When a foreign enterprise in Japan plans to implement an ERP system, it usually requires approval from its headquarters in the form of a final decision. From this standpoint, headquarters IT department are often closely involved with such projects from system selection to implementation. Sometimes, a partner who participated in a headquarters-based IT project is invited to visit a local office for project support and necessary coordination.
As a global organization, the headquarters needs information such as financial consolidation, IFRS compliance and inventory status. To meet such corporate requirements, it is essential to standardize elements such as the structure of accounting code, item masters, dimensions, inventory valuations, the inclusion of charges into item cost, security and internal control.
Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions are widely used in countries throughout Europe and North America, and enterprises often recommend the solutions as a standard ERP platform for overseas subsidiaries. In some cases, a headquarters asks a Japanese subsidiary to implement a version of Dynamics ERP which has already been developed and used in other countries (project roll-out).
Pacific Business Consulting has been providing implementation and consultation services for Microsoft Dynamics solutions since 2001. Our bilingual consultants from Asia Pacific countries have worked on solution implementation by working closely with the IT and finance staff at customers’ head offices. For the system implementation, PBC uses SureStep, a proven methodology used throughout the world. After a system goes live, PBC offers maintenance and support services based on a service scheme specially-developed using Dynamics CRM and our own AquaGuard product.
If you have any queries about implementation, consultation or support for Dynamics ERP, please contact us using the link provided below.
The following three approaches are most commonly adopted for system implementation by foreign companies in Japan.
These three approaches are described in detail below.
In this case, a corporate template (database) has already been developed by the headquarters for global use. Because it is not feasible for the IT staff at the headquarters to gain a sufficient understanding of business practices and taxation rules in Japan, the system template developed at the headquarters is difficult to adapt to the Japanese business environment without adjustment. It becomes necessary to translate the template and also develop specific functions to meet the local requirements such as Collective Invoices, Firm Banking, Promissory Notes, Sales Tax, Distribution Management and related report output.
To start the project, it is first necessary to obtain sufficient knowledge about the corporate template developed by the headquarters. This requires a “Knowledge Transfer” session involving the headquarters IT staff, the Dynamics partner who participated in development or the Dynamics partner who is assigned for global project support. After validating the template, PBC sets up the system according to Japanese requirements.
As mentioned above, it is difficult to implement a corporate template for a Japanese office without any customizations. Functions to accommodate local business practices and/or customizations specific to the Japanese office are added to the system. While the project is underway, it is important to monitor the project status and hold periodical meetings with the headquarters IT staff. When the need for an add-on function is identified, corporate approval is usually required. All the above communication is to be performed in a multi-language environment. Sometimes, information exchange with regional headquarters located in Singapore, Australia or Hong Kong is also required.
When Dynamics ERP is a recommended package, the system is developed based on the corporate requirements prepared by the headquarters.
Firstly, it is important to have a clear understanding of the corporate requirements. After validating corporate requests, local system development is to be performed in line with the global guidelines. If the corporate requirements do not exist or are not clear enough, joint efforts with the headquarters IT department may be required to settle the issue.
In comparison with the first approach, this allows a more flexible and user friendly system to be developed according to the requirements of the local office, to the extent that the basic corporate requirements are reflected. Nevertheless, it is essential to maintain good communication between headquarters and the local organization by providing the headquarters with the appropriate project status reports.
The Japanese office chooses the ERP system to be implemented and develops its own system independently.
Among the three approaches, this pattern provides the most flexible implementation. However, the company in Japan has to start by selecting an ERP system together with an implementation partner. At this stage, there are several points to be taken into consideration, as detailed below:
In addition to ERP implementation, many foreign enterprises in Japan ask to have their IT infrastructure built at the same time. Therefore, confirming the specifications of IT infrastructure with the headquarters is another important step.
In each approach, establishing and maintaining good communication between the local offices and the headquarters plays a critical role in successful system implementation.
PBC always supports its customers’ implementation projects with qualified bilingual consultants from across Asia.