How to define boundaries for Supply Chain Operations between EAM & ERP
Recently some of my Infosys colleagues attended MUWG (Maximo Utility Work Group) conference and while they shared their experience about the conference, they mentioned about one of the most discussed topics which was "how to define boundaries for supply chain operations between EAMs & ERPs".
Hence, I thought of sharing my learning from some of my previous Maximo implementations, where I implemented Maximo in following two scenarios:
(i) Maximo for supply chain operations alone, without asset management, and
(ii) Maximo for asset & work management integrated with ERP for supply chain
The supply chain operations considered here are only for MRO spares supply chain or indirect procurement, as relevant in asset management space.
In my view, following should be the main decision making criteria for this situation:
• One User: One system - A business user should not be using two different applications for the same business function. For example, a buyer creating a Purchase Order in EAM for some items and same buyer using ERP for other items should not be proposed. If the buyers are different for different items, then probably they can use different applications but then the organization needs to manage two different procurement applications and would not be able to leverage maximum benefits
• Business, not IT, driven decision - Business is generally the decision maker and should evaluate from business benefits point of view and not from IT cost point of view. Though IT cost is also important but that probably is a onetime initial cost and then some associated maintenance cost, later on. The benefits coming out of business driven decisions may not have short term benefits but would have significant long term benefits from overall usability point of view.
• Interlinked processes in same system - To avoid too much of data floating between EAM & ERP systems, keep similar processes in same systems. For example, from PO approval process to invoice generation process in one system. Some of the intermediate information can be duplicated in other systems like material receipts could be sent to EAM or ERP.
• Integration Complexities - Integration technologies have changed now enabling new levels of integrations. Complexities, risks & pains associated with integrating huge applications have reduced now. Most of the EAMs & ERPs provide APIs which help in integrating to other systems. SOA being the most modern approach, companies should leverage this advancement in technology to maximum possible level.
• Long term Solution - Think from best solution point of view and not from some initial cost point of view. For a robust long-lasting solution, initial cost may be high as there may be more integration points to be developed.
Generally most of the EAM systems have adapters with Tier-1 ERP systems which are flexible and can exchange almost all the information between EAM & ERP systems. Hence the decision should be made considering the best business sense. Leave integration & implementation complexity to your system integrator and focus on best business solution.