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REAL ISSUES. REAL ANSWERS: Transitioning To New Business/POS Software

A fellow LBM dealer is transitioning to a new software system. What tips and insights would you offer to help ensure A) a smooth transition from an older system to the new one, and B) satisfaction with the final result?

“Do your homework, map out your processes and make sure the new system can accommodate them. Once you know that it can, work with your software vendor to make sure it does.”

“Backup your old data and keep the old system running until you are satisfied everything works on the new system.”

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“Don’t rely on product demos. Get to a dealer that currently runs the system and get an unbiased opinion. Since they’re on the system you’re switching to, they’ll have gone through the transition and will be able to share their insights. Figure out what applications in the system are important to you and compare the two.”

“Talk to other companies using the POS that you are looking at. Once you narrow it down, ask the software company if they have a test system you can use prior to going live.”

“Abandon all hope ye who enter here.”

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“Training and testing. It’s not easy, but it’s a simple process. You have to test, test, test everything you can think of to minimize disruption when you switch.”

“Do your research and don’t stop until you find a software program that fits your company’s unique needs. You can save or spend as much as you want—but none of that matters if the software doesn’t do exactly what you need it to do.”

“The answer really depends on the system the company is transitioning from and to. From our experience, any transition will not be smooth.”

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“Make sure that your purchase price includes a trainer to come to your site and do actual hands-on training with the people in your company who will be using the system.”

“I suggest you make your target date in late fall or winter. If you transition during the busy building season, you will get busy and may not have time to learn the new system, especially if you are transitioning from a very old system. The new platforms are like night and day with old Unix systems. They will try to copy your inventory, A/R, A/P, etc. info from the old system. It’s also wise to prepare as much as you can by doing things like deleting old inventory items that you don’t want or need in your new system. I am telling you this, as we are transitioning to a new system, and the target date was early June. We weren’t ready, so our install has been postponed for now.”

“We will transition to the newest software from our current supplier very soon after being on an older version since 2000. I am a bit nervous about what we’ll see at the ‘go-live,’ but am optimistic that we made a good decision. Here are some things we have done to hopefully make the transition successful: 1. Appoint a transition leader who communicates with the supplier and who oversees training for employees. This needs to be a person who wants this role and who is serious about making it work. 2. Start early. We’ve been at the transition for about five months. 3. It’s critical that the owner support the transition leader, and to promote the benefits of the new software to employees.”

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