Tuesday 22 January 2013

Davis Controls Ltd. - Migration To Globe/ESE

This blog is late, and I apologize for that.  I said that I would be late if our ERP migration from Macola ES to Exact GLOBE did not go well.  Well, GUEST WHAT.

Not only did our migration not go as well as we had hoped, it didn’t even go as well as expected.  Globe may not yet be ready yet for prime time in a Distribution environment, but it is close.

Since 1996, Davis Controls has been an early adopter of Macola and then Exact software, and as such, our implementations have never been problem free.  As a beta-site, we know this going in and we fully expect that with each generational or platform migration, we will identify, document and report bugs, problems and design enhancements that will streamline the process and improve efficiencies for all that follow.  We fully expect to encounter problems that we can help identify, so that they can be fixed quickly.

I am told that the integrated business software solution of GLOBE (ERP) and its front office counterpart Synergy Enterprise is widely used throughout Europe and I have no reason to doubt this.  I am equally convinced however, that this solution (GLOBE + ESE) has not been broadly applied to North American ‘Distribution’ activities or Distributors generally.  Surprisingly, we are struggling with some fundamental routines that should have been resolved long before now.   Like every other ‘Distributor’ in the world, Davis Controls receives shipments from suppliers all day long, we print Picking and Packing slips all day long and we allocate these sales to multiple territories across the country, all day long.  Again, like most Distributors, we allocate Sales and Commission credit to the ‘Ship-to-Address and Territory’, however this concept is not anticipated in the software and not accounted for in the reports.

In 1996, Macola with their Windows based ERP software, called ‘Progression’, did not account for Territory Sales credit and we were forced to develop our own work-around.  Then in the year 2000, with their e-Synergy/Interconnect front-office software, Exact again did not account for Sales allocation by Territory; so again we wrote a work-around.  Then in 2004, Exact launched Macola ES, the successor to Progression, and believe it or not, they forgot about allocating sales to a Sales Territory once again, and once again we had to fix this oversight in-house.

As GLOBE was being developed, I had the distinct privilege and pleasure in 2005 of travelling to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia at the invitation of Exact Software, to provide ‘Distributor’ input to the design of GLOBE, and as you might imagine, I stressed the importance of Territory Allocation for Sales and Commission purposes.   GLOBE does not yet take full advantage of Sales Territory allocations, but at least they have created a field now for ‘Territory’.  Over time, we hope to be able to help Exact understand the flexibility and importance of this designation and develop code to use it to its full advantage.

I think that if we were starting fresh in GLOBE, we might have been able to set the allocation parameters more advantageously, however because Territory allocation was already set up in-house and managed differently in Macola ES / e-Synergy (from where we were migrating), an ES to GLOBE migration that does not map over all of the user-defined work-arounds is destined to fail.  Territory allocation is only one of our ‘migration’ challenges, but it’s a big one.  Don’t even get me started on ‘Picking Tickets’.

We are going through a difficult transition period right now, but I have too much respect for Exact Software and too much history with their products to give up on them just yet.  To their credit, they are actively working with us to fix all of our outstanding issues and good progress is being made.  It may take a few weeks, but I am confident that in a month or two, we will be singing the praises of Exact and GLOBE once again.  I regard Exact as an important business partner and fully expect that by the time my next blog is due, we will have turned the corner on this software migration and I look forward to receiving reference calls and site visits from prospective GLOBE users as I did in the past for Progression and Macola ES.