Guest Spotlight: Craig Abbott – If You Wish Upon a Star: Lessons for Implementing an ERP System

by | Apr 21, 2011 | Microsoft Dynamics NAV

This year we will begin featuring guest blogs from several members of the PKF Texas Consulting Solutions team.  Craig Abbott, one of our managers in charge of the Microsoft Dynamics NAV accounts, has written a post about applying lessons from Walt Disney to your ERP implementation process. 

A hero of mine is Walt Disney, yep the Mickey Mouse guy.  For starters, think about the impact he has on so many individuals’ lives.  He changed the movie and television industries.Many of us were impacted by the lessons taught in his shows, movies, and the family memories created at Disney theme parks.  There are very few among us who do not hear a Disney song and aren’t suddenly taken back to a happy moment as a child or with our children.

At this point you are likely asking, “What does this have to do with Accounting or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software?”  Actually, there is a lot we can learn from Walt Disney when implementing software or managing a project.  From the beginning Walt’s main focus was on quality, doing things the bestthe first time.  This philosophy kept his brother, Roy, up at night trying to finance Walt’s many ideas.  But Walt knew if the quality was high, at the end of the day, they would have success and make money.   He knew by creating a “masterpiece” with staying power, rather than skimping to make a quick buck, he would have a continuous revenue stream as each successive generation discovered his movies.

As an innovator, Walt changed the methods of how animation was produced. He developed a camera that shot the art in layers to give a three dimensional effect and created the first surround sound for theaters.

Walt was a very opportunistic businessman.  He used the sponsors of the attractions at the New York World Fair to pay for the creation of his Animatronics technology used in many attractions throughout the Disney theme parks.   This was state of the art technology that his team developed but didn’t have to pay for.  Recognizing the value of television, a then new medium, as a marketing engine, the Mickey Mouse Club and the Wonderful World of Disney not only provided quality entertainment, but created interest in the Mouse, his merchandise and the theme park, Disneyland.

Taking a lesson from Walt Disney on the importance of quality, creativity, innovation and opportunity we can apply this to your business.  These are very important aspects of developing good processes and implementing an ERP software package.  Doing it right the first time and not cutting corners will save you headaches later. Consider this as an investment, an asset that will provide your organization benefits of a “masterpiece” for years to come.

How you are currently handling transactions?   Can you do things better?  Can you make things simpler?  In other words, be creative. Creativity is very important in reporting as well.  Now don’t take this the wrong way, I do not mean cook the books creative, but what data is important to your organization? What is the best way to display or communicate this information?  Be innovative about how you leverage technology and your people.   Also, be innovative in how you use your software.   Systems like Microsoft Dynamics NAV offer workflow management, product configurators to aid in building sales and production orders and various reporting tools that allow for using graphs and charts for key performance indicators (KPI’s).

And last, look for opportunity to get better.  The solution may not be as simple as using new software, but use the implementation of the software as a reason to redesign processes and improve.  This is an opportunity to get more accurate information to end users more quickly.  It is also an opportunity to leave the silos behind and build a more productive team in your organization.  And most importantly, use this as an opportunity to provide better service to your customers.

As an organization we can change people’s lives just like Walt Disney.  We might not create timeless classics or theme parks that build childhood memories, but we do implement solutions that take pressure off the controller and allows him or her to get home earlier.  .  We implement solutions that provide management with more timely information, helping  them make more money and share the wealth with employees.  We implement solutions that take the stress out the life of the CFO, knowing he can provide timely financial statements to the bank.  In other words, we create a little magic of our own.


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