Equipment and Infrastructure Management for Large QAD EE Implementations
A large-scale implementation to a new ERP system such as QAD often means additional technical infrastructure and equipment within the plants to support purchase order receiving, production reporting, truck loading, labeling, and shipping. Depending on the scope and size of the implementation, it may be necessary to identify a separate project workstream and workstream manager to ensure accountability for all related data collection and equipment tasks. Examples of potential areas to manage are as follows:
- Wireless Infrastructure and Access Points to Support Bar Code Data Collection
- Zebra or similar Bar Code Printers
- Handheld Scanners such as Intermec CK71
- Truck-mounted Scanners such as the Honeywell Thor VM1 (Vehicle Mount Mobile Computer)
- Cordless Scanners used at Desktop Workstations such as the Motorola D5378
- Laser Printers for Shipping Forms and Reports
- New Workbenches for Production Reporting equipment
- Equipment and Interfaces to Support MES
- Additional Power and Network drops
In a recent implementation of QAD EE across 12 United States sites, significant equipment and infrastructure changes resulted from the new processes defined as part of the project. These changes resulted in more production reporting points on the plant floor in order to gain better visibility of Work In Process, real time data collection for receiving and picking/loading, and the need for a wireless infrastructure to support the users in a high volume Tier 1 Automotive environment. Additionally, interfaces to a third party MES label error proofing solution to QAD EE were required.
The end result was over 600 new or updated pieces of equipment across the 12 facilities. Each one needed to be updated, installed and tested prior to cutover weekend. This had to be coordinated with the new power and network drops and installation and testing of the wireless access points.
Due to the volume and scope of the equipment and testing required, detailed tracking and team management was a given. The workstream members worked with the local plant Production Control leads to facilitate the installation and testing in all areas. Third party “dedicated suppliers” running on the company’s QAD EE backbone were also included in the implementation.
The following tasks were important to avoiding delays in the overall project:
- Gain an early understanding of lead times on all purchases of equipment and services
- Work with local union trades to understand all plant lead times and task ownership
- Schedule dedicated and focused third party testing of interfaces and solutions
- Thoroughly test wireless access in all areas and test planned transactional areas
- Simulate production volume transactional stress testing
The result of the tools discussed above was an implemented equipment plan with few issues due to extensive planning and testing. Adjustments after go-live were focused on slight adjustments to wireless coverage to improve the user experience, but little time was required to fix and test equipment that had been put in place and tested as part of the pre-cutover implementation plan.
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