In addition, Edmac carefully planned how to support ongoing operations to avoid reducing the quality of service to customers and making unreasonable demands on employees.
In Edmac's case, the direct involvement of the CEO, who's one of the three owners of the company, ensured substantial commitment from the company in the systems implementation.
Edmac's approach worked: They involved the primary users from the start.
At Edmac, extensive research took place, especially in two key areas: industrial distribution order processing and inventory management.
So everyone could completely understand the processes, Edmac took the following steps:
* Conducted data conversion testing using a test database loaded with Edmac inventory items, customers, and vendors.
Extensive conversion testing took place before the final conversion, which revealed several unexpected areas of data inconsistency that could have caused Edmac to miss its deadline.
Edmac employees studied exactly what would be needed for a successful implementation, and this review, in turn, revealed the potential harm that the organization could sustain because of shortcuts.
While Edmac's implementation group did parallel testing, they decided not to include a period of full parallel processing because it would require entirely too many resources.
Edmac had to keep customer orders flowing while minimizing disruptions and delays.
The "train the trainers" approach worked for Edmac. The CEO and controller served as the primary trainers, giving the company complete control over the process and allowing all questions to be answered in the company's own business context.
You don't just buy it." Although the company didn't want to get tied to a stream of payments for continued--and extensive--on-site training by the software vendor, Edmac did buy phone technical support at a fixed percentage of the software cost.