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IT Challenge: Avoiding inventory management implementation snags

In this IT Challenge, learn how to plan for -- and avoid -- inventory management software implementation troubles.

The IT Challenge of the Month for April 2012:

My company is moving from Excel-based inventory management to a dedicated inventory management software package. What pain points should we plan for during the inventory management system switchover? Are certain bumps in the road unavoidable?

Do you have a solution to this challenge? Have you encountered a similar issue at your business? If so, please contact the editors and share your suggestions or experiences. 

IT Challenge respondents will receive a free copy of a new book from SAP Press.

And be sure to check back here all this month -- we'll be posting solutions from experts and readers as we receive them.

From industry expert Steve Phillips:

Typically, one of the biggest problems encountered when moving from spreadsheets to a business application is that users like their spreadsheets -- and many do not want to give them up. In this case, you must educate the users so they understand the bigger picture. Many feel spreadsheets are easier to use, but spreadsheets might not be so easy for everyone else in the business who requires the information.

First, capturing the information in a spreadsheet is not always simple, especially if there isn’t an enterprise system from which to download the data. Users may need to gather data from multiple sources to enter it manually into the spreadsheet. The second issue is the data is not real-time. With inventory records, most companies need real-time balances and locations. You are not going to get this from a spreadsheet. Finally, spreadsheets are not integrated with other areas of the business. When it comes to sharing inventory data, there are usually many other stakeholders.

You should also make sure the inventory records are accurate before converting to the new system. Many times this requires a complete physical inventory.

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