process must be established from the beginning and followed throughout the entire procedure in order to ensure success.
In this case Harley-Davidson established a project team that was set up to oversee the procurement of new purchasing software. This same team was responsible for all aspects of the entire process. There was mention during the evaluation phase of each vendor that there was not enough time for each member of the team to look at each candidate they way that had been intended from the beginning. This could have been solved by establishing an implementation team that was separate from the steering team. Those employees that were on the original project team were trying to be part of this project for the majority of their week and yet still be a part of their permanently assigned departments. This did not allow for ample time for them to be able to put all of their effort where it was needed.
Another area in which the project team lacked was that of establishing a budget for this purchase. No where in the case did it mention that there were any plans made for having money available for the purchase of this software. Without an established budget that elaborates on how much money there is to spend it is too easy to all the way to the end of the process, pick a vendor and then discover that they are way out of your range. This is something that needed to be dealt with from the beginning and not as an after thought when they were all through.
The last area that seemed to be lacking was that of an evaluation process. It is a good idea to have a review process put into place before beginning a project so that if problems arise there is already a process in place on how to handle them. Although there were no problems indentified in the case, there is always the possibility that some will arise especially during the selection process. When selecting new software it is vital to make sure that it is the best choice from what is available. It has to be able to do what the company needs it to do, not just now, but in the future as well. It has to be able to grow with the company as it moves forward and establishes its competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Harris, Russ. (2010). Choose Purchasing Software Wisely. Retrieved February 16, 2010, from Supply and Demand Chain Web site: http://www.sdcexec.com/web/online/in-
How to choose software: six steps to better selection. (1999). Retrieved February 16, 2010,…[continue]
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