How to deploy ERP in 120 days

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We don't hear of many ERP systems that are deployed in four months' time, but Gallus BioPharmaceuticals achieved just this feat when bringing a newly acquired plant online. The rapid implementation took place in part because the drug manufacturer needed to ensure a seamless transition after purchasing the plant from Johnson & Johnson in 2011, reports Stephanie Overby at CIO magazine.

The newly acquired facility had 120 days to migrate from Johnson & Johnson's infrastructure, including hardware, highly customized SAP software, phone system and networks. The company faces a host of regulatory requirements involving tracking and documentation. From the time the acquisition deal was signed until after access to the SAP system was closed, Gallus had to track "everything from preventative maintenance to cell-performance data," said Steven Kasok, Gallus CFO, who also oversees IT for the company.

The trick to the speedy ERP rollout was avoiding customization, Kasok said. He selected a pre-configured, SAP-based ERP package called EzPharma. It is a system used by pharmaceutical companies much larger than Gallus, and it isn't cheap. To save money on the implementation, Kasok hired the consulting firm Answerthink to manage it and used his own staff as much as possible.

"It's a big cultural shift to say, 'We're going with a standard system,'" Kasok said. "The consultants would talk about [making changes in] the next phase. But I always said, 'This is the only phase.'"

One of the more challenging aspects of the migration was moving master data. Data required "intense" cleaning, which added about a month to the implementation. "We did this as cost effectively as possible, and the return is a business that continues to run," Kosok said.

For more:
- see Stephanie Overby's article at CIO

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