There are four types of ERP consultants on the Visual South team
The types of consultants are: project managers, manufacturing consultants, finance consultants, and technical consultants. All of these individuals are typically engaged in a new implementation and used for varying consulting and technical efforts. There are a select number of consultants who are versed on the three primary areas of manufacturing, finance, and technology; we are proud to have these rare talents on the Visual South Professional Services Team. Please remember that the team helping you implement the software is just as important as the software itself . Our consultants exist to coach you on how to successfully use the application.
Each organization has its own idea of what a project manager does. In some ERP consulting companies, the project manager simply guides the project, coordinates meetings, ensures activities are completed, tracks the actuals to budget, addresses issues, and does their best to keep everything on track and on time.
The project manager at Visual South is what we like to refer to as a player/coach. This means the project manager is not only involved with the creation of the project—they’re also part of the team providing consulting activities and guidance. Visual South believes that to have an effective implementation or project of some degree, your project manager needs to understand the intricacies of the software and issues related to delivering functionality. They also need to be part of the project activities, not just standing on the outside looking in.
Visual South has a team in the Professional Services group that tracks the hours associated with the project, actuals to budget, participates in project meetings, provides activity update reports, and assists in coordinating activities. There is an infrastructure and support team to ensure the success of the projects and customer awareness of all project information.
Finally, some project managers are quite unique in their ability to participate and provide guidance in all areas related to ERP applications. This includes manufacturing, operations, finance/accounting, and deep expertise on the technical side. These senior project managers are a component of the talent pool assembled on the Visual South Professional Services Team and leveraged extensively to positively impact our customers’ business operations.
The manufacturing specialist provides coaching and guidance for activities beginning with engineering through the entire production cycle to shipping. The hand-off to accounting and finance is invoicing, once a product is shipped. The manufacturing area is quite encompassing, beginning with engineering, where estimating and quoting takes place, then where bills of material are made in the CAD system and pushed to the ERP. Once in the ERP, then the manufacturing consultant will guide the engineering group in building proper engineering masters, including routings, outside services, and quality inspections.
The manufacturing consultant will also provide guidance on setting up parts, including planning policies, managing forecasts, and running MRP or APS to drive planned purchase orders. Additionally, the manufacturing consultant guides customers on creating work orders, using Scheduling, using the Shop Floor execution system to do work order reporting and material transactions, capturing lot/serial trace information where applicable, using engineering change control where applicable, managing documents, backflushing at control points when applicable, and providing content to allow for proper job and project costing. Providing consulting, coaching, and guidance to these areas is critical, as manufacturing-related activities are usually why customers choose Infor applications.
One other important functional area is Quality. Manufacturing consultants typically drive this area as well, because many customers have certifications and compliance requiring the use of the Quality Control System in the Infor application.
Service is another area that is becoming more prevalent for discrete manufacturers, and our manufacturing specialists typically are heavily involved in rolling out the Service functionality.
One area that is traditionally a tag-team effort is the Project module application for those who are project-based manufacturers. These customers require expertise on the manufacturing side to set up the Project, which covers areas like engineering, prototyping, production work orders, material purchases, outside processing, and using Field Service for install, training, and maintenance. However, Project-based manufacturing and accounting requires that costs flow properly to do percent complete revenue recognition, reporting, and mapping to the proper accounts.
The finance/accounting specialist traditionally focuses on setting up GL structure, accounts, and representative infrastructure for multi-site, multi-company, and even multi-national organizations. The accounting specialist focuses on GL, AR, AP, and Fixed Asset functional groupings. The Finance/Accounting specialist will provide guidance and assistance for setting up all financial reporting needs, and any management reporting and dashboarding.
They will also assist with the first month-end close during implementation, ensuring all accounting numbers are in line with expected outputs.
The technical specialist assists with installing the software for on-premise implementations and server moves. He/she assists during the data conversion process in new implementations, provides services for on-premise upgrades, and can provide remote system administration and assistance as needed. We often see our technical-focused team members creating extensions and business-centric functionality to address unique customer requirements and requests, whether on-premises or in the cloud.
Another area often addressed is when there are complex reporting requirements and the customer does not have in-house knowledge. Our technical specialists create information sets to address the reporting needs.
Experts are needed
There is a need for highly skilled professionals to help companies improve their operations and leverage their ERP applications, whether during implementation or continuous process improvement for long-time customers. Given that ERP addresses almost every component of the business, there are unique skill sets required—hence the need to assemble many subject matter experts on a consulting team. The Visual South consulting team provides that variety of talent to help Infor manufacturing-centric ERP improve.
If you would like to discuss how our consulting team can help you improve your use of Infor ERP, please reach out for a free consultation or visit www.visualsouth.com/blog to learn more about ways to improve your manufacturing operation.